From the Colombian Amazonian jungle, between Guaviare and Caquetá, alias ‘Gentil Duarte’ shared with ‘Guacho’ his plans to “continue forging the authentic revolutionary army of the FARC-EP”. Those were the words used by the former member of the FARC’s Eastern Bloc. He did so in a letter, dated November 2, 2017, which he addressed to ‘Guacho’, leader of the self-styled Óliver Sinisterra Front, which operates in Nariño, border department with Esmeraldas and Carchi.
But the letter was also addressed to “Comrade Miguel”, who, according to agents of the Ecuadorian Police, would be the brother of ‘Guacho’. In that four-page document, to which EL COMERCIO had access, ‘Gentil Duarte’ expressed his aspirations about the future of those who separated from the peace process with the Government of Colombia. “We value positively what you manifest in the mail, which are still in struggle without defrauding the revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism … and above all, fulfilling this great task of taking power using all forms of struggle,” he wrote.
A copy of the text is in the tax file in which the car bomb attack in San Lorenzo (Esmeraldas) is investigated. There ‘Gentil Duarte’ spoke of “holding up the flags of comrades Manuel Marulanda, Jacobo Arenas, Alfonso Cano and Jorge Briseño”, historical leaders and founders of the guerrilla group.
The former commander spoke to ‘Guacho’ about the importance of continuing to “unify the strength of the combatants in arms, which in this case we will be the true sons of Manuel (Marulanda).” In his plans, he mentioned the discipline of combatants to avoid casualties and “so that we can meet the goals we have set for ourselves”.
The document also reveals that by November of last year there was already a hierarchy among the dissidents. “The command should be at the height of the military political line, to lead all subordinates to success.” The keys that the ex-commander commented to ‘Guacho’ are: order, military presentation, daily education, party meetings every week or 15 days, and not allowing the militiamen “to live playing and treating each other badly”. He added: “Look, comrades, we have to lead our people through the best way so that everything goes well”.
On Sunday, July 15, the Colombian magazine Semana published an investigation identifying ‘Gentil Duarte’ as the manager of a plan to refound the FARC. Its strategy, according to the publication, is to unite the heads of 29 structures composed of dissidents and consolidate the military and financial power resulting from cocaine trafficking.
One of those ringleaders is just ‘Guacho’, who operates in Colombia’s largest coca-growing area; it also has laboratories and controls fluvial routes that flow into the Pacific. Semana argues that the projection of ‘Gentil Duarte’ and his men is to gather at least 8,000 combatants until the end of 2019. “But before they would be citing for a guerrilla conference in the jungles of the east to define their hierarchies, formalize their structure and draw the roadmap “.
This newspaper published on Sunday the correspondence between ‘Gentil Duarte’ and ‘Guacho’, in which operational and strategic support is spoken. On Monday, July 16, Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas acknowledged that the FARC’s residual groups have “statutes, hymns and aspirations.” But he ruled out that these have the ability to refound the FARC. “This threat is focused on four parts of the country, on which we have a clear design.”
For Alberto Mejía, commander of the Armed Forces, “there is no plan to refound the FARC; there is a plan to strengthen drug trafficking, to articulate with transnational organized crime, to dominate the entire drug trafficking chain in certain regions of the country, “he told W Radio.
The border with Ecuador and the southeastern Colombian zone are two of the sectors where the threat is concentrated. In the letter, which now rests with the Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office, from ‘Gentil Duarte’ addressed to ‘Guacho’, one of the leaders of the dissidents in the eastern zone is mentioned. This is ‘Rodrigo Cadete’, who was the head of the 27th Front of the FARC, which operated in the department of Meta.
“The comrade ‘Rodrigo Cadete’ sends them to say hello and is with us fulfilling tasks that mandate (sic) in a meeting that we made between the command that we are on this side (sic)”. In September 2017, he left the area where the guerrillas who joined the peace process gathered and took away a group of armed men. Semana says that five dissident heads of the eastern zone would have formed a common fund to finance the most incipient structures and alliances with other areas of that country. Meanwhile, number two of the former FARC, Iván Márquez, said he will not take office as senator this month. (I)