Saturday, November 5, 2011

Operation Odysseus: Leader Dies in Colombian Military Operation

Via CNN -

The leader of Colombia's main leftist rebel group -- the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -- died in a military operation in the country's southwest, President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday.

"I confirm the death of Alfonso Cano. The No. 1 of FARC is dead," Santos said. "This is the most overwhelming blow given to the FARC in all of Colombia's history."

The military operation that took place Friday in the state of Cauca also killed Cano's communications chief, a female friend and members of his security team, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon told reporters. Cano's chief of security was captured.

"The death of Alfonso Cano is the most important historical mark of our military forces and our national police in our fight against the FARC organization," Pinzon said. "He was part of the organization for over 33 years. He was their ideologue, their political figure and most importantly, he was a despised terrorist ready to act in a radical way ..."

Cano, an alias for Guillermo Leon Saenz, took over the FARC's top spot in March 2008 after an apparent heart attack killed the former leader, Manuel Marulanda.


STRATFOR Dispatch: FARC Leader Killed in Colombia

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC or FRAC-EP) is a Marxist–Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organization based in Colombia which is involved in the ongoing Colombian armed conflict. FARC is a violent non-state actor (VNSA), described as a terrorist group by the Colombian government, the United States Department of State, the Canadian government, the Chilean government, the New Zealand Government, and the European Union.

FARC receives most of its funding—which has been estimated to average some $300 million per year—from taxation of the illegal drug trade, ransom kidnappings, bank robberies, and extortion of large landholders, multinational corporations, and agribusiness. Human Rights Watch estimates that the FARC has the majority of child combatants in Colombia, estimating that approximately one quarter of the guerrillas are under 18 years of age.

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