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BBC’s Loving Tribute To Dead FARC Leader

From BBC News:

Colombian commander Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda Velez (L) of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) listens to rebel Jorge Briceno in Villa Colombia camp near San Vicente del Caguan, Caqueta province, in this April 29, 2000 photo.

Profile: Manuel Marulanda

Pedro Marin, better known by his nom de guerre, Manuel Marulanda, has led Colombia’s biggest rebel movement, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) since its inception in 1964.

Over more than four decades, he turned a few dozen armed farmers into a thousands-strong organisation that has staged South America’s longest-running and largest insurgency.

Rarely seen in public, and rumoured to have died on numerous occasions, Marulanda has been an elusive enemy of the Bogota government.

Yet time appeared to run out for the legendary revolutionary in March 2008, with Colombian military leaders now asserting that he died following air strikes on the area in which he was hiding.

Military mastermind

Marulanda was born – around 1930 – into a poor peasant family in Genova, a coffee growing town in western Colombia.

He was radicalised as a teenager, after several relatives died in the vicious Colombian civil wars in the middle of the last century.

He fled to the mountains to oppose the conservative government, later embracing Marxism, and earning the nickname Tirofijo, or Sureshot, for his deadly aim in combat.

Farc was born in May 1964, when Marulanda’s group of 48 armed farmers came under attack from the military in the enclave of Marquetalia, in southern Colombia.

Over the years Farc grew to include some 15,000 fighters, although the Colombian government believes it is now about 9,000-strong. The rebels currently hold hundreds of people hostage and traffic drugs to fund their insurgency.

Marulanda has always remained Farc’s political and military mastermind. An avid student of military history, he is considered a master of guerrilla warfare.

Notoriously reclusive – hardly surprising for a most-wanted revolutionary – he is said to have never set foot in Colombia’s capital or to have left the country, giving just a handful of interviews over the course of his life.

His official biographer, Arturo Alape, has described him as a reserved and serene man, who speaks with a deliberate and paternal tone. The guerrilla fighter is said to have fathered seven children, though he has never married.

Inspirational figure

Marulanda gained wider fame in the late 1990s, when the Colombian government withdrew troops from a Switzerland-size area of the country for peace talks.

After several years, negotiations collapsed. Farc was blamed for hijacking a commercial airliner and kidnapping two passengers.

With the election of President Alvaro Uribe three months later, the drive to eradicate Farc moved to the top of the administration’s priority list.

Marulanda has long been an inspirational figure for the guerrillas, and correspondents say that his death – if confirmed – could ultimately lead to a break up of the Farc.

Yet some envisage his successor – a political leader of the rebel movement known as Alfonso Cano – may bring much needed change to the Farc and seek to end the series of defeats that the rebels have suffered for the last five years.

Granted the BBC has admitted (even documented) their outrageous leftwing bias.

But when have they ever written such a glowing encomium for someone fighting on the side of liberty and justice?

It is safe to say not often since the end of WWII.

Meanwhile, we are treated to ‘facts’ like these:

Farc was born in May 1964, when Marulanda’s group of 48 armed farmers came under attack from the military in the enclave of Marquetalia, in southern Colombia.

Even for the BBC, this is an outrageous bowdlerization.

From Wikipedia:

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo), also known by the acronym of FARC or FARC-EP, is a self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organization….

According to 1958 US embassy and military records on file at the US National Archives, one of the largest Liberal guerrilla bands that came into existence during “La Violencia” had been known as “Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia” (FARC),[22] This group had been organized some time in the early 1950s by Dumar Aljure, an associate of Guadalupe Salcedo. In the following years, Aljure’s power and that of this early guerrilla organization declined until his own death in 1968, when he still had a degree of control and influence over Puerto Lleras.

Separately, the Colombian government had initially ignored the growing influence of several communist enclaves in and around Sumapaz until 1964 when, under pressure by Conservatives who considered the autonomous communities, which were labeled as “independent republics” by senator Álvaro Gómez Hurtado[23], to be a threat, the Colombian National Army was ordered to take full control of the area.

Following the attack the communists dispersed, only to later reorganize as the “Southern Bloc” (“Bloque Sur”). In 1964, the Bloque Sur renamed itself the “Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia” (FARC). Jacobo Arenas and Manuel Marulanda were two of the founders of the new guerrilla group and became its two top leaders.

But when has the BBC ever let such petty details get in the way of a bouquet to one of its heroes?

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, May 25th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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