Biographical sketch of a heroic guerrilla fighter.
A glorious death triumphs over time and extends sublime existence forever — SIMÓN BOLÍVAR
30 airplanes and 27 helicopters, 7 tons of tritonal explosives and the latest military technology of the US South Command and the Israeli Mossad, the disproportional use of force and the terrorist violence of the regime, together, against one man in his quarter in the jungle, who wasn´t just a man; he was a nation.
What happened in the night of the 22nd of September in the Macarena jungle wasn´t a combat; it was a dirty assassination, a massacre executed at close range, without any risk for the terrorist State subordinated to Washington´s orders. Against commander Jorge Briceño, member of the FARC Secretariat, was concentrated all the firepower and all the hatred of a criminal, dominant ultra-right class, who has been covering the country with blood and poverty.
Jorge was a powerful telluric symbol, with the same rebelliousness and hope of the humble people of Colombia, educated by the school of mobile guerrilla warfare of the legendary Manuel Marulanda Vélez. He was an exceptionally humane person, and therefore he was loved by the people and by the guerrilla troops. In times of the distension area and the peace dialogues, when he appeared so now and then in a town called Macarena, a swarm of bare-footed, wretched and noisy kids followed him throughout the dusty streets, and he, joyful, let them taking off his beret and jumping into his heart, like in the song “Jojoy” of the singer and compositor Julián. He was a magnet with a hardship jacket on, dragging along people on his way, fusing together with their dreams. Peasants, workers, unemployed, mayors, priests, academicals, trade unionists, teachers, students, afro-Colombians, housewives, listened to the torrential magic of his words that referred to a dream called New Colombia, Great Nation and Socialism.
He was a tough man, indeed, but imprisoned by a great tenderness. Harsh with the enemy, loving with his people. In his campaign pack he always carried Che´s diary. He greedily absorbed the ideas of Guevara, and from this heroic guerrilla fighter he had learned to get harder, without ever losing his tenderness. He was a guerrilla fighter who had fallen in love with the intense passion of the heroes for freedom and justice.
He joined the FARC guerrilla in 1968. These were the ferocious times of repression and brutal exclusion of the oligarch two-party system called Frente Nacional, that pretended to criminalize the people´s right on political options. Grasping the communist banner, always together with Manuel and Jacobo, he was formed as a warrior in the ups and downs of the just war against oppression.
They called him “Mono” because of his blond hair and his fair aspect. “Jojoy” because of a pet phrase when he was a boy. That´s how the young “Mono Jojoy” strolled along the three Andean mountain ranges of the precarious Colombian geography, with his rifle and his politics on his shoulders.
His first victorious revolution was the one he liberated with himself. He was relentless with his human shortcomings, and bit by bit, folding them by sheer strength, he built the great pile of his political and military architecture, of a new human being. His passion for freedom and the fervor of dignity for everyone, which embraced his heart, was the most sonorous arpeggio of his human vigor.
Jorge´s figure keeps on growing incessantly in the enormous jungle of the Caguán, in its yellow-flowed harbors, until it reached the unusual dimension of a legend. He was a tireless constructor of Communist Party and popular militias, an agitator of the Patriotic Union as a political alternative, a promoter among the population of substituting the coca crops by rubber or cacao sowings. He was aware of the importance of the revolutionary propaganda and therefore he was the first one in installing an offset printer in the jungle. In Remolinos and Santo Domingo he is the man of the logistics, of the uniforms, the weapons, finances. He was a forger of leaders; he called the cadets graduated from the National School to learn from their new acquired knowledge and techniques. He never felt uneasy about people who knew more than he did; on the contrary, he received them with admiration and learned from them. He was an insatiable phagocyte of lights.
Afterwards, the warrior burst into the indomitable and ferocious Llanos, with the extension of half a country and a rich history of rebelliousness against the center of power. There, he wrote his name with golden letters, together with Marulanda and his comrades, as an outstanding military and political strategist, as a fighter in the frontlines and conducting the advance of the guerrilla hosts towards the capital. In reality, the power of Jorge, his subduing and captivating leadership, were founded on collective direction and the deep affection guerrilla fighters and people felt for him.
No insurgent chief of Our America had been attacked with so much fury. 50 intelligent bombs, made in USA, which demolished and razed his headquarter, weren´t enough to appease the oligarchic hatred. Once they verified the commander´s death, the government unleashed, from all flanks, an extremely vile media attack, with the fanciful purpose to annihilate his image and his dignifying example. It wasn´t just about killing the person, it was about killing the libertarian dream of the immense crowd of humble people who believe in the FARC-EP´s political libertarian project. Blood and fire, razed lands, State terrorism, have been the permanent practice of the regime to defend the interests of the multinationals, the stock exchange and the power of an unpatriotic oligarchy, kneeling before the gringos.
