The first time that a group of members of the former FARC spoke openly about the assassination of Álvaro Gómez Hurtado was in a camp called La Cachamera, a paradisiacal natural setting of humid jungles, forests and bushes, in Caguán. It was May 2000.
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The point was part of the Distension Zone, a demilitarized area of 42,000 square kilometers, which had entered into force in January 1999, by order of President Andrés Pastrana to advance a peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc- EP) with the intention of putting an end to the Colombian armed conflict.
With such an extension -conformed by the municipalities of La Uribe, Mesetas, La Macarena and Vista Hermosa in the department of Meta, and by San Vicente del Caguán in the department of Caquetá- Overnight, thousands of heavily armed guerrillas were seen, wearing new uniforms and the organization’s armbands.
That threat that intimidated Colombians from one moment to the next took over the television screens. While in public, all the members of the Secretariat held meetings with the government delegation, in smaller groups the base guerrillas met to “as the ladies say, advance notebook.
The expression is from a member of the Farc who spoke with EL TIEMPO and who prefers to keep his name in reserve. His identity, however, was confirmed by absolutely reliable sources in this newspaper who have thoroughly studied this guerrilla.
The man tells that he came from fighting in very distant points of the geography: the Sumapaz páramo, in the highlands of the Cundiboyacense highlands; the forests of Chocó, in the El Catatumbo bush, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and in Urabá, in Antioquia.
He sat down with former comrades, among them were some militants hardened in urban combat. “Javier Paz or Daniel Bejuco was in charge of the High School and a member of the Directorate of the Urban Front; ʻOscar ‘or’ Fernando Grillo ‘,’ Danilo Chagualo ‘and’ Cristobal ‘all members at that time of the Directorate of the Urban Front ”.
The military capacity of the Farc had taken a huge leap because just a few years ago it was the Antonio Nariño Urban Network and now it had escalated to the Antonio Nariño Urban Front. This operated in Bogotá, and obeyed Carlos Antonio Lozada whose real name is Julián Gallo Cubillos and who today holds the status of senator for the Alternative Revolutionary Force of the Common, a political party that emerged from the signing of the Havana peace accords.
In that conversation, the death of ‘Juan Carlos Urbano’, ‘Chayan’ or ‘el negro Mario’ was lamented; and ‘Roque’ or ‘Mono Chiquito’. All had died in what is known as the Mondoñedo massacre.
“It was a talk that took place spontaneously between colleagues who had not seen each other for years,” he says. It was like an oral diary of those days of bloody war.
The information of the man who prefers to remain anonymous coincides with another fact from the country’s violence pages.
Among them are two whom we knew as Mario and Roque, who killed Gómez Hurtado
On the weekend of September 6 and 7, 1996, a group of Dijín agents kidnapped students from the Jenner District University Alfonso Mora Moncaleano, Vladimir Zambrano Pinzón, Juan Carlos Palacios Gómez, and Arquímedes Moreno Moreno.
He took them to the Fute ranch, located in a place known as Alto de Mondoñedo, on the road that leads from Mosquera to Soacha and to La Mesa (in Cundinamarca), where they were tortured and later killed with a firearm. The bodies were cremated and dumped at the Mondoñedo landfill.
It was also learned that other policemen, around the same time, in Bogotá, assassinated the students Federico Quesada and Martín Alonso Valdivieso Barrera, from the same university. The six had been pointed out by a militiaman, assassinated years later, as members of the Antonio Nariño urban network, responsible for the attacks, in 1995, on the Kennedy Police Station, where three soldiers died.
Years later, agents José Albeiro Carrillo Montiel, José Ignacio Pérez Díaz and Carlos Ferlein Alfonso Pineda were sentenced, on January 31, 2003, each to 40 years. Captain Héctor Édisson Castro was sentenced to 40 years in December 2013.
According to his version, the members of that urban cell had not only attacked the police but were also involved in the deaths of Gómez Hurtado (November 2, 1995) and, in addition, of the former peace negotiator, political scientist and economist Jesús Antonio Bejarano (15 September 1999); and former general and former defense minister Fernando Landazábal Reyes (May 12, 1998).
“Among them there are two whom we knew as Mario and Roque, who killed Gómez Hurtado,” said the source who spoke to EL TIEMPO.
But why? What led, according to this thesis, the FARC to assassinate the former president of the National Constituent Assembly? “About Álvaro Gómez it was said there that it had been an old debt because of Marquetalia, that he was a class enemy that had had an impact on aggression and war.”
In Marulanda’s memory was the role of Gómez Hurtado, when at the beginning of the 1960s, in his capacity as senator, he requested the intervention of the military forces over the territories that he described as “independent republics”, which were not under the control of the State but of peasant organizations. After the bombings, they took up arms and founded the FARC.
Furthermore, according to the same source, the analysis made by Marulanda was to “take advantage of a tactical situation to turn it into a strategic fact: it put the oligarchy to discuss and enter into contradictions to bring out the struggles in the very bowels of power.”
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“Marulanda knew how to read the moment and without intending to, the FARC unbound what was after the National Front with all its hatred and political pettiness,” he argues.
And about Bejarano? “The Bejarano thing was cited as a tactical case, not as a relevant political event,” he says.
In the case of General Landazábal, the explanation he gives frames it as a natural fact of the armed confrontation and he better than anyone represented the other side.
He says that the issue stayed there and was not discussed again because the peace process exploded into a thousand shreds and the country entered a new and very tough war. President Álvaro Uribe Vélez came to power and fought them relentlessly until he weakened them to such an extent that he again forced them to sit at the table of talks.
Then came the government of Juan Manuel Santos with whom the peace agreement was negotiated.
But why is the subject only being discussed again until now? “I believe that at this moment they –the former members of the Secretariat- they were pressured by the “threats” from Piedad Córdoba and they wanted to get ahead in a hurry and they did not have the complete package and now they have to do the exercise of collecting to test ”.
But, then they do not have all the elements to corroborate that this version is true? The source answers yes and points to Carlos Antonio Lozada, FUAN military officer in Bogotá and today a congressman. “He must have the evidence, Carlos Antonio was and is tactical wise,” he says.
How do you value the moment in which the country is living? All these pages of horror that is now on the lips of all Colombians?
It is positive if it is possible to show that the peace process worked and that what came out of it as the JEP is useful for reconciliation and not for war
“It is positive if it is possible to show that the peace process worked and that what came out of it as the JEP is useful for reconciliation and not for war,” he says. “The idea is to help calm and not provide elements to continue to ‘sharpen the contradictions’ as Marulanda, Alfonso Cano, Jorge Briceño and the entire radical wing always wanted, that would be playing the game of the warmongers,” he argues. “The moment of truth has arrived,” he says.
It is a version that the authorities will now have to evaluate and contrast. The key, in conclusion, is Carlos Antonio Lozada.