Former FARC commander Jesús Santrich killed by Colombian commandos
Seuxis Pausías Hernández Solarte aka Jesus Santrich, a senior former FARC-EP commander has been reportedly killed by Colombian commandos under direct orders by the Colombian President Ivan Duque. Santrich participated in demobilisation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) but took up arms again in 2019 under the banner of Segunda Marquetalia. FARC–EP is a Marxist–Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organization.
Santrich was among the key delegates representing FARC during the peace talks with the Colombian government. He was involved in the drafting of the final peace agreement which was finally signed in 2016. Santrich was granted a seat in Colombia’s congress as part of the agreement but could not be sworn in because of his alleged involvement in sending a drug shipment to the United States. He was arrested and released from jail twice. He fled from a FARC reintegration camp in July 2019.
Santrich operated along the remote Venezuela-Colombia border along with other dissident FARC leaders. He was known to be the key negotiator for the new group Segunda Marquetalia which brokered ties with other former FARC groups. He also dealt with the other armed factions and Venezuelan authorities.
On May 13, the Columbian Supreme Court of Justice ordered his extradition to the United States to prosecute him for alleged drug trafficking crimes. Santrich also had a Interpol red notice against him.
On May 18, 2021 it was reported that Santrich was killed in clashes at the Venezuela side of the Serranía del Perijá.
“We inform Colombia and the world with pain in our hearts, the sad news of the death of Commander Jesús Santrich, a member of the Directorate of the FARC-EP, Segunda Marquetalia, in an ambush executed by commandos of the Colombian Army on 17 May “, said the dissidents in the statement.
“The Colombian commandos were sent there by direct order of President Ivan Duque. The truck, where the commander was, was attacked with automatic rifles and grenades … The assassins cut the little finger of his left hand … The special forces have been evacuated on board of the yellow helicopter to Colombia,” the statement said.
Born in 1966 in Toluviejo, in the department of Sucre to teacher parents, Seuxis Pausías Hernández Solarte joined the Colombia Communist Youth (Juventud Comunista de Colombia or JUCO) and later became a militant member of the Patriotic Union (Unión Patriótica or UP) which is a recognized left-wing party. He joined as a local official in Sucre’s municipality of Colosó after his graduation. He joined FARC in 1991 after his colleague was killed by the members of the former Administrative Department of Security (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad or DAS). His assumed name Jesus Santrich was a tribute to his friend and colleague. He suffered from Leber’s Disease, a degeneration of the eye which has left him nearly blind. He had joined the 19th Front of the Caribbean Block of the FARC which operated in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and had incluence in the regions of the Montes de María, the Serrania de Perijá and the departments of Sucre and Córdoba.
As a member of Segunda Marquetalia, he is said to be operating between Apure, Venezuela and Arauca, Colombia.
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