Katherine Ashton of the European Union didn´t pronounce a single word about the barbarity of the State; neither did the ones who are always condemning our modest means of resistance. We don´t need them to do so; the moral power of the FARC is indestructible. We know that they are representatives of the iniquity of the empires.
Commander Jorge embodied the deepest altruist feelings of the FARC, in the struggle and resistance of nations against State terrorism. As everybody knows, the terrorist States, like the Colombian one, always seek to project their own condition over the ones who are opposed to them. Therefore, president Santos, barking from New York, nearby his boss, desperately trying to discredit the struggle of nations for justice, distorts the reality of the internal conflict of Colombia, trying to satanize – in vain – the armed uprising and referring to Jorge as a symbol of terror and violence.
What else could we expect from such sinister people? Recently, when he was in charge of the Ministry of Defense and of the “false positives”, Juan Manuel Santos enjoyed himself with the corpses of the shot guerrilla fighters in Montes de María. Nowadays, the current chief of this ministry, Mister Rodrigo Rivera, feels sorrier about the death of the dog Sasha than about the dozens of dead and wounded soldiers in the Macarena battle field.
The treacherous “Sodoma”, name of the operation that cut short the lives of our people, is just the same Colombian State in his moral bankruptcy. The “den” of the real terrorist monster is the Nariño Palace, government´s seat in Bogotá. From there, they have planned the humanitarian disaster the country is being victim of. From this same cavern, the brains of the democratic security, praised by president Santos, ordered the massacres against the unprotected population, the extrajudicial executions (“false positives”), the mass graves, the massive detentions, the disappearances and forced displacements, and so many other repulsive crimes against humanity.
To the ones who today, from the government, drunk with triumphalism, want us to render, we reply with the same words commander Jorge Briceño wrote to General Padilla in January 2010, responding to a similar kind of demand:
“…You really don´t know us, Mister Padilla de León; honestly, without hate or resentments and with the respect all revolutionaries profess for their adversaries, I respond: No, thank you very much, General. In the FARC we don´t have spirits of betrayers; we are patriots and revolutionaries.
We have fought and we will continue doing so, with courage, devotion and sacrifice to defeat this rotten, oligarchic regime and construct another social order, or to make agreements that help to construct a nation in which there´s room for everybody.
We have never proclaimed the principle of war just because, or assumed this struggle as something personal, yet our proposals are to reach profound changes in the social structure of Colombia, that at last take into account the interests of the national majorities and the popular sectors and that lead to the dismantling of the current criminal, oligarchic, corrupt, excluding and unfair political regime, like our Bolivarian Platform for the New Colombia proclaims.
With the honesty that is according to our commitment with social change and the loyalty we owe our people, we assure you that we´re not going to desist after more than 40 years of struggle, or to accept a false peace. We won´t betray the dreams of justice of a Colombia that claims peace with social justice, or the memory of thousands of dead people, or the victims of the uncountable tragedies caused by this bloody war, declared by the oligarchy to the nation more than 50 years ago.
Colombia needs to find the roads that lead to the end of this war between brothers, paths of reconciliation which will take us to Peace Agreements; a reliable way to obtain the reconstruction of the nation and the reconciliation of the Colombians. We won´t achieve this with a false peace where an oligarchic minority keeps on monopolizing all the resources, while the big national majorities are being crushed by poverty, militarist terror, misery and moral degradation of an upper class, which is through and through corrupt.
A peace understood as rendition or surrender is fantasy of the oligarchy and would only be a treacherous crime against the people and their historical desire for social justice for everyone.
Peace agreements, yes, but the cardinal point is: with or without structural political and social changes?
More democracy or more authoritarian regimes, repression and humiliation of the empire?
We invite you to think about these serene, topical words full of common sense, which were part of a message sent by commander Manuel Marulanda Vélez to the members of the Military Forces:
“The future of Colombia – says Marulanda- cannot be an indefinite war, or the plundering of the nation´s resources; the shameful yielding of our sovereignty to the ferocity of the imperial policies of the government of the United States. We are waiting to sit down and talk seriously to resolve our discrepancies, through the civilized interchange of opinions towards the definitive solution of the political, economic and social causes that generated this internal conflict, for the welfare of the future generations of compatriots…”
According to some mercenary analysts, who presume to know it all about the conflict, the stroke in the Macarena “leaves the FARC without leaders and without possibilities to get over it”. The CIA agent Alfredo Rangel believes that the FARC are “orphans” and wounded morally, about to abandon the armed struggle…They are wrong. As usual, they seem to be walking with their eyes covered through the precipices of reality. They refuse to understand that we are a collective direction of political and military conduction on all levels of command. They don´t see, through the mist of a limited analysis, motivated by mere fantasies, the power of the cohesion which has always marked the Central High Command of the FARC and its Secretariat. Foreseeing that the revolutionary struggle is at all costs, the whole chain of command of the FARC work with substitutes in line, to fill up –whenever necessary- the vacancies produced by the confrontation or any other reason. Therefore, Commander Pastor Alape, after Jorge´s decease, will become a plain member of the Secretariat, while the “Block Commander Jorge Briceño” has had the opportunity to restructure itself, appointing a new substitute in line.
