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Saturday, May 24, 2008
By Steven L. Taylor

La muerte se produjo el pasado 26 de marzo, a las 6:30 de la tarde, de acuerdo con el comunicado revelado por el almirante Moreno.Via the BBC: Farc leader ‘dead’ says military

The leader of Colombia’s largest rebel group, the Farc, has died, the military has claimed in a statement.

A national news magazine had earlier reported the death of Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda on 26 March, citing the defence minister, Juan Manuel Santos.

There has been no confirmation from guerrilla sources.


Mr Marulanda, whose real name is Pedro Antonio Marin, has led the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc, since its foundation in 1964.

First, it should be noted that he has been declared dead before. Still, given his age (assumed to be his late 70s, although he actual birthday is unknown) it does get more likely over time that a given report will be correct.

Second, given the recent spate of arrests/killings of FARC leader, the death of Marulanda at this time would be pretty big. As Boz rightly notes:

If Marulanda is dead (and that remains a significant “if”), it is an enormous blow to the FARC and one that is likely to divide the remaining leadership. It is believed that Alfonso Cano will take Marulanda’s role, but a power struggle among Cano, Ivan Marquez and Mono Jojoy is quite possible.

El Tiempo (Manuel Marulanda Vélez ‘Tirofijo’ está muerto) reports that the Defense Ministry told the weekly Semana that Marulanda died of natural cause in March. Why they waited so long to reveal the information, and why it was done in an interview, rather than a press conference is odd.

The Semana piece is here:
“Tirofijo está muerto”

Some video from Colombian TV:

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3 Responses to “Tirofijo Dead?”

  1. Captain D Says:

    I’ve never been good at interpreting North American media, much less South American media. Maybe if I had been an intelligence officer. I don’t really understand the format of the announcement either. You would expect this sort of thing to be released in a press or news-conference type of format.

    Of course, you never really know you’ve killed a FARC bigwig unless you’ve got the cold dead body at your feet, and have had a chance to take a close look at it. If the government hasn’t released pictures of the body I’m not sure I’m ready to believe he’s dead (for sure).

    If he is, it is a huge deal, especially in the context of the arrests and kills that were confirmed earlier this year.

    A power struggle within the FARC would weaken it tremendously.

  2. PoliBlog (TM): A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » More Tirofijo Says:

    [...] skills are far better than mine, has kindly provided a transcript of the Semana interview I mentioned yesterday, for the English-only crowd [...]

  3. Political Mavens » Key Colombian Guerrilla Leader Dead Says:

    [...] Tirofijo Dead? [...]

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