HomeNewsEx-FARC Expand into Northern Colombia

A leader of what was once Colombia's largest guerrilla organization has announced the revival of one of its most formidable blocs in northern Colombia -- a region with a competitive criminal landscape.

In a video published on YouTube on March 9, Seuxis Pausias Hernández, alias “Jesús Santrich,” one of the leaders of the so-called Segunda Marquetalia -- the name the former rebels have given their new insurgency -- announced the reactivation of its operations.

In practice, it means the revival of the Caribbean Bloc, which was demobilized following the 2016 peace agreement between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia - FARC) and the Colombian government.

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profile

Santrich said this bloc will be made up of former 19th, 41st and 59th Fronts, which will be located “far and wide across Colombia’s Caribbean region.”

The bloc will operate in the departments of Magdalena, Cesar, Atlántico, Córdoba, Sucre and Bolívar, with a special focus on what are known as the Montes de María region, a strategic mountainous corridor. It will also have a presence in the northern part of Antioquia and part of the border with Venezuela.

Santrich also called on other groups led by Miguel Botache Santillana, alias “Gentil Duarte,” to act in “coordination" with his group, and he gave a nod to Colombia's other insurgency, the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional - ELN).

InSight Crime Analysis

Efforts to revive the Caribbean Bloc are not a sure thing. The Segunda Marquetalia will have to be strategic because the region is a mix of old and new criminal organizations.

However, the Segunda Marquetalia has some advantages. Two of its leaders, Santrich and Luciano Marín, alias “Iván Márquez,” led fronts in this region during while the FARC was still the FARC. Márquez was the head of the Caribbean Bloc. Both will likely be able to recruit members in these areas, in part because of their history with the guerrillas. Additionally, they know the territory.

SEE ALSO: US Offers Eye-Catching Rewards for Capture of Ex-FARC Mafia Leaders

On the other hand, there are the Urabeños, the country's most formidable criminal organization. The Urabeños have been in the Montes de María, the strategic corridor that lies between the departments of Sucre and Bolívar, since February 2020, which they use to traffic drugs.

Montes de María also has historic value. The FARC expanded there in the early 1990s, and it was the site of some of the bloodiest fighting of that period of the war. This could be why Santrich gave a shout-out to other criminal and insurgent groups connected to Gentil Duarte and the ELN.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 29 APR 2013

A leader of one of Italy's most powerful mafias has been arrested in Colombia's second-largest city, Medellin, indicating the ongoing…

COLOMBIA / 31 JUL 2018

Colombia's former President Álvaro Uribe is facing an uncertain future after announcing his resignation from the Senate. Now his lawyers are…

COLOMBIA / 15 JUL 2015

President Nicolas Maduro announced the creation of a new special forces unit meant to fight Colombian neo-paramilitary groups operating inside…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.