We aren´t inexperienced soldiers, who can simply be crushed in the uncertain course of a battle. Our war is for peace, for the New Colombia, the Great Nation and Socialism, taking the shape of a new power. The FARC guerrilla fighters are conscious and loyal to their cause, and they will always be avid for struggle and victories. As Jorge said, some days before he left us: “We are being part of the popular struggle and the people are invincible”.
The fall of the great guerrilla fighter revived in president Santos the delirium of the guerrilla´s end of the end, of the proximity of the insurgency´s defeat, which will never come, and which has been announced since 1964 to justify the militarist obsession of a part of the oligarchy, simply because they are afraid of a political solution which puts an end to their privileges. They don´t realize that when they close the doors to dialogue and political solution, they open the doors of revolution. It´s like Fidel said in his most recent reflection: Contrarily to what the Colombian government affirms, Commander Jorge´s assassination….will accelerate the revolutionary process in Colombia.
We say it without fuss, but with radicalism: if Santos wants to come and get us, let him come, but in person, without using common people, dressed up in a uniform, as cannon fodder. Santo´s arrogance and ultimatum tone come from the orders in English, which the guerrilla fighters hear when they screen the public force´s communications during the big military operations.
We recall at this moment of spirit the reflections of Julius Fucik close to the gallows: “When the struggle is about life of death;/ the loyal one resists;/ the indecisive one surrenders;/the coward betrays…,/ the bourgeois despairs,/ and the hero combats”.
Observing the shamefulness of some wanna-be journalists and gossip columnists of the big press, standing enraged in front of the guerrilla leader´s corps, howling their insults, it´s a moral duty to deplore the ethical meanness of the ones who pretend to induce the national opinion in favor of war and State terrorism.
This misinformation factory has been used to satanize the guerrilla and sanctify the government. They silence the voice of the people and only the experts of the CIA and the financial capital are allowed to speak, so that they conceal and justify the fetid crimes against humanity committed by the State.
Time and again and at a peak hour, during 15 minutes, the news showed the images of the devastating bombing with the clear purpose to legitimize institutional terrorism, bring about the applause for the criminals, receive the population´s support to the warlike policies of the State and standardize the country with a rightist, neoliberal point-of-view on the conflict.
The pilots and artillerymen of terrorism, who shot their weapons, guided by technology, are no heroes. They are coward instruments of a tyrannical and pro-Yankee power that wants to eternalize injustice on Colombian soil. They act against their own people to benefit a foreign potency. It was a sly attack, without any risk for them. It isn´t heroic to shoot in the dark and on several feet above the ground, when there is no equilibrium of combat means between the two contestant forces. The results on the ground were different: 30 military died, 70 were wounded.
Once the unfortunate news –for the humble ones of Colombia- came out, some greedy journalists-robots rushed into the Macarena town, to force the habitants to give an unfavorable opinion about the guerrilla or make them assent that the municipality had been liberated from their main executioner. They shamelessly referred to Jorge in this way, knowing that he had been the main benefactor of the Macarena. During decades, central power never wanted to construct the road which was necessary to have access to the peasant region. Jorge and his guerrilla men constructed it, they succeeded in communicating the Macarena with San Vicente del Caguán and Neiva. He also constructed the way that leads to Vistahermosa (Meta), to help the poor. He built bridges that later on would be bombed by the Air Force, when they had already been given to the communities. Jorge was in charge of the pavement of the neighborhoods in San Vicente del Caguán, the roads of the Llanos del Yarí were repaired, several aqueducts started working, health brigades were organized, school teachers were paid with taxes on alcoholic drinks…And the population also recalls with gratitude how trade was activated under guerrilla tutelage. This beautiful story, which shows the social concerns and the sense of solidarity of the Commander, cannot be concealed because it keeps on living in the hearts of a forgotten population that has only perceived the State´s presence through bombs and shrapnel.
In spite of being weakened by diabetes, Commander Jorge was able to restrain the advance of several mobile brigades of more than 15 thousand men during large months in the Macarena area. Startled by his overwhelming dynamics, by his unbreakable willpower and inspired on his deep admiration for Che, we addressed him the following words: “Jorge, our respects. Thanks for your example, for your inexhaustible capacity of working, in spite of your illness, and for teaching us how to combat the enemy. We are pleased about the fact that you surpassed your guerrilla archetype, Che, a long time ago. With your actions, it´s not about being like Che anymore, but about improving him. You really challenge yourself, brother”. To which he answered with his usual modesty: “It´s not a really that challenging, we are doing little considering the strategic plan we have to carry out. We are awakening a little giant who was asleep”.
