President Juan Manuel Santos announced the guerrilla leader's “apparent” death in November 2010, after his personal possessions were found in the debris left by an air force raid on a FARC camp. However, in June the following year the armed forces said that Fabian Ramirez was likely still alive, based on intelligence from demobilized guerrillas.
Now, Caracol has published a video of the rebel boss being interviewed by independent journalist Karl Penhaul.
In the interview, Fabian Ramirez says that the FARC is interested in ending the war, and that lower ranking soldiers also want it to end, but that the government and the military leadership have economic interests in carrying on with the “war business.”
We must end this war, coming to an agreement between the government and the guerrillas, without hate, without advantages, giving in, looking at who is fundamentally right … They shouldn’t just say “Hand over your arms and stop attacking the security forces,” it’s not like that. Here, to finish the war, we must end the causes of the war.He also spoke of humanizing the conflict, and confirmed that the FARC have ceased kidnapping for economic gain, though he said they would not stop detaining members of the security forces, as they are prisoners of war.
According to Semana magazine, Fabian Ramirez headed the FARC’s 14th Front until 2004, and then became the second-in-command of the Southern Bloc. He is now thought to head the bloc.
The Associated Press notes that the US classifies the rebel boss as a major drug trafficker, and has offered a reward of $2.5 million for information leading to his arrest.
Meanwhile, the US State Department’s latest country reports on terrorism say that the majority of terror attacks in the Western Hemisphere last year were carried out by the FARC and the smaller ELN rebel group. It says that the the FARC increasingly turned to hit and run attacks instead of large unit encounters.
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- A Spanish national who was at the wheel during the car crash that killed Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya has been charged with manslaughter, reports the AP. Angel Carromero had come to Cuba with Swedish Jens Aron Modig, to support and bring funds to Paya’s organization. The causes of the crash have been questioned, with some suggesting that another vehicle rammed the car off the road.
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- The NYT reports that, immediately after formalizing Venezuela’s accession as a full member of Mercosur, President Hugo Chavez signed an agreement to buy some 20 passenger jets from Brazilian manufacturer Embraer.
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