Colombian army commander General Oscar Gonzalez announced the creation of a new aviation division of the army, due to the growing need for airplanes in military operations.
Gonzalez, who will leave his post with the change of government on August 7, made the announcement in an interview with El Tiempo. This was the first time he has spoken to the press in his 22 months as army commander.
The commander said that increased military control over territory has lead to a greater need to provide transport for troops. He said that the only other countries in the hemisphere with an aviation division of their army were the U.S. and Brazil.
In the final days of the eight year administration of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, a government characterized by its fierce stance against the FARC, Gonzalez described the guerrilla organization as “in an irreversible process of deterioration. Without leadership, control or communications.”
Gonzalez would not comment on suggestions that the armed forces may be close to closing in on FARC leader “Alfonso Cano,” saying that “in these last 22 months army command has only commented on results and I would never speculate in relation to that.”
The interview with Gonzalez follows Uribe’s pledge to hit the FARC as hard as possible before he leaves office on August 7.