January 25, 2022 5:30 pm

Bloody guerrilla fights overwhelm Colombia and Venezuela

PUERTO SANTANDER, Colombia.– The Colombian guerrillas began the year as they know best: with blood and fire. On the border between the Colombian Arauca and the Venezuelan Apure, the war is to the death: control of the millionaire drug trafficking routes is at stake between them. If there was ever some romanticism in their armed struggle, no one remembers.

On the border that serves as a gateway to the Venezuelan diaspora, there are no peace agreements, only brute force. Almost no one cares what bracelet the guerrilla wears, be it an “eleno” of the National Liberation Army (ELN), an unrestricted ally of Chavismo; a dissident of the FARC from the Tenth Front, led by Iván Mordisco and Gentil Duarte; or one of the defeated Second Marquetalia and its historical commanders.

The whip of violence continues further, in both territories, and not only in the border regions of Norte de Santander and Táchira. “On our side [el venezolano] there is the ELN, which shares the areas of power with the revolutionary forces. They enter the villages, distribute the CLAP [bolsas de comida subvencionada] and they participate in the social control of the government. The guerrillas simply do not meddle in the affairs of the police, and vice versa. On the other side there are different local mafias, but even in La Parada [junto al Puente Internacional Simón Bolívar] the guerrillas are shot with the thugs of the Train of Aragua [grupo mafioso original del centro del país y que también ha emigrado a Colombia y Perú]”, Explains to the nation, under strict anonymity, a civil leader from San Antonio.

At least Some 30 deaths are counted so far in the bloody combats that began on New Year’s Eve between the ELN guerrillas and the dissidents of the Ten Front, who come from defeating the alliance formed between the Venezuelan military and their Second Marquetalia partners, also split from the FARC, in the Venezuelan border state of Apure.

Second Marquetalia lost its main commanders after the deaths of Jesús Santrich, Romaña and El Paisa. Nothing is known about the whereabouts of the supreme chief, the former “FARC chancellor” Iván Márquez, after the Havana government denies that he is a refugee on the island.

The guerrilla tentacles are not satisfied with the border, their natural habitat since the peace treaty. The “new frontier”, as the activist Rocío San Miguel baptized it, extended its limits to a large part of Venezuelan territory, where Colombian guerrillas have government permission to act in at least 12 of the 23 states that make up the oil country.

“A border that is no longer next to international limits, but everywhere where the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) handed over arms control to organized crime,” added the president of the NGO Control Ciudadano para la Seguridad y the Armed Forces.

In the Arco Minero and in the Amazon, bordering Brazil, the guerrillas do extra work: they guard the mines of the Chavista leaders and fight with the local mafias, called Trade Unions, for the control of the territory behind the back of the Army. In their last foray into the Orinoco, right after the beginning of the year, they surprised the thugs in a small port at the foot of the river and eliminated seven militiamen from the Barrancas Union.

As if it were a large oil stain that silently spreads in one country, but does not stop staining on the other side. Urban guerrilla forces continue to operate in the interior of Colombia, not only in the Cúcuta border as in recent months, when they tried to assassinate President Iván Duque or destroy a police plane at the Camilo Daza airport. The attack on Friday in Cali, the capital of Valle del Cauca almost a thousand kilometers from the border, recalled other moments in the past in Colombian history.

The ELN claimed responsibility for the terrorist action in Cali, with 13 agents injured, which puts even more pressure on the Duque government with only a few weeks left before the electoral rally that leads to the presidential elections in May begins. “Their interest in influencing this year’s electoral process with the support of socialist and communist dictatorships is clear. Colombia will never bow down and will never bow to terrorism and our government will never reward a terrorist, ”Duque accused.

Back on the border, the ELN faces a fierce enemy. The dissidents, emboldened after their victory in Apure, dared to attack one of the ELN camps in Venezuelan territory. During the assault, according to Colombian authorities, Commander “eleno” Mazamorro, the second in command in the Domingo Laín Sáenz Front, was killed. The “elenos” left their Venezuelan sanctuary for a few hours and they crossed the Arauca River to take revenge in Colombia against the Tenth Front of the FARC. The fighting dumps corpses every day.

The Colombian authorities believe that the revenge of the “elenos” against the dissidence was carried out in Venezuelan territory, but that a large part of the bodies were dragged and abandoned in Colombian territory. In fact, killings and executions have continued in recent hours on both sides. Danny Castrillón, 19, was killed in the Colombian Saravena. They were the “armed actors”, according to their relatives. On the other side of the border, in El Amparo, the fallen were Fabio Rivera and his nephew Francovis Villalón.

The Colombian Army deployed two regiments on the border to stop the carnage of the subversives, which also caused the displacement of hundreds of residents of Arauca. Meanwhile, on the other side, Venezuelan forces claim to have reinforced border municipalities and raised their “level of alert” to “respond forcefully to any aggression against our sovereignty,” said General Vladimir Padrino López, Minister of Defense and leader of the Chavista generalate.

“It is more difficult to confront armed groups when the neighboring country is controlled by a mafia dictatorship, abusive and violating human rights such as the Maduro regime, which allowed dissidents and ELN to operate freely in its territory,” said Juan Pappier, researcher Human Rights Watch (HRW).


Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *