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The Collective
Saturday, March 1, 2008
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the BBC: Troops kill senior Farc leader

A top commander of Colombia’s left-wing guerrillas, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), has been killed, the government says.

Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos told reporters Raul Reyes had been killed in combat.

He died with other rebels during an attack on the town of Tetey, local radio reported.

Also known as Luis Edgar Devia, Reyes was one of seven members of Farc’s secretariat, and the group’s spokesman.

If anything, this was a mixed week for relations between the Colombian government and the FARC, as earlier in the week, the FARC unilaterally released four high profile hostages.

Also on the hostage front, it was reported via the released prisoners that former Senator and presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt is quite ill:

Reports from four Colombian hostages released by the rebels on
Wednesday suggest Ms Betancourt, who is also a French citizen, is seriously ill.

[...]

One, Luis Eladio Perez told reporters: “It hurts my soul, she is very bad, very, very sick. She is exhausted physically and in her morale.

“Ingrid is mistreated very badly, they have vented their anger on her, they have her chained up in inhumane conditions.”

Betancourt has been in the FARC’s custody since February of 2002.

I have never understood the FARC’s kidnapping of Betancourt, nor do I understand why they would have “vented their anger on her.” While it is true that she was once a member of the then-ruling Liberal Party, the fact of the matter is she had formed her own party by 1998, having broken with the Liberals and was part of the center-left in Colombia that represented a potential new path for Colombia politics. It is true that her parents were both active in Colombian politics, but it is unclear to me that they did anything that the FARC would find especially pernicious.

The short of it is that on the face of it, Betancourt is the kind of politician that had a higher probability of being sympathetic to negotiations with the FARC, yet they kidnapped her and abused her. Not only is the entire situation clearly inhumane, but the political calculations behind it simply don’t add up. Indeed, this type of behavior makes it very difficult for the FARC to make cogent arguments about being a legitimate belligerent at war with the Colombia state and bolsters the government’s argument (along with the US and the EU) that they are properly described as terrorists.1

Sphere: Related Content

  1. My thoughts on that topic can be found here. []
Previous Related Posts

Filed under: Colombia, Latin America | |

6 Comments

  1. why should any one leave a comment? the usa is not a democracy and there is no privacy anymore..

    if we were a democracy in the usa, I would leave comments…they can twist the truth about Colombia any way they want. Colombia..the lapdog of the usa .

    Comment by marisa cariari — Sunday, March 2, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

  2. [...] Jaw-Jaw or War-War? Jump to Comments Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has long been a de facto ally of the leftist Colombian FARCguerillas, and with the news that Colombia killed FARC’s no. 2 man Raul Reyes in cross-border raids on FARC encampments in Ecuador this weekend, it’s not surprising that Chavez’s talk has moved from advocacy to threats. Not surprising, but certainly troubling. [...]

    Pingback by Chavez: Jaw-Jaw or War-War? « Like Cooking a Small Fish — Monday, March 3, 2008 @ 3:48 am

  3. [...] On Saturday I noted that a top FARC commander had been killed in combat, Raúl Reyes (see this post at Plan Colombia and Beyond some details about Reyes and the significance of his death). [...]

    Pingback by PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » The FARC, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela — Monday, March 3, 2008 @ 7:08 am

  4. Colombia is a country fighting to regain the freedom the FARC took from its people. FARC is not just a terrorist group it is also a drug dealer, and criminal organization. FARC do not discriminate they just kidnap people if they are at the wrong place and moment -the problem is that not all of hostages are internationally known-. Being colombian, I did not agreed with US economic help to fight the guerrillas, but after several years of conflict and knowing that the revels are using international territory to protect themselves from the Colombian military forces, it finally seems to be giving results.

    Comment by Dianix — Monday, March 3, 2008 @ 9:59 am

  5. [...] There is much intrigue in South America at the moment, as the killing of a top FARC commander has sparked the mobilization of both the Ecuadoran and Venezuelan militaries to their borders with Colombia. [...]

    Pingback by Political Mavens » The Goings-on Down South — Monday, March 3, 2008 @ 5:59 pm

  6. [...] As I wrote a little over a week ago: I have never understood the FARC’s kidnapping of Betancourt, nor do I understand why they would have “vented their anger on her.” While it is true that she was once a member of the then-ruling Liberal Party, the fact of the matter is she had formed her own party by 1998, having broken with the Liberals and was part of the center-left in Colombia that represented a potential new path for Colombia politics. It is true that her parents were both active in Colombian politics, but it is unclear to me that they did anything that the FARC would find especially pernicious. The short of it is that on the face of it, Betancourt is the kind of politician that had a higher probability of being sympathetic to negotiations with the FARC, yet they kidnapped her and abused her. Not only is the entire situation clearly inhumane, but the political calculations behind it simply don’t add up. Indeed, this type of behavior makes it very difficult for the FARC to make cogent arguments about being a legitimate belligerent at war with the Colombia state and bolsters the government’s argument (along with the US and the EU) that they are properly described as terrorists. [...]

    Pingback by PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » I Whole-Heartedly Agree with Hugo Chávez… — Sunday, March 9, 2008 @ 8:39 am

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