[Marxism] FARC Will Not Suspend Armed Struggle
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Thu Jul 31 11:25:01 MDT 2008
*Colombian rebel chief vows to fight on*
21 hours ago
CARACAS (AFP) — A leader of the Marxist-inspired FARC rebel group vowed to
press on with armed warfare in Colombia and ruled out peace talks with
President Alvaro Uribe, in an interview with Venezuelan television
"The armed struggle is not up for debate," Ivan Marquez, one of the chief
guerrillas in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia told Venezuela's
Telesur, according to excerpts released ahead of the full airing later
"The underlying causes which sparked it have not changed," said Marquez.
FARC is Latin America's oldest insurgency, and its new top leader Alfonso
Cano has reportedly been weighing negotiating with the Colombian government
after the movement suffered a number of blows in recent months.
The rescue earlier this month of French-Colombia politician Ingrid
Betancourt and 14 others marked one of the biggest setbacks for the rebel
force, which had been seeking to swap its hostages for about 500 imprisoned
FARC has waged a four-decade battle against the government and is believed
to be still holding hundreds of hostages, mainly Colombians, in their jungle
"With Uribe, peace is nothing but a pipe dream. A political solution to the
conflict is only possible under a different government," said Marquez, who
also brushed aside France's offer of political asylum for guerrillas who
turn themselves in.
"This proposition is an affront the dignity of FARC guerrillas," he said.
"Real fighters do not barter their convictions or their country for a
humiliating exile on the other side of the ocean."
Marquez blamed the rescue on July 2 of Betancourt, three US nationals and 11
Colombians, in which troops posed as rebels and plucked the hostages from
FARC's grasp, on two "traitors."
The FARC has lost two of the group's top leaders in fighting this year,
including number-two official Raul Reyes who was killed inside Ecuador
during a cross-border raid by Colombian troops.
The rebels also have been hard hit by the desertion of some mid-ranking
officials, communications snafus and troubles securing supplies, several of
the released hostages said.
Strikingly, its ranks have shrivelled in five years to below half what they
were, according to the Colombian government, which says the FARC had fewer
than 8,000 fighters in early 2008.
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