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"The air we breathe & the lines we cut" : FARC name Alfonso Cano is new leader.

i mac d | 25.05.2008 18:11 | Analysis | Anti-militarism | Terror War | World

Timoleón Jiménez has appeared in a video passed to TeleSUR lamenting the passing of the founder of FARC whose death began to be reported yesterday. He died of a heart attack.

They have also named the new leader of the paramilitary organisation. Thus the new name and personality who we may consider dealing with all the baggage of FARC. Its guerilla army, its hostages, its loyal population, its political hinterland who eschew armed struggle yet are persecuted, its role in the coca production and supply of cocaine from Colombia which is not already in the hands of the 3 cartels linked to the far right terrorists in the Colombian state. The new leader Guillermo León Sánez, alias Alfonso Cano is thus one of the people who decides how much rainforest should be cleared to grow coca instead of making oxygen. Coz as all you know well, coca only grows on the edge of rainforest for a maximum of two years, being a hungry little plant it needs nutrients when farmed which can only come from burning off jungle.

A short profile of this new man who shall play a small role in what goes up your nose. Be it oxygen or a 17% pure alkaloid.

Guillermo León Sáenz Vargas alias Alfonso Cano was born in 1942, July 22nd in Bogota, Colombia. He registered to study anthropology in the national university of Colombia a fact which belies his privileged middle class background. His father was
a teacher whilst his mother was an agricultural scientist.

He led the negotations for peace between Colombia and FARC in Caracas, 1991 and Tlaxcala in 1992. Ironically for a state which claims to fighting terrorists (rather than an insurgency or internal state legitimacy issue) he was sentenced to 40 years prison (in absentia) for killing 40 of his own guerilla force in mid January 2008. The bodies of the 40 had been found in group graves between March and April 1991 in the province of Meta. The men had alledgedly been shot by him at point blank range through the heart for disobeying orders and stealing rations.

we may read in some sources that Leon Sanez / Alfonso Cano is of the intellectual type, a former communist party member and in many ways similar in profile to the vice president of the Bolivian government, the mathematician and former communist guerilla Álvaro García Linera. In that he is considered to be an ideologue capable of bridging the gap between the tradition of armed action which was a 20th century reaction to far right regimes and death squads in Latin America and the contemporary 21st situation which sees the need for more effective engagement with popular empowerment often understood as the "modern bolivarian movement".

He might thus in a few words be considered a political moderate rather than hardline leader noting that only the future will allow him to appear "progressive". Especially considering the tactics of colombian narcostate to play as "hard" as possible against all left wing elements in an attempt to secure a referendum which will allow a second re-election of Uribe. Or equally he might be considered as a monster capable of shooting 40 of his own men through the heart for stealing biscuits.

But the factors which will shape his strategy as much as decide how ultimately he is described by the media are not only found within Colombia. The state of Venezuela and its ruling party itself are going through changes knowing that they will not see such a re-election of their own Chavez and must now decide the future leadership and style of the Bolivarian movement: should it continue as before with at times wanton populism? how can it seen to balance the conflicting interests of the indiginous groups which at first glance it champions until at closer analysis one realises a coca farmer who is pro-Evo Morales is as indiginous as a coal miner who wants to partition Bolivia?

Therefore the political mechanism which FARC under its new leader is expected to engage with in both Colombia and the wider region and continent is not as simple nor anywhere near as legitimate as the most popular "democratically" elected leaders of either rightwing or leftwing hue might pretend to claim. If it is true that the world in South America has moved on from the efficacy of armed struggle of jungle guerilla types, a world where anyone sitting in the UK can type the co-ordinates of their mother base into Google Earth and look at it, a world where the coca plantations of Brazil are identified for the police through Google Earth - then it might also be true that nobody is quite sure what comes next.

But for the moment it appears that the right and left wing press of the Spanish language this Sunday beyond Colombia hold small hope his political skills will ensure this conflict comes to a conclusion if not resolution.

As with yesterday's news, the history of wikipedia pages is quite interesting. Whereas English lingo Wiki says he's a hardliner, Español has opted for no such speculation.
I suppose whether or not youré a hard liner or a softliner depends on how much you've got to cut and how many snouts are at the table. How rather than where you draw the line so to speak.

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Display the following 2 comments

  1. Boycott cocaine, destroy crack, let the forest grow! — Neighbourhood squad& Medicinal man,
  2. plant coffee and tobaco where the coca grew! — impressed poetic peer response