Santos Praises the Army for Killing FARC Leader

Santos Praises the Army for Killing FARC Leader

By Dialogo
May 10, 2013

On May 8, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos praised the country’s Army for killing a leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which is currently in peace talks with the Colombian government in Cuba.

“Congratulations to our Army, our Public Force,” Santos said during a public presentation in the city of Armenia (300 km west of Bogotá) after receiving confirmation that aka ‘Caliche’ was killed on May 4, along with six other FARC members.

The identity of ‘Caliche’, whose real name is Leónidas Zambrano Cardozo, was confirmed a few hours after he died in combat in a rural area of Nariño department, on the border with Ecuador.

Peace negotiations have been ongoing since last November in Havana, without declaring a ceasefire due to Santos’ decision, who believes it would give the FARC a strategic advantage at the peace talks.

Minister of Defense Juan Carlos Pinzón, said in a press conference that ‘Caliche’ was part of the FARC’s joint staff, of which he was member for 30 years.

“He had nine arrest warrants. He was responsible for terrorist attacks, killings, and kidnappings,” the minister said, and added that the leader’s death was “a huge blow” against the FARC.

Santos also said that ‘Caliche’ was in charge of the FARC’s ‘Jacobo Arenas’ mobile column, to which he attributed responsibility for attacks in Cauca department, one of the most affected areas in the country by the armed actions of the guerrillas.