Colombia: FARC transcripts leaked by military

Transcripts of conversations between the highest leaders of the FARC guerillas were revealed by Colombian media Feb. 15 after being intercepted by the Armed Forces. The transcripts reveal dialogues between the FARC’s peace delegation in Havana, Cuba and the guerrilla group’s highest military commander Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry AKA "Timochenko." Colombia’s military intelligence was able to access the conversations after breaking through their encrypted codes protecting their communication mediums. Colombia's Blu Radio station gained access to the transcripts. A scandal over sying on the peace delegations has forced the dismissal of four top military commanders.

The leaked transcripts shed some light on the war the continues in Colombia despite the peace talks. In a conversation on Oct. 4, 2013, Timochenko acknowledged that FARC guerrillas were responsible for sabotaging electrical towers in the "south of the country" and abducting two people in the same zone. Tumaco, a city in the southern department of Nariño, was left without water and power for nearly a month because of apparent FARC attacks on infrastructure in early October

Another conversation on the Oct. 5 revealed chief FARC negotiator Luciano Marin Arango AKA "Ivan Márquez" saying that high members of the guerrilla organization will not spend "even one day in prison." Timochenko was also quoted saying that "in no moment are we saying that we will put down our arms." Demobilization of the FARC is one of the six agenda items yet to be discussed in the ongoing talks.

Also according to Blu Radio, the transcripts revealed that Timochenko had given orders for new attacks to pressure President Juan Manuel Santos to support a constituent assembly to rewrite Colombia's constitution—an idea being pushed by the FARC to seal the peace talks. Colombia's congress passed a measure last year to have an eventual peace deal voted into law by popular referendum—an arrangement the FARC does not support. (Colombia Reports, Feb. 14)

The armed forces are also aggressively pursuing the war in spite of the Havana talks—generally taking a greater toll on the civilian populace. On Feb. 13, the Integral Campesino Association of Atrato (COCOMACIA) issued a statement protesting days of aerial bombardment by government planes and helicopters of peasant lands in Atrato and Quibdó municipalities, Chocó department, leaving five communities partially or completely displaced. (COCOMACIA statement, Feb. 13)