Conflict | 3/29/2009 12:00:00 AM
The black March of the FARC
Planning to murder the Minister of Defense, intermittent attacks in some provinces and menacing pamphlets are part of the FARC’s unsuccessful strategy to tell the country they still exist after the deaths of top guerrillas ‘Manuel Marulanda’ and ‘Raúl Reyes’. This is the strategy behind the FARCs bloody attempt to commemorate those two events.
It was clear for the authorities that a year later, March wasn’t going to go unnoticed for the FARC. With that in mind, the Police and the Military have long been preparing a plan to neutralize any terrorist action the FARC might take to honor Reyes and Marulanda.
The information found in Marbel Zamora’s computer, a FARC guerrilla also known as ‘Chucho’, has well served the purpose. ‘Chucho’ was captured a year ago in Tolima province (central Colombia) and he was known as ‘Mono Jojoy’s’ right-hand man and the person who served as a direct link to ‘Alfonso Cano’, current leader of FARC. Using that information and because they were alert, Colombian public forces have been able to frustrate the plans of the FARC.
Last Thursday, the Police captured 10 people who were supposedly members of the ‘Teófilo Forero’s’ FARC column. They were found in the towns of Girardot, Anapoima (both in Cundinamarca province, near Bogotá) and in south eastern Huila province. It appeared that the group had planned to murder Colombian Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos during Easter. According to general Óscar Naranjo, director of the National Police, the plan was to attack Santos and his family when they were at their country house in Anapoima. The alleged criminals carried a 556 rifle, two pistols, police uniforms and a motorbike painted with Police logos. They intended to blend into the minister’s escort, go into the country house and murder the politician.
The crime was apparently ordered by Érmer Triana, aka ‘El Muerto’ or ‘James Patemala’, financial chief of the FARC’s Teófilo Forero’s column. “We’ve avoided an assassination. We have avoided what they have wanted to call the ‘black March’, as a form of revenge for the death of ‘Raúl Reyes’ and other actions against that guerrilla”, said General Naranjo, and added that “there are other personalities with special surveillance and custody”, among which are journalists and politicians.
Fortunately, the attack on Santos was stopped, and even though there have been scattered incidents in Meta and Guaviare provinces, the authorities have the situation under control with 1.200 policemen in case the FARC decides to strike again in this ‘black March’.