|Extra! Extra! Read all about it! A newspaper vendor displays today's headlines trumpeting Can0's death.|
Any reasonable observer can see that the guerrillas' backs are against the wall, they're no longer a threat to the Colombian state, their political relevance is gone and all they can possibly accomplish from Colombia's jungles and mountains is causing more suffering for Colombia's people and compel the government to take money from schools and hospitals and spend it on weapons.
But the FARC's internal decisions are another matter. Many of the group's leaders appear to be still driven by a fossilized ideology about armed struggle and class warfare. With the exception of one recent statement by Cano, the FARC have shown little interest in engaging in Colombian politics - even tho last week's election of one-time M-19 guerrilla Gustavo Petro as Bogotá's mayor showed once again that today the country's democracy system has room for the left.
|But maybe not the way he intended: |
'Your death contributes to a New Colombia'
says graffiti on the National University campus.
|On the National University campus in Bogota, a Portrait of Camilo Torres, a Catholic priest who in 1966 joined the ELN guerrillas and was killed in his first battle. Cano studied and became radicalized at the National University.|
Today, Pres. Juan Manuel Santos congratulated the military for having killed Cano. Santos also predicted that the FARC's leadership would collapse "like a house of cards." He also said that Cano "could have made peace" with the government. Yet, neither Santos nor Canos showed much disposition towards dialogue. And, just a few years, ago Colombia's military killed the FARC's 'foreign minister' Raul Reyes in another bombing in Ecuador, eliminating a possibility for dialogue. Despite the FARC's many setbacks, defeating amy guerrilla force is very difficult, particularly in a mountainous country where the insurgents have a huge income from drug trafficking. For his part, Santos has earned lots of political support by killing FARC leaders, suggesting that he might see more personal benefits in fighting than talking.
Cano is remembered for the bombing of Los Nogales, a luxury club in Bogotá, and the kidnapping and killing of Cali's city councilmen. But the guerrillas' greatest victims are undoubtedly the innumerable anonymous peasants who have been robbed, driven from their homes and murdered.
If the FARC's next leader turns out to be even more intransient than Cano, Colombia could be in for more decades of senseless violence, that would be the greatest tragedy of all.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours