Opinion » Columnists

Urbano Rodrigues: Reyes, the hero that fascism assassinated

Pages: 123

Once again, the operation was postponed because the Army, on the eve of the predicted date, mobilized powerful forces, concentrating them in the regions of the Caquetá, the Goal and the Guaviare, where FARC is well implanted, and where, presumably, them parliamentarians might pass.

The objective of this initiative was double

If there was a direct hit, Uribe would hold FARC responsible for the deaths of the deputies. Simultaneously, you can spy on the planes, equipped with a technology that Washington only provides to Israel, while they were active.

The American satellites had transmitted information valuable to Bogota.

But FARC had satisfied, once again, and did not obstruct an immediate intensification of the pro-liberation campaign - of Ingrid Bettancourt.

This demand was, in the existent conditions, of impossible realization. A fragile, sick, woman could not walk under any circumstances during the day through savage regions, where the Colombian troops might intercept the command of those responsible for her.

They had, therefore, renewed FARC’s proposal for disarmament of Pradera and Florida, without which the humane exchange is impracticable.

The hero fallen in combat

The commander Raúl Reyes was, after Manuel Marulanda, the most outstanding member of the Secretariat and of the Central Great State of FARC.

Revolutionary from youth and at present 60 years old. He was first locked in trade unionist political struggles. They were an initiation for other battles. More than thirty years ago, Luís Edgar Devia made his way into the mountains, and joined FARC, becoming Raúl Reyes.

I knew him in May of 2001. I received an invitation to spend some weeks in his camp next to San Vicente del Caguán, capital then of the Demilitarized Zone. I accepted with pleasure.

Exceptional personality

Raúl Reyes was not impressive for his physical appearance. Low, lightly gray, he had the insignia of a gentle voice. But soon in the first night, after dinner, when we talked in his command post, an austere office, with a table and two chairs, installed under a tent hidden by the high tops of the Amazonian forest, I realized that that fragile guerrilla was an exceptional personality. We talked about the world in crisis before offering books and documentation to me as an indispensable prologue to approaching the fight of FARC.

There was the person in charge of the peace conversations that were elapsing those weeks in the village of Los Pozos, with the representatives of the government of president Andrés Pastrana.
Those were the times where Pastrana greeted Manuel Marulanda with Judas' hugs, days in which I saw ambassadors of countries of the European Union disputing the words and the smile of the legendary Tirofijo, supreme commander of FARC.

Long early mornings of conversation

I traveled with Reyes to La Macarena, where FARC had unilaterally freed 304 soldiers and policemen, prisoners of war, and had the privilege to hold with him, in the lukewarm dawns of the forest, long dialogues on his revolutionary organization, Latin America and the strategy of US imperialism, the great enemy of the humanity. And also on life.

I wrote proper articles in the camp for Avante! (weekly of the Portuguese Communist Party) on the FARC combatants and an interview was also published by the agency of PCP.

The atmosphere had something unreal, because the proper texts were transmitted by the secretary of Raúl for a recipient who later directed them to the newspaper. The Internet, paradoxically, could function as an instrument in the service of a revolutionary guerrilla.

For my honor and privilege, Raúl Reyes kept in contact with me. With frequency I received his messages, through commanders and friends, at times being thankful for articles that he published about the fight of FARC.

I remember that a short while before the capture in Ecuador of the commander Simón Trinidad – afterwards delivered by Uribe to the U.S.A. – he suggested that I come back to the Colombian jungle. The project was then to puncture because the Ecuadorian border became very insecure.

The Voice of FARC

Until his last day, Reyes was the voice of FARC in their dialogue with the world. But the guerrilla commander, assigned countless tasks, still found time to write articles, some on complex ideological questions, for the magazine Resistance, international organ of FARC, and to give interviews to newspapers in Europe, Latin America, and the US. In them, the knowledge and the firmness and the temperament of a hardline Communist had as a harmonious complement the culture of an intellectual humanist.

Uribe now celebrates the death of the combatant who, in the words of homage of Jaime Caicedo, the secretary-general of the Colombian Communist Party, was an exemplary revolutionary who "gave his life for the cause in which he believed."

The triumph of the neofascist president of Colombia that financed the paramilitaries when governor of Antioquia and has his name in the list of the narcotics traffickers elaborated by the Drug Enforcement Agency of U.S.A., but is today the best ally of Bush in the Continent does not have the power to make history.

Pages: 123

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