Colombia's FARC Leader Dead

Rick Moran
Fausta Wertz has the story via the BBC of the death of Manuel "Sureshot" Marulanda, military leader of the Colombian Communist rebel group FARC:

The cause of death sounds like one of Ace's headlines: the Colombians say that three bombing raids had targeted the area where Mr Marulanda was believed to have been staying, while the FARC (unofficialy) say it was a heart attack. As Ace would put it, "Tirofijo dead of heart attack, or raid, but mostly raid". Either way, Tirofijo's dead.

Chavez is not going to sleep well tonight. He's been in bed with the FARC for a long time, and the FARC is now under siege. The Colombian government is fighting a winning battle against the FARC. The death of the head of the FARC is a huge blow to Hugo's Communist buddies.

Anything that discomfits Chavez is a plus in my book.

Beyond that, FARC has been losing support as Colombia's economy has improved and as the group turned from fighting the Colombian army to getting involved in the drug trade.

Recent intelligence captured in raids by the Colombian army has revealed extensive involvement by  Hugo Chavez in the FARC insurgency. The fact that the Colombians are now clearly winning the war may give Chavez pause as he seeks to undermine other Latin American countries with his so-called "Bolivian" revolution.

As Latin America makes one of its periodic jerks to the left, the cycle of the last 100 years or so will probably repeat itself. The more leftward the tilt by these governments, the more wretched the economy becomes which disillusions people and causes them to start voting for more centrist candidates. The question with these leftist thugs is the same one asked when the military or more conservative politicians are in charge; will the transformation occur with or without bloodshed? Will the old guard accede to the will of the people and leave quietly or will they seek to hang on to power indefinitely?

The history of Latin America is littered with regimes from both the right and left who fought to hang on to power only to be overthrown by the military or upended in a civil war. Hard to see how Venezuela can avoid something similar with Chavez thinking he is "President for Life."

Update -- An informed source who must be unnamed writes:

The Colombians have really come of age during the Uribe administration.  They have resourced their army in men and materiel and are kicking the Gs asses, aided by the US, PLAN COLOMBIA money.  This may be affected by the near US election.  If the Dems win, they will cut back or eliminate aid to Colombia, which may give oxygen to the rebels, just like Jimmy Carter did to the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran rebels in '78 and '79.
 
Right now the best counter-insurgency fighters in the world are the Americans (Iraq-Afghanistan) and the Colombians.  My friends down here that have been to Colombia for training come back with great stuff from their experience.
 
When I started to research the "correlation of forces" vis-a-vis Colombia and Venezuela after the Colombian incursion into Ecuador, I rapidly saw that the Venezuelans were only rattling their swords -- except for aircraft they would be beaten like a rented mule in any ground action, due to numbers as well as experience.  And while Hugo's new SU-30s are great for symbols of sovereignty and chest beating, and could be used indefinitely for CAS within Venezuela if need be, just one cross border strike against Colombia and I suspect the USAF would take them all out on the ground.

Fausta Wertz has the story via the BBC of the death of Manuel "Sureshot" Marulanda, military leader of the Colombian Communist rebel group FARC:

The cause of death sounds like one of Ace's headlines: the Colombians say that three bombing raids had targeted the area where Mr Marulanda was believed to have been staying, while the FARC (unofficialy) say it was a heart attack. As Ace would put it, "Tirofijo dead of heart attack, or raid, but mostly raid". Either way, Tirofijo's dead.

Chavez is not going to sleep well tonight. He's been in bed with the FARC for a long time, and the FARC is now under siege. The Colombian government is fighting a winning battle against the FARC. The death of the head of the FARC is a huge blow to Hugo's Communist buddies.

Anything that discomfits Chavez is a plus in my book.

Beyond that, FARC has been losing support as Colombia's economy has improved and as the group turned from fighting the Colombian army to getting involved in the drug trade.

Recent intelligence captured in raids by the Colombian army has revealed extensive involvement by  Hugo Chavez in the FARC insurgency. The fact that the Colombians are now clearly winning the war may give Chavez pause as he seeks to undermine other Latin American countries with his so-called "Bolivian" revolution.

As Latin America makes one of its periodic jerks to the left, the cycle of the last 100 years or so will probably repeat itself. The more leftward the tilt by these governments, the more wretched the economy becomes which disillusions people and causes them to start voting for more centrist candidates. The question with these leftist thugs is the same one asked when the military or more conservative politicians are in charge; will the transformation occur with or without bloodshed? Will the old guard accede to the will of the people and leave quietly or will they seek to hang on to power indefinitely?

The history of Latin America is littered with regimes from both the right and left who fought to hang on to power only to be overthrown by the military or upended in a civil war. Hard to see how Venezuela can avoid something similar with Chavez thinking he is "President for Life."

Update -- An informed source who must be unnamed writes:

The Colombians have really come of age during the Uribe administration.  They have resourced their army in men and materiel and are kicking the Gs asses, aided by the US, PLAN COLOMBIA money.  This may be affected by the near US election.  If the Dems win, they will cut back or eliminate aid to Colombia, which may give oxygen to the rebels, just like Jimmy Carter did to the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran rebels in '78 and '79.
 
Right now the best counter-insurgency fighters in the world are the Americans (Iraq-Afghanistan) and the Colombians.  My friends down here that have been to Colombia for training come back with great stuff from their experience.
 
When I started to research the "correlation of forces" vis-a-vis Colombia and Venezuela after the Colombian incursion into Ecuador, I rapidly saw that the Venezuelans were only rattling their swords -- except for aircraft they would be beaten like a rented mule in any ground action, due to numbers as well as experience.  And while Hugo's new SU-30s are great for symbols of sovereignty and chest beating, and could be used indefinitely for CAS within Venezuela if need be, just one cross border strike against Colombia and I suspect the USAF would take them all out on the ground.