The Reputation of a FARC Leader
"You can never leave loose ends. You live by erasing the traces of what you are building," says in interviews the man whose "good name" I am damaging.
Spanish – During the last few months I have had to deal with a legal battle initiated by Carlos Antonio Lozada, the leader of the FARC, currently, a senator of the Republic of Colombia because he claims that my articles and comments on Twitter are hurting his reputation – his “good name” as he calls it.
Luis Antonio Lozada, Carlos Antonio Lozada, Julián Gallo Cubillos, or whatever you want to call him —because he has several aliases— is one of the most important men in the FARC. He is part of the group’s secretariat and is considered number seven in the hierarchy. The government of Álvaro Uribe Vélez had offered five billion pesos as a reward in exchange for the man who now claims that I have damaged his reputation.
To become a leader of a terrorist group, you need to have extraordinary achievements and valuable criminal skills, Lozada is rather bloodthirsty and cold, so he got crucial “positions” within the organization.
But now that he is a Congressman, Julián Gallo wants us to forget history. And unbelievably, he is using the justice system to create legal hurdles and intimidate anyone who recalls his past. It is not pleasant, nor easy, nor cheap, and much less safe, to legally confront a FARC leader who is now a senator.
On January 16, the sixth criminal court of the circuit recognized that due process was flagrantly violated in the guardianship ruling against me for calling Lozada a “rapist” and “hurting his good name.” Therefore, the only path left for the judge was to decree the nullity of the proceedings.
So now, in a new process in which I should be appropriately notified and allowed to defend myself, I must legally confront Lozada because he feels that I am harming his “good name.”
If it were not for the fact that there are millions of victims of the FARC and that we face the danger of the country being taken over by socialist terrorists, all this would be a joke. One of the most important men in the most bloodthirsty terrorist group in Colombia’s history, and for whom the U.S. State Department is offering a 2.5 million USD reward, is a congressman who is forcing a female journalist to retract her statement for damaging his “good name.”
Lozada joined the FARC at age 17 when he was in his final year of high school at La Merced District School. His father was a member of the Communist Party and, as he himself has said his family always talked “about leftist politics- about socialism, about the Soviet Union, about Cuba.”
His first “important” mission as a member of the terrorist group was on May 1, 1979, in the takeover of a farmhouse in El Tambo (Cauca). Lozada quickly moved up in the terrorist structure; he says it was because of his ability to talk to the peasants, but I think it was more because of his effectiveness in doing terrorist work. His teacher of terrorism —both rural and urban— was none other than the dreaded Jorge Briceño Suárez, the well-known “Mono Jojoy.”
In 1981, Lozada was sent to Cali to undertake “logistical missions” because his forte had always been the management of the “urban environment.” He always had skills for urban terrorism, and that is what he dedicated himself to. “In 1983, Marulanda and Jacobo Arenas gave me the direction of the urban work,” says the now-Senator. He posed as a taxi driver, employee, merchant, salesman, and other occupations to do intelligence work and carry out his tasks as an “urban labor” manager.
Lozada says that every six months, he changed his life completely, his home, his name, his job.
“The undercover worker lives in a certain isolation, which requires very rigid self-discipline. Silence and observation are weapons to survive. You can never leave loose ends. You live by erasing the traces of what you are building,” says in interviews the man whose reputation I am supposedly damaging.
Lozada was a leader of the FARC’s Urban Commands, also known as RUAN (Antonio Nariño Urban Network). He was also the second leader of the bloody eastern bloc of the FARC. His first major urban coup as leader of the RUAN was the raid on the eighth police station at Kennedy in 1995. The urban FARC group attacked the station with rockets, causing the death of five uniformed personnel and one civilian.
According to military intelligence, Lozada was key to reorganizing the structure of the terrorist group in 2003, promoting the creation of the dreaded PC3 (Colombian Clandestine Communist Party), an arm of the FARC focused on infiltrating, training, and recruiting terrorists in urban areas, as well as, of course, carrying out acts of terror in the cities.
