“The explosives would have been used by the FARC‘s 21st front and Cajamarca company against President Alvaro Uribe … in retaliation for military operations in that area against Guillermo Leon Saenz Vargas, alias ‘Alfonso Cano,’ the DAS state security police said in a statement.The DAS cited intelligence information and said the driver of the taxi had been detained. It said the bomb would have been detonated by remote control, but gave few other details.Uribe, a staunch U.S. ally popular at home for his tough stance against the FARC, has survived rebel attacks before, once when guerrillas fired mortars at the presidential palace in Bogota when Uribe was sworn in for his first term in 2002.Cano was appointed head of the FARC’s seven-member secretariat last month when the rebel group announced its founder and top commander, Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda, had died after more than 40 years fighting the state.The new commander is seen by analysts as more politically inclined and may be more open to talks with the government. But some experts believe he could face pressure from the military wing and may struggle to keep the FARC united.Violence has ebbed as Uribe has sent troops to retake areas once under the sway of the FARC or right-wing paramilitaries who later surrendered under a peace deal with his government.Major bombings are rare in large cities now as the FARC has been driven back to more remote areas. At its peak, the rebels had 17,000 fighters, attacked urban areas and controlled swaths of the country. Weakened by military setbacks and desertions, the FARC now has about 9,000 combatants.
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