For several weeks, about 500 soldiers were deployed in the department of Caqueta to try to locate Nestor Vera.
The Colombian government announced the death of the main leader of the dissident ex-guerrilla FARC on Friday, July 15. Nestor Vera, aka “Ivan Mordiscowas killed by the military a week ago, along with nine other rebels in the southwest of the country. The Minister of Defense welcomed the “final thrustbrought to this armed group. “This operation allowed the neutralization of nine individuals on this first front of the FARC’s dissidence and the neutralization of the one nicknamed Ivan Mordiscosaid Diego Molano. “The FARC’s Last Great Leader Has Fallen And It’s A Deadly Blow To Dissidencethe minister added.
Informants collaborated with the military
For several weeks, about 500 soldiers had been deployed in the department of Caqueta to try to locate Nestor Vera, the commander of the armed forces, General Luis Fernando Navarro, said. On July 8, the army launched “a strategic operation with air supporthe added. Ten rebels were killed, including Nestor Vera and four of his relatives, including his partner and two other women, he said. Police presented a photo of a green beret decorated with a red star and the symbol of hammer and sickle, found at the site of the operation and believed to belong to the rebel leader.
“The structure of the nickname “Ivan Mordisco” represented one of the greatest threats to Colombia and was destroyed by the heroes of our army“, welcomed the President Ivan Duque.
Nestor Vera, whose age authorities did not specify, had recently taken command of the dissent after the alleged death of another rebel leader, Gentil Duarte. According to the defense minister, he had been fighting in the insurgency for 35 years. The Colombian government is offering a $700,000 reward for any information leading to his whereabouts. Informants cooperated with the military and received the promised reward, said Police Director General Jorge Luis Vargas.
In July 2016, four months before the signing of the landmark peace agreement that ended nearly 60 years of conflict, Nestor Vera became the first FARC leader to leave the peace process with other rebels. He then began recruiting new fighters to take control of forested areas in southeastern Colombia, the world’s largest exporter of cocaine. The army accused the rebel leader of organizing the shipment of drugs to Venezuela and Brazil.
Authorities also accuse him of ordering dozens of attacks on security forces, the forced displacement of populations and the killing of social leaders, and kidnapping a UN official for two months in 2017. At the end of May, the government announced the “presumed deadby Gentil Duarte, whose real name is Miguel Botache Santillana, one of the main dissident leaders of the former guerrilla fighters, who was murdered in Venezuela in early May.
No more FARC leaders in Colombia
According to the government, Nestor Vera was engaged in a bitter battle for control of drug trafficking routes with another breakaway faction led by Ivan Marquez who signed the peace deal before taking up arms again in 2019. Bogota claims that ‘Ivan Marquez was recently the victim of an attack in Venezuela, where he was supposed to be hospitalized. Caracas is callingspeculations“.”Today there are none of the leaders, great commanders that the FARC had in Colombia (…) It is a fundamental blow to their project of reconstructionadded Minister Molano.
Without a unified command, the FARC’s dissident groups have about 5,200 men in different regions of the country, according to the NGO Indepaz, and finance themselves through drug trafficking and clandestine mines. The majority of these men (85%) are new recruits who, according to the same source, have never been part of the FARC.