Colombian Army Arrests Alleged Ideologue of FARC Guerrilla Group
By Dialogo April 18, 2011
Colombian authorities have arrested Leonardo Chaux Hernández, alias Simón Bernate, whom they accuse of being an ideological proponent of the FARC guerrilla group, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and military commanders announced on 14 April.
“Simón Bernate was apprehended by Army personnel on Tuesday [12 April], in a rural area of the municipality of Natagaima (in the province of Tolima, in the southern part of the country), where he appears to have been engaged in indoctrinating members of the subversive organization,” the Public Prosecutor’s Office indicated in a statement.
According to the agency, 51-year-old Chaux was a member of the Adán Izquierdo Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which operates in western Colombia, and is accused of the offenses of rebellion, extortion, kidnapping, and forced displacement.
At the time of his arrest, a portable computer and several disks were seized from him. “The detainee, who accepted his responsibility for the charges levied by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, was remanded to a jail in Ibagué, the provincial capital,” the Public Prosecutor’s Office concluded.
“He is an influential guerrilla, notably important with regard to the management of the political and ideological part of the guerrilla group. His arrest is a visible loss for the FARC,” Col. Julio Prieto, commander of the local brigade, assured reporters.
“His job consisted in trying to deceitfully link indigenous communities and peasant organizations to the guerilla group’s political work. He was an expert in turning people against the government when armed actions were being carried out in specific areas,” the officer added.
According to Ariel Avila, a researcher for the private Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris who is a specialist in the guerilla group, Simón Bernate was known as “a good recruiter.”
“He did a task for the guerrilla group in urban areas,” Avila specified to AFP, but “he’s not important in the FARC command structure.”
The FARC has been engaged in armed struggle against the Colombian state for forty-six years and has around eight thousand fighters, according to official estimates.