The guerrillas, directed personally by Manuel Marulanda and Jorge Briceño, managed to prevent the passage of troops to the jungles of the Yarí, despite aerial and ground bombardments and the huge patrols that tried again and again to break the insurgent resistance.
Several years later, US, British and Israeli advisers joined Colombian strategists to design the Patriot Plan, with which an army strengthened in strength, arms, air support, cutting-edge technology and presented as bigger to the public opinion through an unprecendetd media campaign, proposed to penetrate the jungles of the Yarí, destroy the guerrilla rear front and end with its main leaders.
From the south, the operation contemplated the advance of the troops to the north of Remolinos of the Caguan, with the objective of taking possession of the immense mantle of forest that separated this river of the Yarí.
Countless other mobile brigades left San Vicente del Caguán to control the immense savannah and to penetrate to the jungle. From La Macarena left the third contingent to the south, as powerful as the others and with the same goal of exterminating the FARC.
From the north and west it took at least six months for the troops to reach the jungle. There were clashes with the guerrilla mobile companies, ceaselessly. But the power of helicopters and fighter planes did not succeed in dominating them. The mobile brigades that barely crossed the Caguán River sank into the jungle, meeting the indomitable resistance of the Southern Block, which braked their advance to the north.
President Uribe shouted every day against the FARC and predicted its impending defeat. But the generals who led the operations were beginning to doubt its effectiveness.
The truth was that in the jungle, in the guerrilla camps, life passed in an almost absolute normality.
Mono always found a reason to celebrate a party, basic schools, medicine, communications kept working without any problem.
Guerrilla warfare starts from the fact that the enemy will always succeed in getting where it has proposed itself. So it's about making that goal as dear as possible.
While resisting and striking in a surprising and forceful manner, we must plan the next movement, prepare the safe route of retreat and at the same time conceive the next stage of the fight. The adversary, who bet everything on his campaign of extermination, will discover that his prey has vanished in the air.
In the background, behind the resistance, was always Manuel Marulanda Vélez. But the old commander, in turn, needed someone who could faithfully interpret his thinking, a man who possessed enough energy and talent to carry out his ideas creatively and even gigantically.
That fabled character was El Mono, undoubtedly the greatest warrior that the Colombian land has produced throughout its history.
His audacity knew no bounds. I remember his funny laugh, when the command that chased a deserter down the road that had built the guerrilla under the cloak of the jungle, discovered traces of the ambush the Army had been preparing for more than a week.
It was obvious that the elusive target had been him, who frequently traveled that way. That meant that the troop had already stepped into the jungle and that it was doing that in a clandestine way.
A few days later he ordered us to evacuate Casona, a camp that he thought was too exposed. A small group left behind to secure some things, discovered soldiers the next day and fought with them.
So it was clear he was being targeted. However, he only agreed to move when a commando came to tell him about the traces of ambush discovered, and showed him the drink cartons left by the soldiers, a few hundred yards from his camp.
He was not going to leave without first fighting them, so he quickly prepared his people for the impending confrontation. And then applied absolute mobility that prevented the soldiers from knowing the guerrillas location.
In less than a year we were in the Caquetá River, on this side of the Putumayo, fighting the war in the Caguan for a time and finally we marched to the upper Guayabero.
The Patriot Plan became another failure of the National Army. The Mono made it failed.
Why not, then, paying tribute to that symbol of the persecuted Colombia, outraged and slandered by the great powers? To that giant who fought until dying?
The other Colombia conquered their rights, goodbye to hatred and discrimination. Seriously.