Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hey, Macarena!

Colombian news media are reporting today on the demise of Victor Julio Suarez Rojas, the most important military leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (AKA the FARC), after a devastating raid on a major jungle camp in the Macarena region.

This may have been another success for the State Department's Narcotics Rewards Programs, which offered 5 million Yankee dollars for Suarez Rojas:

Victor Julio SUAREZ ROJAS, also known as "Jorge Briceno Suarez," also known as "Mono Jojoy" is a Secretariat member, the Chief of Military Operations, and has served as commander of the Eastern Bloc. He set the FARC’s cocaine policies directing and controlling (i) the production, manufacture, and distribution of hundreds of tons of cocaine to the United States and the world; (ii) the "taxation" of the drug trade in Colombia to raise funds for the FARC; and, (iii) the murder of hundreds of people who violated or interfered with the FARC’s cocaine policies. He authored the written directive commanding FARC members to execute farmers who fail to sell cocaine paste to the FARC.

The U.S. Department of State is offering a REWARD OF UP TO $5 MILLION for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Victor Julio SUAREZ ROJAS.


I don't know whether the reward offer had anything to do with the raid, but if it did, that would be exactly the way I would want my tax money spent. Here are some details from the Huffington Post:

Colombia's military killed the No. 2 leader and top military strategist of the country's main rebel army in blistering bombardments of a major jungle camp, officials announced Thursday, saying rebel informants helped prepare the demoralizing shock to an already weakened insurgency.

-- Snip --

[Colombian President Juan Manuel] Santos told reporters that at least 20 rebels were killed, including other senior insurgents whose identities were not disclosed pending fingerprint and DNA tests, in operations that began Monday night with bombing raids involving at least 30 warplanes and 27 helicopters and ended with ground combat on Wednesday.

-- Snip --

Air force chief Gen. Julio Gonzalez told the AP that Super Tucano and other warplanes dropped more than 50 bombs on the camp.

Commandos found Briceno's body outside a concrete bunker in a camp laced with tunnels and recovered 12 laptop computers and 50 USB drives, said a military spokesman, speaking anonymously because he wasn't authorized to provide details.

The spokesman said the raid was six months in the making and included surveillance of radio communications and human infiltration.

The key to its success was intelligence, including "the collaboration of members of the FARC itself," said Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera. "The FARC is rotting inside."

He did not offer specifics, though other officials told the AP they were discussing reward payments to collaborators.

The U.S. State Department had offered a $5 million reward for Briceno. The biggest reward known to have been paid for fingering a FARC commander was $2.5 million to an unknown informant who led authorities to Reyes' camp [referring to a March 2008 bombing raid across the border with Ecuador that killed FARC foreign minister Raul Reyes].

-- Snip --

[Defense Minister Rodrigo] Rivera said Briceno was caught at "the mother of all FARC camps," a complex some 300 yards (meters) from end to end. He said troops engaged rebels in ground combat on Wednesday and were only able to confirm Briceno's death on Thursday morning. Rivera said five troops were injured with the only government death an explosives-sniffing dog.


Too bad about the dog.

1 comment:

Donna said...

You're in this week's FS RoundUp. If you want out, please let me know: http://emailfromtheembassy.blogspot.com/2010/09/weekly-roundup-sponsored-by-me.html