The Colombian Police assured this Tuesday that it is very likely that ‘the
Paisa ‘, One of the top leaders of the dissidents of the former FARC guerrilla, who rearmed after signing peace in 2016, has died in a confrontation on the Venezuelan side of the border.
“So far there is a very, very, very high percentage that is dead“General Jorge Vargas, commander of the institution, said in a statement to the media.
According to the officer, the information about the fall of ‘el Paisa’ just began to circulate, supposedly in ambush On Sunday, December 5, the Police activated their sources of information.
Based on the data collected, the authorities believe that Hernán Darío Velásquez, his first name, fell into “criminal disputes within the organization“Vargas commented.
His death probably occurred in a camp located on the Venezuelan side of the border, some 100 km from Colombian territory, he added.
‘El Paisa’, who according to intelligence information was the hitman of the dejected drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, Teófilo Forero commanded the column, an elite unit of the extinct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).
In 2016, he signed the agreement that ended half a century of conflict with that guerrilla and reinstated some 13,000 men and women to civil life, but three years later he reappeared armed and in camouflaged uniform along with other former rebellion leaders.
‘El Paisa’, about whom I weighed a red Interpol circular for its location and capture abroad, it was on a rebel base “instructing criminals from various countries“said the general.
“In that same place we know that there were some coves with several hundred thousand dollars,” said General Vargas.
Also there he met with “Mexican emissaries and other parts of Latin America (…) to traffic cocaine to Europe via Africa“.
Always according to the police version, together with one of the leaders of the Second Marquetalia, the armed dissidence of the peace process also fell “a person known as Lulo“.
This Tuesday, he also became aware of the death of Henry Castellanos, alias Romaña, another of the leaders of that organization that he heads Ivan Marquez, the former chief peace negotiator of the Farc and who returned to arms in August 2019.
The dreaded ‘Romagna’ is known to have organized the kidnapping of hundreds of people who traveled in road vehicles to collect millionaire rewards in exchange for their release.
Without diplomatic relations since 2019, Colombia and Venezuela have no cooperation in security or intelligence.
In this context, the government of Iván Duque accuses the Chavista authorities of providing protection to dissidents and other armed organizations.
If the death of ‘el Paisa’ and ‘Romaña’, the Second Marquetalia would have lost its entire line of command, With the exception of Márquez and alias ‘Jhon 40’.
According to the independent think tank Indepaz, some 2,000 men are in command of that rebel leadership.
The director of that NGO, Camilo González, estimates that the deaths “it would be a tremendous and irreparable blow“for an organization,”that it has very few middle managers and that it is just in the process of settling in the territories“.
“They are the two most important leaders from the operational and military point of view of that group“, he told the AFP agency.
In May, the authorities also received information about the death of Jesus Santrich, also a former peace negotiator and who reappeared in a video with camouflaged and a rifle next to Márquez to announce the birth of the Second Marquetalia.
The former FARC chiefs argued that the State did not comply with what was agreed in Havana, in the peace process, and that is why they returned to arms.
The Duque government warned them to pursue them until they were captured or killed.
His downfall would be “the verification that it was the fate that corresponded to those two people who continued to approach the crime“said presidential advisor Emilio Archila.
According to the Ideas for Peace research center, the Second Marquetalia fights a battle with blood and fire with other dissident factions for control of drug trafficking.
Even without full confirmation, Duque anticipated to celebrate the supposed fall of both ex-guerrillas: “That these bandits leave circulation is good news and that shows that bandits do not have a burrow“.