“Pablo Catatumbo,” one of the most prominent leaders of rebel group FARC, was picked up in the southwest of Colombia Saturday to join fellow-guerrilla leaders who are in Cuba meeting with the government to negotiate peace, according to local and international media.
The commander of the FARC’s feared Western Bloc reportedly was picked up in the southwestern town of Palmira early Saturday morning and then taken to Cali in an apparent Red Cross helicopter from where is expected to travel to the Cuban capital of Havana.
PROFILE: Pablo Catatumbo
According to local media, at least five more people boarded the helicopter to Cali. There have been no announcement on whether these persons were guerrillas or members of a humanitarian organization.
Neither the government nor the FARC have either confirmed or denied Catatumbo’s trip.
To allow the safe arrival of the rebel leaders in Palmira, the army had temporarily suspended military operations in the south of the Cauca department and in the north of the Valle department, military intelligence sources told Caracol Radio.
Catatumbo, a member of the Secretariat — the FARC’s top organizational body, will join the rebel delegation in Cuba in the coming days, local media reported.
With the arrival of Catatumbo, the FARC delegation now contains three of the rebel group’s seven-man secretariat. According to Caracol Radio, there is a possibility that “Joaquin Gomez,” also a member of the top body and commander of the Southern Bloc will join the delegation too.
The FARC and the government have agreed to a five-point agenda leading to an agreement that should end the country’s almost half-a-century conflict. The warring parties have been officially negotiating in Cuba since November last year.
- “Pablo Catatumbo” viaja a Cuba (Caracol Radio)
- Pablo Catatumbo, miembro del Secretariado de las Farc, llegaría hoy a Cuba (El Pais)