According to the president’s website, “‘Operation Odysseus‘ was carried out with several intelligence sources and help from persons inside the FARC.”
At his second press conference within twelve hours, the president said the operation, a lengthy mission which culminated in the shooting of the rebel leader on Friday, was “very well planned and flawlessly executed.”
During a visit to Popayan, the capital of the Cauca department where the raid took place, Santos congratulated the military commanders and men who carried out the operation, calling them “heroes of the homeland” – but warned against premature celebrations. The president told reporters: “This is not a time for triumphalism, it is a time to persevere (…) We will not lower our guard and we will redouble our efforts to achieve peace.”
Military operations against FARC will continue in the Cauca region, it was revealed following a meeting between army commanders and Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon. The minister traveled to Popayan Saturday to join the president and meet military leaders who led the operation.
Santos said he had not considered what should be done with the body of ‘Cano’, which remains at a coroner’s office in Popayan. He called on FARC members to lay down their arms following the death of their leader: ” The alternative is prison or a grave … What ‘Cano’ shows is that there is no corner of the country that the security forces can’t reach. This is a warning that no member of the FARC will be safe in any corner of our territory.”
The death of Cano also sent a message of optimism to the Colombian people, according to the president. The killing of the FARC’s top leader was “a huge boost for our country’s psychology,” he said.