Santos Affirms That Colombian Military Knows FARC Leader’s Location
By Dialogo February 21, 2011
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos affirmed on 18 February that the military knows the location of Alfonso Cano, the top leader of the FARC guerrilla group, and dismissed the possibility that he might escape.
“The military and the government know perfectly what area Cano is in,” Santos said during a speech, responding to doubts about whether the FARC’s top leader might have taken advantage of the previous week’s hostage-release process, which involved a pause in military operations in several Colombian regions, to leave the place where he was.
“We know exactly where they are, and we’re not such idiots that we would allow a pause in operations in an area where he is and so facilitate his escape,” Santos said.
“We’re happy to have a dialogue, but we’re not idiots. We’re going to keep after him, breathing down his neck, just as we’re breathing down it right now. That bandit will fall, like Mono Jojoy fell,” he added.
Santos, who took office in August 2010, has struck hard against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a communist group, the most recent blow being the death in a September 2010 bombardment of Mono Jojoy or Jorge Briceño, who was the FARC’s second-ranking leader and its top military commander.
In March 2008, when Santos was defense minister under former president Alvaro Uribe, Raúl Reyes, the guerrilla group’s second-ranking leader at that time, was also killed, in a bombardment of his camp on Ecuadorean territory, very near the border with Colombia.
Between 9 and 16 February, the FARC unilaterally released six hostages, for which purpose Santos’s administration authorized a pause in military operations in areas of the provinces of Meta, Caquetá, Tolima, and Cauca, in central and southern Colombia.