There’s good news from Colombia. The government announced on Wednesday morning that the FARC’s senior military commander, Mono Jojoy, was killed during an operation that started Monday against a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) stronghold in the Macarena region. The operation involved four branches of the military, 30 planes, and 27 helicopters.
Jojoy, also known as Jorge Briceno but whose name was Víctor Julio Suárez Rojas, had a price on his head of $5 million and had evaded justice for a decade. He had been indicted in the U.S. for the murder of three U.S. citizens, drug trafficking, and terrorist activities. Jojoy was the military mastermind of the organization, in charge of the FARC’s strongest division. He entered the FARC when he was 12 years old and had close links to the drug trafficking organizations funding the terrorists.
Just a day or two earlier, the FARC had refused to give up violence in advance of the peace talks that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos had proposed. Santos, who was minister of national defense from 2006 to 2009, had demanded that the FARC end all hostilities and release all hostages prior to the talks.
During Santos’ tenure as minister of defense, the Colombian government killed FARC secretariat member Raul Reyes in an air raid on a FARC camp inside Ecuadorian borders and rescued many high-profile hostages such as Ingrid Betancourt and Fernando Araújo Perdomo, as well as Americans Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell.
After Santos was inaugurated, the proposal for peace talks was made, growing out of the Colombian government’s peace and reconciliation movement. However, the FARC might have misinterpreted it as a possible sign of weakness and upped the violence. This month, over 40 Colombian police and military have been killed in attacks by the FARC.