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Colombian Military Commander Dismisses Possibility Of Replacements For FARC Leaders

By Dialogo
December 08, 2009

The arrival of military help to Colombia was very opportune. The Colombian Army had suffered defeats such as the 40 dead at Patasacoy Base and at Billar with 80 dead soldiers, 43 captured, Delicias Base; 30 dead soldiers 29 wounded and 60 captured. These defeats ended with the arrival of the adjunct command of the south. They should pay more attention now to consulting with the Military School, in recruitment of aspiring officers. Even without liking that career, many join. They are only looking for a career and the opportunity to make easy money, being a power for the mafias, the force can find infiltrators within the army. The help from the U.S.A. saved the army from becoming demoralized and saved democracy from falling in Colombia. Now it has another problem; Chavez’s threats, attacking Colombia with all of the Russian weapons arsenal that he recently acquired which gives him superiority in tanks (Colombia has none) in ground-to-air missiles, and aviation. It is urgent that the U.S. would help Colombia in the purchase of some tanks, in training for regular war and providing them with anti-tank rockets. Speaking to the press, the commanding general of the Colombian Armed Forces, Gen. Freddy Padilla, affirmed that the leaders of the FARC “are getting old” and dismissed the possibility that they could find replacements within guerrilla ranks. “The current leaders of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a Marxist group) are getting old, and they don’t have anyone to replace them,” Padilla said in the town of Macarena, in the eastern department (province) of El Meta. “The people who would follow them are availing themselves of the demobilization programs, or they are being captured or becoming casualties. The FARC have neither a present nor a future,” the military man added. In 2008, the FARC lost their long-standing head Pedro Antonio Marín, known as “Manuel Marulanda,” alias “Tirofijo,” who died of a heart condition. The second-ranking member of the guerrilla group, Raúl Reyes, also died last year, in an attack by the Colombian armed forces on a camp in Ecuador. In addition, Iván Ríos, who was a member of the FARC secretariat (central command), was murdered. Since 2002, President Alvaro Uribe’s government has been pursuing a policy, known as “democratic security,” that privileges a military strategy in response to guerrilla groups. The FARC, founded half a century ago, are estimated to have between 6,000 and 10,000 men under arms.