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Find here the latest news reports from the peace process, straight from Havana, Cuba. Permanently updated. 
Tuesday, 09 May 2017 00:00

A Dark Labyrinth in the Transitional Zones

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By: Gabriel Angel

In these days three women guerrillas deserted from the Transitional Zone for Normalization, Héroes de Marquetalia, located south of Tolima, near the place where the FARC was born 53 years ago.

Their names de guerre were Paula, Monica and Maira. The curious thing is that the three went to present themselves to the military base of Planadas, the nearest municipality.

It was known through information provided by the government delegates of the Local Monitoring and Verification Mechanism that the deserter guerrillas were indeed in that base. Nevertheless, these people objected to this fact being recorded in the routine report that the Mechanism daily elaborates for its superior instance.

Colonel Martinez, of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, far from the site of the desertions, promptly told Jeferson, our delegate in that instance, that three women had deserted from the area and had reported themselves at the Planadas base. At the time of his comment it was very doubtful whether the deserters had arrived there.
 From what was said by the official delegates in the two mechanisms of monitoring and verification, it can be deduced that, before the actual arrival took place, they already knew that the deserters would go to the aforementioned base.

The comrades of the area leadership decided to invite the father of Paula, one of the deserters, an inhabitant of the region, to inform him of the event. 
Servando, as the gentleman is called, arrived at the Transitional Zone in the company of the president and vice president of the Community Action Board from where he lives.

From the conversation with him it was concluded that he would approach that military base in order to find out about the situation of his daughter. It was agreed that he would invite the corregidor and the parish priest of Gaitania to go along with him, so he would not go alone.
At the base they were attended by one Major Méndez, who with his attitude lead them to understand that he already knew the reason of their visit.

He informed them that the three girls had actually arrived early but that they were no longer there but had been transferred to Ibague. Servando, very worried, asked for information on how to contact them.
 The Major called several numbers on his telephone, without obtaining any answer from the other side. In the end he assured that the best thing was that they presented themselves to Ibagué in person.

This generated distrust as in the local monitoring mechanism some soldiers ventured that the girls were to be in Chaparral. It all sounded strange.
 A good source had said that at eight o'clock in the morning the deserters were at the base. Not enough time had passed for them to be in Chaparral or Ibagué.

Servando later received a call on his telephone. On the other side a male voice told him that he was going to put on the phone someone who he would be happy to hear. He then heard his daughter's voice.

The girl quickly told her father that she was okay. And that later she would call again, because for now she could not make calls. As soon as he hung up, Servando saw the number 320 8498580 in the call log, and he called back.

The person who answered said hello to him calling him by his name, he requested to be called Mario and added that he would call him back when he was with his daughter.
 Servando called the Ombudsman's Office in Ibagué and reported what was happening to him. He also made arrangements to meet with the UN human rights delegate in order to inform and obtain help.

When the meeting between the United Nations official with Servando finally took place, the attitude of the latter disconcerted them all. 
He had simply come forward to say that he was not going to disturb any more, that he was not going to look for his daughter or anything else, because he had received a call from her and she had told him that if he really loved her, he would not look for her anymore.

Apart from his decision to not do anything else, it was obvious that the preoccupation he had shown the day before had disappeared.
The previous story, completely true, resembles the script of a series of those stories that the National Army presented on television in order to discredit the FARC.

Several indications indicate that at least a couple of the guerrillas living in the Transitional Zone Heroes of Marquetalia are in telephone communication with the military intelligence services.
 There must be a cat trapped there, as people say. To the above may be added another fact that is very suspicious.

A week ago in Gaitania, flyers appeared with the signature of the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia" [A paramilitary group], which warned the population on their plan to carry out a "cleaning operation" in the area. 

At 18:30 hours of May 3, a citizen of Gaitania was seriously injured after receiving several shots from an unknown aggressor. The aggressor, a tall, thin man dressed in black, according to witnesses who followed him after the shooting, flew through a coffee plantation in the direction of the military base located in Tolú, a place of Gaitania.

To the surprise of the direction of the Transitional Zone, Heroes de Marquetalia, that is located about twenty minutes from Gaitania, the government members of the Local Monitoring and Verification Mechanism maintained that the attacker fled towards the Transitional Zone and demanded that a police patrol be allowed to enter the area in search of the gunman.

If we evaluate the above facts, it is obvious that there is a predetermined interest to weaken the environment around this Transitional Zone. We remember now that a national media outlet published a few days ago the audios in which from Battalion 21 Vargas in Grenada, Meta, Army personnel promoted the desertion of the guerrilla units.

Since the conclave that took place in Cartagena in late March, the FARC brought to the attention of President Juan Manuel Santos this type of maneuver, incomprehensible in the light of the Agreements signed for the Termination of the Conflict and the ongoing bilateral and definitive ceasefire and cessation hostilities between the FARC and the Colombian State.

We are witness of the President's rejection of this type of actions, as well as of his willingness to immediately address a practice that reveals the buried interest of some military commanders in putting obstacles to the ongoing peace process.

Why the commitment to encourage desertions with promises of money when the end of the conflict is agreed?

Through media and social networks we can recognize the irrational offensive of the ultra-right sectors, enemies of the Havana Agreements and of peace and reconciliation for Colombia, against the process of abandoning arms and reincorporating the FARC into legal policy.

We have no doubt that these sectors are behind such dark events as those described.

A last-minute incident again draws attention to what has been said. In the morning of May 4th, a truck, with driver and assistant, showed up to leave logistic material in the Transitional Zone Heroes of Marquetalia.

The appearance of the assistant caught the attention of the commanders of the guerrilla, who proceeded to politely question him.

It turned out he was a plainclothes policeman, Jorge Rivera, patrolman attached to the district 2 of Campo Alegre, Huila, substation Silvania, whose commander is Sergeant Edier Bermeo Chavarro. He has been seven years in the Police and was carrying the C.C. 1113306907 of Sevilla, Valle.

The guerrillas took a picture of him before he returned in the truck.

What was his mission and why? What does this mean?

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