Colombian Armed Forces Ignorant of Fate of FARC Supreme Leader
By Dialogo July 12, 2010
The Colombian armed forces admitted Thursday that they are ignorant of the fate of Alfonso Cano, the highest-ranking leader of the FARC guerrilla group, following rumors of his death in a bombardment.
“It is the case that the Colombian armed forces have been carrying out intensive and permanent military operations throughout the national territory against the leaders and structures of the various terrorist and criminal organizations,” the general commander of the armed forces, Freddy Padilla, indicated in an official statement.
Nevertheless, he clarified that “in the particular case of the terrorist alias Alfonso Cano, at present no information is available regarding his fate.”
Cano became the highest-ranking leader of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in 2008, after the group’s founder, Manuel Marulanda, ‘Tirofijo,’ died of natural causes.
The Colombian authorities presume that for the last several months Cano has been in the jungle region of southern Colombia, where intensive military operations are underway.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) — against which Colombian president Alvaro Uribe has focused his security policy — are the oldest guerrilla group in the country, with more than forty years of armed struggle, and are estimated to have around 7,500 fighters, according to Defense Ministry figures.
Early Thursday morning, Radio Caracol reported “rumors” about the death of the FARC supreme leader, a report the broadcaster subsequently retracted, citing a source on the Colombian president’s staff.