High-Level Leaders of FARC Dissident Groups Killed

Colombian FARC dissident, Iván Márquez, is the most significant remaining leader of the Second Marquetalia.

Colombian FARC dissident, Iván Márquez, is the most significant remaining leader of the Second Marquetalia.


“Although so far no evidence is known in this regard, the deaths of both dissident leaders occurred very close to the border with Colombia…However, the authorities do not rule out any theory.”


Colombia’s continued struggle against dissidents of the now-disbanded Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) communist guerrilla group has achieved notable successes of late.  Darío Velásquez, alias “El Paisa,” and Henry Castellanos Garzón, alias “Romaña,” were killed in separate shootouts in Venezuela, according to Medellin-based daily newspaper El Colombiano.  Both were high-ranking commanders in the FARC guerrilla group, known as the Second Marquetalia, who continued their struggle against the Colombian state after the broader group signed the 2016 peace accords with the Colombian government.  The outlet reminds readers that the deaths come on the heels of the killing of Seuxis Pausias Hernández Solarte, alias “Jesús Santrich,” another prominent commander of the Second Marquetalia killed recently in Venezuela.  This leaves Iván Márquez alone in his struggle to maintain the relevance of the Second Marquetalia. Although conflict along the Colombia-Venezuela border is nothing new, the intensity and number of actors involved is increasing, according to Columbia’s politically centrist daily El Tiempo.  Numerous groups have flocked to the area for a lucrative slice of Venezuela’s illicit economies.  El Tiempo reports the presence of several Colombian guerrilla groups, drug trafficking groups, and Venezuelan security groups.  The vacuum left by the deaths of Paisa and Romaña is a significant blow to the Second Marquetalia and has created room for other groups to compete for territory.  Further, while the Colombian state claims victory, it is unclear whether Colombian state security forces had a hand in the deaths of Paisa and Romaña.  The possibility that the two were killed by rival groups and not by Colombia’s security forces speaks to the shifting realities of the border area as a corridor for illicit goods.


Source:

“Romaña, El Paisa y Santrich: en 6 meses cayeron tres narcos de exFarc en Venezuela (Romaña, El Paisa and Santrich: in 6 months three ex-FARC drug traffickers fell in Venezuela),” El Colombiano (the major daily of the city of Medellín), 8 December 2021.  https://www.elcolombiano.com/colombia/muerte-de-romana-revela-cruel-guerra-por-coca-en-venezuela-PE16129372

Both Romaña and El Paisa supported Márquez in the creation of the so-called Second Marquetalia—announced in August 2019—to return to arms under the excuse of non-compliance by the government with the agreement.  But with the death of these two former members of the former Secretariat, and the murder of alias Jesús Santrich in May 2021, Márquez is left alone.

Source:  “Las hipótesis sobre la autoría de los ataques a ‘Romaña’ y ‘el Paisa’ (The hypotheses about the origin of the attacks on ‘Romaña’ and ‘El Paisa’),” El Tiempo (one of Colombia’s oldest dailies generally described as politically-centrist), 9 December 2021.  https://www.eltiempo.com/justicia/conflicto-y-narcotrafico/romana-y-el-paisa-las-hipotesis-sobre-quienes-mataron-a-los-disidentes-637796   

The first hypothesis, of which the Colombian Public Force has spoken, is that they died at the hands of another dissident group…second, it has been said that they could have been assassinated by their own men…there is also another possible scenario: that the deaths were caused by Colombian forces…Although so far no evidence is known in this regard, the deaths of both dissident leaders occurred very close to the border with Colombia…However, the authorities do not rule out any theory.


Image Information:

Image:  Colombian FARC dissident, Iván Márquez, is the most significant remaining leader of the Second Marquetalia.
Source:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ivan-Marquez-GoraHerria.jpg
Attribution:  Wikimedia