‘Iván Márquez’, the top commander of the Second Marquetalia, a FARC dissidence that returned to the armed struggle after a peace agreementdied in Venezuela from serious injuries sustained in an attack in 2022, a military intelligence source and another close to the group said Thursday.
This is the strongest blow suffered by the dissidence of the former guerrilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) since they withdrew from the peace agreement signed in 2016, said one of the sources who asked not to be named.
“The information that is handled within the organization is that he died in a hospital in Caracas where he received medical attention after the serious injuries he suffered in an attack in Venezuela at the end of June 2022,” said a source close to the organization. Second Marquetalia.
Although most FARC members demobilized based on the peace pact that put an end to that guerrilla group’s participation in the nearly 60-year conflict that has left more than 450,000 dead, two factions rejected it, returned to the armed struggle and continue to participate in drug trafficking and illegal mining, according to security sources.
The attack against Luciano Marín Arango, better known as ‘Iván Márquez’, would have been led by Iván Mordisco, leader of the Central General Staff (EMC), the other dissidence of the FARC, whom he was facing for control of drug trafficking routes in the border between Colombia and Venezuela, as well as the cocaine production areas, according to security sources.
But the Segunda Marquetalia said days after the attack that Iván Márquez had survived an attack carried out by the Colombian military allied with the DEA and the CIA.
Colombian Defense Minister Iván Velásquez told reporters that military authorities were verifying the information on Márquez’s death.
Refuge in Venezuela
Marín, 68, for whom the United States offered a reward of up to 10 million dollars for information that would allow his location and capture, took refuge in Venezuela after he did not take office as a congressman in 2018, a position to which he was entitled based to the peace agreement.
At the end of August 2019, in a video in which he appeared armed and surrounded by other rebels, he announced the start of a new stage of armed struggle against the government, alleging non-compliance with the peace agreement.
Security sources assured that “Iván Márquez” fled and declared himself a dissident due to his imminent capture and alleged relationship with drug trafficking after the signing of the peace agreements denounced by his nephew Marlon Marín, who was captured by DEA agents in 2018 and transferred to the United States.
Alias ’Iván Márquez’, is the fifth leader of the FARC dissidents to be killed in Venezuelan territory in less than three years, according to security sources.
Previously, the deaths in Venezuela of Seuxis Paucias Hernández, alias ‘Jesús Santrich’; Henry Castellanos Garzón, alias ‘Romaña’; Hernán Darío Velásquez, alias ‘El Paisa’, who also belonged to Segunda Marquetalia, and Miguel Botache Santillana, better known as ‘Gentil Duarte’, a chief of the EMC, the other FARC dissident.
All died in armed or explosive attacks carried out by small commandos, according to intelligence sources.
Márquez, for whom the Colombian government was also offering a reward of about $700,000, participated in Cuba in peace negotiations between the government of former President Juan Manuel Santos and the former FARC guerrilla.
Márquez, a veteran and influential guerrilla, led a group made up of some 1,600 people, mostly fighters engaged in illegal mining and drug trafficking activities, according to security sources.
Colombia has accused the Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro in the past of protecting in its territory leaders of the FARC dissidents who have departed from a peace agreement and leaders of the National Liberation Army (ELN), charges that the nation’s president oil company always denied.
Diplomatic and commercial relations between Colombia and Venezuela have been restored and improved since 2022, after Gustavo Petro took office as the first left-wing president in the coffee-producing country.
Petro seeks to start a peace negotiation with Segunda Marquetalia, as well as with the EMC. However, some experts maintain that the government cannot establish a negotiation with the group led by Iván Márquez for having abandoned the peace process and that it could only initiate a process of submission to justice.