Caribbean Bloc of the FARC-EP

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The Caribbean Bloc of the FARC-EP is a medium-sized FARC-EP bloc which operates in the Northern areas of Colombia and along the Caribbean coast, with routes and access to the coast being strategically important, and is thus sometimes referred to as the Northern Bloc. At the end of the 1990s the group had much control over the rural areas connecting the urban centers of the Caribbean Region, but has since been forced to retreat into the more inhospitable Andes. The group's leaders have been held responsible for numerous kidnappings and killings along the entire Caribbean coast, including the urban centers Cartagena, Barranquilla, Valledupar and Santa Marta. This bloc was also the center of the high-profile kidnapping of Fernando Araújo, who recovered his freedom during an Colombian National Army offensive in early 2007.

The specific divisions of the group are arguable. Because of the current conflict existing in the country, much of the information recovered is conflicting and should not be taken as absolutely reliable. Some of the believed divisions or "fronts", as they are commonly call them, are shown below. It is worth noting that many of these fronts sometimes work together towards a certain mission, while others are further divided into "columns" and "companies" with a smaller number of members. For more general information see FARC-EP Chain of Command.

Commanders[edit]

Alias Name Note
Bertulfo Álvarez Emilio Cabrera Díaz[1]
Martín Caballero Gustavo Rueda Díaz[2] Killed in 2007.[3]
Simón Trinidad Ricardo Palmera Pineda Arrested and extradited in 2004.[4]

19th Front[edit]

Also known as the José Prudencio Padilla Front, it is composed by up to 200 combatants and operates mostly in the Magdalena Department. this front hasn't been active in recent years.

Alias Name Note
Solís Almeida Abelardo Caicedo Colorado[5]
Felipe Arango Killed in 2007.[6]
  • Includes the Marcos Sánchez Castellón Mobile Column.

35th Front[edit]

Also known as the Benkos Bioho Front, it is composed by up to 220 combatants and operates mostly in the Sucre Department.

Alias Name Note
"Jader" Miguel Gaviria Fontalvo Arrested in 2008.[7]
Dúber Rubén Darío Pérez Contreras Killed in 2008.[8]
Oswaldo Guillermo Róquemes Díaz Killed in 2007.[9]
"El Pollo Isrra" Víctor Antonio Lopera Úsuga Killed in 2008.[10]
"Freddy", "Mocho", "Chiqui" César David Villalobos Cadena Arrested in May 2010.

37th Front[edit]

This front is considered by many to be the most dangerous faction of the Caribbean Bloc. It is composed by up to 250 combatants and operates mostly in the Bolívar Department. The 37th Front's historically strong presence in northern Colombia, once controlling large amounts of land. Military pressure in the last years forced the unit to retreat deeper south while their numbers dwindled. The front is announced dismantled by the Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos on June 2012.[11] But in September 2012, 6 guerilleros including the front leader, were killed while four other were arrested.[12]

Alias Name Note
Martín Caballero Gustavo Rueda Díaz[13] Killed in 2007.[14]
"Libardo" or "Chamo" José Alberto Díaz Meza Handed himself to the Colombian army in September 24, 2011[15]
"Silvio" or "El Frances." Luis Enrique Benitez Cañola Commander of the front, killed on June 2012.[16]
  • Includes the Cacique Yurbaco Column.

41st Front[edit]

Also known as the Cacique Upar Front, this front is composed by up to 180 combatants and operates mostly in the Cesar Department.

Alias Name Note
Gonzalo First commander[17]
Willington, Caraquemada Carlos Julio Vargas Medina[18]

59th Front[edit]

This front is composed by up to 200 combatants and operates mostly in the Guajira Department and Cesar Department.

