Colombian President Increases Security after Threats

By Dialogo
August 17, 2012

President Juan Manuel Santos has increased his personal security over claims that leftist FARC guerrillas are out to kill him, Colombia’s National Police commander said on August 16.

An intercepted email from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Latin America’s most powerful insurgency, shows the group wants to murder Santos to avenge the deaths of several top rebel commanders, said Police General Jose Roberto León.

“We must eliminate Santos by any means possible,” said an intercepted email that Santos read out on August 15.

“We owe it to Alfonso (Cano) and Jorge (Briceño), and to other valuable comrades,” the message said.

Cano, who was the top FARC commander, and former military leader Briceño were killed during military raids in 2011 and 2010, respectively.

Santos did not reveal the authors of the emails.

León said that the president’s “security has been tightened” due to the FARC’s “obsession” with Santos after the beating government forces have dealt the guerrillas.

“They have taken special security measures, additional and preventive measures,” the police chief told reporters.

Before taking office in August 2010, Santos was Defense Minister under President Alvaro Uribe.

During his tenure as defense chief, Santos led a military attack in 2008 in Ecuador that killed the FARC’s deputy commander at the time, Raúl Reyes.