In an interview given to one of Colombia’s regional newspapers, La crónica del Quindío, FARC’s former top commander – and now head of FARC political party – Rodrigo Londoño, thanked Colombia’s security forces for foiling an assassination attempt against his life while visiting his native coffee region.
Known by his wartime alias “Timochenko,” Rodrigo Londoño had been warned mid-December by the National Protection Unit and senior police officers that a plan was in the works to kill the former commander when outside the capital of Bogotá. “I am here speaking thanks to the Police and Colombian Army, who were always watching out for my life,” remarked Londoño, adding that his alleged attackers “were two boys (muchachos) who became convinced that they were going to kill a traitor.”
The attackers were killed on Saturday after they were intercepted by the National Police on a road between the departments of Quindío and Valle del Cauca. According to General Atehortúa, head of the National Police, the attackers were identified by their aliases “Guamby” and “Conejo” and had received military training in Venezuela from two former senior FARC commanders: “Iván Márquez” and “El Paisa.”
Márquez was FARC’s Chief Peace Negotiator during the four-year-long talks that took place in Havana, Cuba, and a close wartime ally of Timochenko. Márquez was also widely considered to be the natural heir of FARC, renamed after the Final Accord in 2016 as the Revolutionary Alternative Common Force. Márquez broke ranks with FARC last year to join “El Paisa” and “Jesús Santrich” as leaders of a dissident group. “Regrettably, they are gentlemen who at one time stood alongside me,” remarked Londoño, who shared “difficult situations” and others of “joy.”
General Atehortúa said during a press conference in Quindió’s capital Armenia hours after the thwarted attack, that an informant had provided security forces with valuable information and which was shared with Londoño on Sunday morning as the former commander was enjoying his end-of-year holidays on a nearby farm.
Timochenko took over FARC in 2001 as its senior commander after a military operation in northern Cauca resulted in the death of predecessor “Alfonso Cano.” In the interview with La crónica del Quindío, Londoño reiterated his commitment to the peace process which he signed with former President Juan Manuel Santos ending more than a half-century of internal conflict. “Let this be the right time to repeat it: The peace agreement nobody, nobody is going to tear it apart and if they do, we will collect every bit and rebuild it.”