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| 2/19/2010 12:00:00 AM

The Farc’s executions

The Colombian guerrilla kills its own troops more than their enemies in combat. SEMANA reveals how paranoia has led them to shoot for the most absurd reasons.

2010 had a bad start for the Farc. At dawn on Wednesday, January 20th, in the Nariño department on the border with Ecuador, was launched the first major operation against the 48 front in command of alias 'Tovar', where 10 members of the guerrilla died and two computers and a pair of USB with valuable information were seized. And at dawn on Wednesday, February 3rd, the same intelligence group, with the support of Air Force bombers, attacked the main camp of the dreaded Teófilo Forero Farc’s column, in the Caquetá department. At the place was the head of this organization, Hernán Darío Velásquez, alias 'el Paisa'. When the police command reached the spot, found the bodies of 12 members of the guerrilla, among which were the five who had participated in the kidnapping and murder in December of the governor of Caquetá. There was the corpse of Mary Capera Quesada, alias 'la Pilosa', mate of the leader and commander of a company. There were also several computers and notebooks.

The most important fact of these operations, besides the death toll, is the information collected. One of the most revealing aspects was that the notebooks had data of how the rebel group ordered to shoot hundreds of members from its own rows.

SEMANA had access to several of these documents, now in hands of the Attorney’s General office. They are shocking, not only because in the Teófilo Forero and the 48 front documents are reported 180 killings of guerrillas, but because of the absurd reasons of the commanders to order the executions.

There are other additional deaths backed by documents held by the Attorney’s General office, as the 300 executions ordered by ‘Iván Ríos’ between 2005 and 2007 in the José Maria Córdoba bloc, and the 112 executions ordered by the Mono Jojoy in the Eastern bloc during the first half of 2008.

In the Farc, the executions and the punishments are coordinated by the "revolutionary councils of war", which is a mock trial. There is a president, who is usually the Commander or someone close to him; a secretary, a prosecutor, a defender, several conscience jurors, and, naturally, the accused.

Among the documents to which SEMANA had access is the last of these "war councils" held in the camp of "el Paisa" against a guerrilla member with the alias of ‘Holman’.

Over five pages, 'la Pilosa' registered every single step of the trial. The "crime" for which they were judging 'Holman' was because he had stolen a cigarette. His lawyer, 'Brayan', argues that 'Holman' recognizes his mistake and the reason he did that was because "he had suffered a lot and has not had the warmth of a home. Give him another chance," says the 'defender'. The five militants who act as "conscience jurors" agree that 'Holman' must be punished. 'President' steps in and says he disagrees with that decision because "it is against revolutionary morals". In another voting, they change punishment for execution. "Final verdict: execution approved by the assembly majority", was written at the end of the record that orders the assassination of ‘Holman’ for stealing a cigarette.

Dozens of documents with 'judgments' as this one were found in the camps. "Listen to the radio without permission”, “talk during training", "buy candies without permission" or "use a silver buckle that the enemy may see" are just some of the reasons written in the notebooks to justify the harsh penalties or assassinations.

The paranoia experienced by guerrilla commanders is in evidence and justifies the shootings. One of the documents of alias 'Tovar' states that "between January and November 22 revolutionary councils were done, in which Karen, Adolfo, Lisbet... were executed because they were giving information to the enemy ".

Desertions are also on the agenda and have become a headache for commanders and, obviously, a reason for ordering executions too. In one of the notebooks from the guerrilla leader ‘la Pilosa' dated June 18, 2009 appears some sort of report with the following note: "14 deserted stealing money and arms from the movement: Einer stole 500 million and a pistol. César stole 2.000 dollars and a 9 mm pistol. Yovanny was going to surrender to the army and submit three mine fields... all of them were captured, the material and the money were recovered, and they were executed”.

While the Farc’s executions for silly reasons is not new, what's interesting is the rise of such assassinations in their own rows in recent years, which is an indication of the degradation and paranoia in which they are right now.

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EDICIÓN 1829

PORTADA

Gran encuesta presidencial

Vargas Lleras arranca fuerte, Petro está estancado, Fajardo tiene cómo crecer y los partidos tradicionales andan rezagados. Entre los uribistas, Ramos se ve fuerte. Y Santos tiene 35 por ciento de aceptación. Gran encuesta de Invamer para Caracol Televisión, Blu Radio y SEMANA.