The military dispatch of the Oriental Block during August is the following:
Armed encounters 166; dead soldiers 157; wounded soldiers 294; damaged helicopters 10; damaged warship 2; dead guerrilla fighters 11.
Now, the guerrilla fighters of the FARC have to be like Jorge, the most determined of Manuel´s warriors. That´s not an easy mission, but it is our duty. His words echo in the minds of the guerrilla fighters: “We were born to defeat, not to be defeated”.
Manuel Marulanda Vélez´ soldiers are invincible because their banner is the cause of the people, because their rifles are social justice, independence and freedom, combating for the New Nation, because they march towards victory with the demolishing potency of Marx and Bolívar´s ideas, with our strategic plan and the organization of the people.
We have to underline the following about the last days of Jorge´s fruitful insurgent life:
Elected by the Eighth Guerrilla Conference in 1993 as member of the FARC Secretariat, he starts his unstoppable rise towards the top of the heroes. With the conclusions of guerrilla meetings and conferences by hand, he continues the advance of the strategic plan, called Bolivarian Campaign for the New Colombia, by the side of his great master Commander Manuel. He readjusts plans and structures of command and he takes care of the functioning of the directions. He takes charge of the national school for commanders Hernando González Acosta and he care about the formation of new commanders. Organizer of the Clandestine Party, with deep communist convictions, he declared after his Party meetings: “I took a bath of communism, I fulfilled my duties and tasks as a militant”. He turns up radiant on the 29th of April 2000 when the Bolivarian Movement is launched in San Vicente, by the side of Manuel Marulanda and Alfonso Cano and his comrades of the High Command. He was joyful about the thirty thousand people gathered there; he had been an architect of the convocation of the event, of the reencountering between Bolívar and his people, and he had played an important role in the logistics of the mobilization. Some months later, we saw him in charge of the unilateral liberation of more than 300 war prisoners, captured during the military campaigns of the Oriental Block. “I respect you – Jorge told them- , because you surrendered in combat; be careful about what you´re going to say to the press, even if you have favorable opinions about us, because that could harm you”.
Necessarily we have to underline his permanent interest and respect for all the revolutionary movements of the world and for their processes. His passion was studying and become a better person, he read a lot; he liked to study about universal history as well as the history of his country. He used to sleep only 3 or 4 hours to dedicate the major part of his time to the organization and to the impulse of the revolutionary tasks. He was a sublime joker and knew his troops very well; he knew how to listen and to be self-critical. Intense in everything, in combat, in politics, attentive to any changes in the adversary´s way of operating and very efficient in the accomplishment of the movement´s responsibilities.
He was an honest man, straight, realistic, rigorous, fraternal, loyal to the revolutionary cause, a real comrade and friend, his dearest values without any doubt. We won´t allow this attributes of Commander Jorge´s personality to be manipulated by pseudo-journalists, who try to vex his memory.
At any rate, with Manuel, with Jacobo, with Jorge, with Raúl, with Iván Ríos and with all the fallen in combat, with the Liberator, the FARC guerrilla fighters will enter Bogotá on the raised fists of the people, riding on the insurrection, to install the new patriotic, Bolivarian government – values that inspire our struggle- on Bolívar Square. Just, a thousand times just: a universal and essential right to destruct the evil of oppression. The Colombian people have all the right of the world to live dignified, in peace, democracy, sovereignty and freedom. As Jorge said: “We´ll meet there”.
The slogan is to triumph! We cite the words of Bertold Brecht for all revolutionary people of the world:
“Who is still alive don’t say “never”/ firmness is not firm/ not everything will continue the same/ when the dominating will have spoken/ the dominat¬ed will speak/ Who dares to say “never”?/ Who does it depend on that oppres¬sion continues? On us/ Who does it depend on that it ends? On us, too/ Let the one who’s defeated get up!/ The one who’s lost, let him combat!/ Who could stop the one who knows his situation?/ Hence today´s losers will be the winners of tomorrow/ and never will become today”.
Glory for the heroes fallen in the resistance to the oppressor, it´s the last scream of Commander Jorge, that echoes in the depth of the guerrilla conscience. Glory for Raúl Reyes, glory for Iván Ríos, glory for the fallen in Sucumbíos, glory for all the combatants who gave their life for the cause of freedom, FOREVER.
Forever, Jorge, comrade, commander, friend. We will triumph.
Honor to Commander Jorge Briceño, hero of liberty, of the New Colombia, the Great Nation and Socialism.
Secretariat of the Central High Command of the FARC-EP