Armed FARC / New Power / Nuevo poder
In an open letter, the "new guerrilla" movement changeed its name to "New Power", saying only an 'alternative, humanist government can pave way to a scenario of coexistence' in Colombia. The "new guerrilla" movement led by former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, People's Army (FARC-EP) Ivan Marquez announced to the public 31 August 2019 it was willing to engage in "dialogue" with a “coalition.”
"It is preferable to die on your feet than to live on your knees. From the mountains and depths of the communal insurgent land, with a fraternal embrace of hope in peace with social justice, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Army of People, we announce that we give way to a new stage of struggle... "
The new FAR-EP appears to be entwined with the Partido Comunista Clandestino Colombiano - PCCC - Colombian Clandestine Communist Party. The PCCC / PC3 is an illegal Communist Party in Colombia, a political organization of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. One of the founders of the party and its leader until his death in November 2011 was Alfonso Cano. Directed by Cano, the clandestine Bolivarian movement that has the sentimental and logistical support of the talkative Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. Apparently the clandestine communists are people outside the armed group, because they coexist within the community, but all their subversive activities are oriented towards the recruitment of guerrillas, the construction of more party cells, combat intelligence, logistics and propaganda, developed from discreet way. This is a surreptitious movement that has more than 10,000 people.
A peaceful run-off election in Colombia in June 2018 brought the victory of right-wing candidate Ivan Duque over leftist Gustavo Petro. At the top of Duque’s agenda, was amending the peace accord with the FARC. By mid-2019, the peace accord that halted a half-century of violent conflict in Colombia has reached a critical juncture. With the population almost evenly split over the terms of the 2016 agreement and a new government led by the party that opposed it, analysts and political figures see sustainable peace as increasingly endangered. Duque had said he will make modifications to the accord and wants FARC leaders to serve sentences for crimes.
An open letter signed "from the mountains of insurgent Colombia" by former high-ranking FARC commanders who are referring to themselves as the "New Power”, reiterates that the state’s failings to follow through with the 2016 Havana Peace Accords is what led the minority faction to return to arms. According to the ‘New Power’ that announced its rearmament Aug. 29 via a 32-minute Youtube video, the group took up weapons again because, "the history of betrayals suffered leaves no alternative.... From the Inírida that caresses with the tenderness of its fresh waters the Amazon rainforest and the Orinoco, besieged by the fragrance of Vaupés, which is ripe pineapple, we announce to the world that the Second Marquetalia has begun under the protection of universal law that assists all the peoples of the world rise in arms against oppression."
The former FARC commanders and soldiers in the split faction of around 30 people that “only an open process and an alternative humanist government can pave the way towards a scenario of coexistence in which the interests of the people and true development prioritized” for Colombia.
When the peace agreement between the Colombian government and FARC was signed in November 2016, some key FARC commanders announced that they were refusing to accept the peace agreement and were subsequently formally “expelled” from the party. The FARC dissident structures proved one of the most significvant security challenges to the government of Colombia, as the arrest of Jesús Santrich, a FARC commander, on drug trafficking charges demonstrated.
On 09 April 2018, Colombian police arrested senior FARC) commander and peace negotiator Jesús Santrich on charges of conspiring to export 10 tons of cocaine. The Colombian government agreed that, because the conspiracy began after the peace pact was signed, the commander could be extradited to the United States. He was to have taken up one of the ten congressional seats promised to the guerrilla group in the peace deal that ended Colombia’s 50-year conflict. But he could not be sworn in once he was arrested at the request of the US. But on May 16, 2019 the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) denied the extradition of Seuxis Paucias Hernandez-Solarte (aka Jesus Santrich). Jesus Santrich, the blind former leader of the FARC rebels, was immediately detained by public prosecutors upon his release from prison before being taken away in a police helicopter to an unknown destination.
On 29 August 2019 a video was published by a minority of senior leaders of the former FARC announcing their split from the main organization and to rearm. Among those in the video was Jesus Santrich, the key FARC leader who has been missing since mid-July and Ivan Marquez, a once-senior commander who was integral in negotiating the peace accord, announcing a “new stage of armed struggle.”
Seuxis Pausias Hernandez Solarte, aka “Jesús Santrich”, wrote a new statement on behalf of the dissidents of the demobilized insurgent group FARC-EP, now converted into a Common Revolutionary Alternative Force (FARC) political party, whose video was exclusively accessed by the Russian news agency Sputnik. In the statement disclosed on Sputnik’s website, he says that the Colombian president “assures without flinching that what he did not sign, does not oblige him, ignoring that the agreement was signed with the State ... The State that does not respect its commitments does not deserve the respect of the International Community, nor of its own people," said the dissident leader.
He stressed that the objective of the FARC sector that was rearmed "is not the soldier or the police officer, the officer or the non-commissioned officer respectful of popular interests, but the oligarchy," which he described as "corrupt, mafia and violent." He said that they will "immediately" seek to coordinate efforts with the insurgent National Liberation Army (ELN) "and with those comrades who have not folded the flags that fly for the homeland."
In the ‘New Power’ letter, the authors recognize all those who participated in the peace accord that was negotiated over several years. "They became the moral fire of the cause of reconciliation." They are "the great coalition of social justice and democracy that promotes a new dialogue to achieve true, final, stable and lasting peace,” the communique reads.
"Hopefully, total peace is achieved involving all armed actors that forges a New Alternative Government that saves the country from this general crisis,” say the dissident leaders who send a message to the Communist Party, the Patriotic Union and other nearby political factions: "As revolutionaries, sooner or later we will meet along the way."
Marquez, Santrich and the other signatories say there are "men and women of this country, who believe that another Colombia is possible who have struggled and continue to fight with patience and intelligence for peace." Among those on that list are Congressmen Ivan Cepeda, Alvaro Leyva, Roy Barreras, Gustavo Petro, Angela Maria Robledo and Angelica Lozano, among others. The guerillas thanked all social movements and guarantor countries that part in crafting the peace agreement and denounce the “Dominant Power Block—the oligarch class that sows wars to be freed by others.”
On 31 august 2019, Colombia’s military announced it had killed, in total, 12 former FARC in a rural area in the southern department of Caqueta, near the border with Ecuador. Colombian Army General Nicacio Martínez said the number of FARC dissidents who died in a large military operation rose to 12, three more than was first announced Friday following the Aug. 30 operation ordered by President Ivan Duque. It was unclear how, or if, the Caqueta faction is related to the ‘New Power’ under Marquez.
The main ex-FARC constituency officially condemned the move on Thursday. In a tweet on their official account, they say unequivocally that “more than 90% of former guerrillas remain committed to the peace process.” The group did later that day say it was breaking with the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition (SIVJRNR), the institutions that form the basis of the Havana Peace Accords, which includes the Special Judicial Court, or JEP, set up to help the over eight million people affected by the 50-year civil conflict.
After the group's leaders signed a peace deal, almost 7,000 of their fighters were demobilized. But there were groups of dissidents which never stood down. The number of dissidents is hard to estimate, but the figure cited in a 2019 leaked military document was 2,300. At its height in 2002, FARCt was an army of 20,000 fighters controlling up to a third of the country.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|