“Without a doubt this has become a objective for us,” said Army chief General Mario Montoya. “It will be important for us to carry out identification of this body.”A peasant himself, Marulanda founded the FARC in 1964 as a Marxist-inspired ragtag army that grew to become a powerful subversive force with more than 17,000 fighters controlling large swaths of Colombia.Under Uribe’s government, the rebels have been steadily weakened and driven back to remoter parts of the country and violence has dropped sharply. But the rebels are still a capable force in areas where state presence is weak.A FARC commander on Sunday acknowledged Marulanda died after a heart attack. But military officials do not dismiss the possibility he was wounded in bombardments around that time on the southern jungles where he was believed to be hiding.The United States and European Union label the FARC a cocaine-trafficking terrorist group. But the rebels are still holding hundreds of hostages kept for years in jungle camps, including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans.
The future of Colombia Reports is under threat. The country's largest independent news website needs your help. Please become our patron.