Alias Name Note
Aldemar Altamiranda Gilberto de Jesús Giraldo Davis[19]
El Indio Higuen Enrique Martínez Arias Probably killed in 2007[20]
Pedro Iguarán Aldo Manuel Moscote May have assumed Rodrigo Granda´s position after his arrest.[21]

José Antequera Urban Front[edit]

This urban network is directly composed by 30 combatants, although its network is suspected to include a much larger number of members. It is considered FARC's greatest influence in the coastal city Barranquilla. Its suspected leader was arrested in 2006.

Alias Name Note
Juancho, JJ Juan José Domínguez Vargas Arrested in 2006.[22]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Fuerza Aérea Colombiana. "Ministry of defense present rewards campaign" April 4, 2006. Available online. Accessed August 8, 2007.
  2. ^ Caracol Radio. "Capturan a una hija del guerrillero Martín Caballero" May 24, 2007. Available online. Accessed August 8, 2007.
  3. ^ El Tiempo. "'Martín Caballero', jefe del Frente 37 de las Farc, murió en combate" October 25, 2007. Available online. Accessed October 25, 2007.
  4. ^ Fuera Aérea Colombiana. " Inician juicio a ‘Simón Trinidad’" October 9, 2006. Available online. Accessed August 8, 2007.
  5. ^ Fuerza Aérea Colombiana. "Ministry of defense present rewards campaign" April 4, 2006. Available online. Accessed August 8, 2007.
  6. ^ Ejército Nacional de Colombia. "Palabras del Ministro De Defensa Nacional, Juan Manuel Santos, en la ceremonia de ascenso de oficiales superiores de las Fuerzas Militares" December 6, 2007. Available online. Accessed December 6, 2007.
  7. ^ http://colombiareports.com/2008/05/23/two-farc-leaders-arrested-in-colombia/
  8. ^ El Tiempo. "Sucesor de 'Martín Caballero' en las Farc murió en combate" February 11, 2008. Available online. Accessed February 12, 2008.
  9. ^ El Tiempo. "13 golpes a mandos medios de Farc" August 6, 2007. Available online. Accessed August 8, 2007.
  10. ^ (Spanish) El Tiempo: Abatido en combate alias 'El Pollo Isra', segundo cabecilla del frente 35 de las Farc
  11. ^ "FARC's 37th Front dismantled: Santos - Colombia News - Colombia Reports". Colombia News - Colombia Reports. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "FARC ringleader killed in army strike". Colombia News - Colombia Reports. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  13. ^ Fuerza Aérea Colombiana. "Capturado guerrillero hijo del secuestrador del Canciller Araújo" May 24, 2007. Available online. Accessed August 8, 2007.
  14. ^ El Tiempo. "'Martín Caballero', jefe del Frente 37 de las Farc, murió en combate" October 25, 2007. Available online. Accessed October 25, 2007.
  15. ^ Ejército de Colombia: "Se entrega a las tropas segundo cabecilla de la cuadrilla 37 de las Farc" September 24, 2011. [1]. Accessed September 24, 2011.
  16. ^ "FARC's 37th Front dismantled: Santos - Colombia News - Colombia Reports". Colombia News - Colombia Reports. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "El Pas Vallenato, Noticias de Colombia, Noticias de Valledupar". Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  18. ^ Fuerza Aérea Colombiana. "Capturan a menor integrante de las Farc" July 13, 2006. Available online. Accessed August 8, 2007.
  19. ^ El País Vallenato. "Supuesto asesino de la ‘Cacica’ habría muerto en enfrentamiento interno entre guerrilleros" May 8, 2007. Available online. Accessed August 8, 2007.
  20. ^ El País Vallenato. "Supuesto asesino de la ‘Cacica’ habría muerto en enfrentamiento interno entre guerrilleros" May 8, 2007. Available online. Accessed August 8, 2007.
  21. ^ Gentiuno. "Artillería del Oficio" May 25, 2005. Available online. Accessed August 8, 2007.
  22. ^ Fuerza Aérea Colombiana. "Policía capturó a cabecilla de las Farc" July 24, 2006. Available online. Accessed August 8, 2007.