Regarding the legal proceedings against him and the arrest warrants for multiple terrorist acts, we can recall that the National Human Rights Unit of the Attorney General’s Office issued an arrest warrant for him for aggravated homicide for terrorist purposes, kidnapping for ransom, and rebellion for acts of March 17, 2000.
The 13th District Attorney’s Office of Caquetá also issued an arrest warrant for him for forced displacement, disappearance, aggravated homicide, and conspiracy to commit a crime on March 13, 2001.
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), he is responsible for the production and trafficking of cocaine by the FARC.
On January 25, 2002, a bicycle bomb exploded in a police station in the Fátima neighborhood of Bogotá, killing five people and injuring 14. The head of the urban groups blamed for the attack was Lozada.
On August 7, 2002, there was an attempt to assassinate President Álvaro Uribe Vélez with mortar grenades and rockets. Firecrackers were also set off in different parts of Bogotá. The authorities found a handmade rocket launching platform in the Santa Isabel neighborhood of Bogotá, aimed at the Palacio de Nariño. Several of them managed to reach the city center, where the inhabitants of the Cartucho (located four streets away from the place where the president was staying) bore the brunt of the explosion. The rocket that was closest to assassinating the president crashed into a cornice on the roof of the Casa de Nariño.
Official sources said that after the attacks, several raids were carried out, and 40 home-made mortars were discovered. The numerous attacks carried out that day left a total of 21 dead and 50 wounded. The attacks were attributed to the urban FARC groups led by the now Senator.
On December 13, 2002, a letter bomb arrived at the office of then-Senator Germán Vargas Lleras. When he opened the package, there was an explosion which caused injuries to his face and two fingers on his right hand. Lozada is also blamed for the second attack on the politician, in which six of his guards were injured.
Another of the attacks attributed to the FARC and its urban groups, led by the man who wants to take care of his “good name,” is the car bomb that was placed in the Escuela Superior de Guerra in 2006, where 23 people were injured. The bomb was programmed to explode at break time. Thanks to a divine Providence, the schedule was altered, and the usual break time was delayed. Thus, the lives of over 100 military members were saved. Also, the main target, the army commander, was saved from dying in the attack.
As Colonel Plazas Vega explains, several urban attacks carried out by the FARC, some of the bloodiest that Colombians remember, had to be led by or at least coordinated with the urban groups that Lozada managed. This is the case of the attack on the El Nogal Club, the Tequendama Hotel, as well as the attack on former Minister Fernando Londoño Hoyos.
And there are more concerns about Carlos Antonio Lozada besides the long list of terrorist attacks attributed to him or, in other words, to the urban groups he led. After the Havana agreement was signed, some brave women decided to tell the country that the guerrilla leaders, including the now-Senator who believes he has a good reputation, were recruiting minors, systematically raping them, and then forcing the women to have abortions.
So besides his “achievements” in the area of urban terrorism, we must at least add the complaints of forced recruitment, rape, and abortion filed against him by the Rosa Blanca corporation in the Congress of the Republic.
That there is no ruling against him for rape, the FARC leader claims, trying to force me to rectify what I have said about his “behavior.” It is true, there is no ruling, which does not mean that he is innocent, nor that we journalists should remain silent in the face of the terrifying allegations of recruitment and rape victims. The fact that justice has not ruled on this matter means, instead, sadly, that the Colombian judicial system has not done what it should have done.
And now that his crimes will go to the JEP (Special Justice for Peace), described by Timochenko as a court “created by the insurgents themselves,” there is little hope left for Colombians that he will pay for his crimes.
But, above all, Lozada ought to be aware that although he deludes himself that he has a “good name,” most Colombians remember him as one of the most bloodthirsty leaders of the FARC. And given the accusations made by victims’ associations such as the Rosa Blanca Corporation, it is hard for anyone with the slightest bit of decency support the man who led the urban FARC groups and turn their backs on women and men who were recruited when they were just kids.
What “good name” are you talking about?