Venezuelan admirers hailed FARC founder Manuel Marulanda
Thursday on the anniversary of his death, while Colombian officials
boosted cash rewards for his top two successors.
Some 100 supporters marched past Venezuela’s presidential palace
carrying red flags and posters of Colombian revolutionary Manuel
Marulanda, whose real name was Pedro Antonio Marin.
state-funded television network Telesur, meanwhile, showed video of
what it said was Marulanda’s funeral. Rebels were shown carrying his
flag-draped coffin through a forest. Telesur did not say how it had
obtained the footage.
Marulanda co-founded the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the Western Hemisphere’s last
remaining rebel army. He died of a heart attack on March 26, 2008, at
age 78 and is believed to be buried in southern Colombia. Colombian
officials say they believe he died in rugged mountains near the town of
Uribe, cradle of the 45-year-old rebel movement.
Marulanda, long live the FARC!” Hector Rodriguez, a leader of the
Venezuelan Communist Youth, shouted in a fiery speech in downtown
Participant Santiago Palacios, a member of the
Venezuelan Communist Party, said President Hugo Chavez’s government had
no role in the march, which he said was organized by the regional
leftist group Coordinadora Continental Bolivariana and its Venezuelan
But Colombia’s government, which has used billions of
dollars in U.S. aid to batter the guerrillas, says documents found in
the laptop computer of a rebel leader killed last year indicate that
the CCB was formed by the FARC — a charge that CCB leaders deny.
documents allegedly found in the laptop suggest that Chavez sought to
fund the FARC, and Colombian officials say Venezuela continues to
provide rebels refuge. Chavez calls both claims bogus.
Thursday, Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos increased
rewards for information leading to the capture of the FARC’s top two
commanders, Alfonso Cano and Jorge Briceno, to 7 million pesos ($2.9
million) each, from 5 million pesos.