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Colombia: First Reactions to the Death of FARC Leader ‘Mono Jojoy’

Early on Thursday September 23, Colombians woke up with the news: the day before, 30 airplanes and 27 helicopters of the Colombian Air Force raided a camp where Víctor Julio Suárez, better known as Jorge Briceño or Mono Jojoy, one of the top leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), was hiding with dozens of guerrillas near La Macarena, Meta. Suárez, 57, was killed in the so-called “Operation Sodom”, as president Juan Manuel Santos confirmed [es] from New York, where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly. Five members of the State security forces were injured and a female police dog was killed [es].

Other top guerrilla members might have been caught in the 300 square-meter camp —which reportedly [es] included [es] an underground bunker— and the Colombian Armed Forces (mostly members of the Colombian Army and the Colombian National Police which landed after the combats ended) are identifying them as this post is being written. On Thursday afternoon unofficial sources claimed that FARC leader Henry Castellanos, Romaña, had also been killed [es] in the operation

Mono Jojoy, who was tipped off by an informant, was considered the leader of the hard-line military wing of the FARC and was the commander of its Eastern Bloc. Regarded as “one of the most blood-thirsty” guerrillas [es], he had 62 arrest warrants against him, had been sentenced 5 times, and the United States had asked for his extradition for drug-trafficking related charges, offering a reward for his capture.

A controversy arose when El Tiempo, the daily newspaper with the highest circulation in the country (and partially owned by President Juan Manuel Santos’ family), posted a series of tweets regarding the news:

@eltiempocom

Vigilantes de parqueadero en Corferias: ‘Hay que pedir la tarde libre para celebrar la muerte de Jojoy’

Corferias parking lot guards: ‘We have to ask for the afternoon off to celebrate Jojoy's death’

@eltiempocom

¿Cómo están celebrando en sus oficinas o donde se encuentren la muerte de Jojoy?

How are you celebrating Jojoy's death at your workplaces or wherever you are?

@eltiempocom

Para los ofendidos por la pregunta de celebración, disculpas. Mejor pregunta es: ¿Cómo reaccionan por la muerte de Jojoy?

For those offended with the celebration question, our apologies. Better way to ask: What is your reaction to Jojoy's death?

Twitter users immediately reacted to these tweets. Miguel Olaya (@juglardelzipa) said:

por ahora no nos han dado el día libre en la universidad de los andes. @eltiempocom debería denunciarlos por no ser patriotas.

So far we have not gotten the day off at the University of Los Andes. @eltiempocom should denounce them for not being patriots.

User @PAPerezA criticized the newspaper:

Que ignorancia y amarillismo!! Salvajes!! […]

What ignorance and sensationalism!! Savages!!

Agnes Dantés (@Agnes_Dantes) joked:

Ayy esos de @eltiempocom son muy jocosos. Pero bueh… bien por ellos que no nos engañan con falsa imparcialidad y profesionalismo

ooooh those fellas from @eltiempocom are so funny. But well… good for them for not deceiving us with fake impartiality and professionalism

With irony, Clo Calao (@cloquis) wrote:

Hay unos desplazados al frente de mi casa pidiendo limosna, les voy a preguntar a ellos como celebran la muerte de #jojoy #eltiempostyle

There are some displaced people in front of my house begging for money, I'm gonna ask them how they celebrate #Jojoy's death #eltiempostyle

Adriana (@Adridice) commented on the apology tweeted by El Tiempo:

las disculpas del @eltiempocom dejan mucho que desear “a los que se sientan ofendidos” que amarillismo, están peor que el espacio

the @eltiempocom apologies are so lame, “those offended”, pure sensationalism, they're worse than El Espacio [a sensationalist national daily]

Others joked about the name of the operation, which according to Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera was chosen [es] because “the core of the evil was there. And we needed help from heaven.” Orlando (@DanielitoBang) said:

Alejandro Ordóñez abrirá investigación contra Rodrigo Rivera y la cúpula militar por usar el aberrante nombre de Sodoma en esta operación.

[Inspector General] Alejandro Ordóñez will investigate Rodrigo Rivera and the military leadership for using the deviant name of ‘Sodom’ for this operation.

Ramírez Jaramillo (@egolaxista):

La película de la Operación Sodoma será clasificada R, porque su nombre es sugestivo

The movie about Operation Sodom will be rated R, because its name is suggestive

Jokingly, Miguel Olaya (@juglardelzipa) wrote:

en el ministerio de defensa organizan focus groups para decidir el nombre de las operaciones.

At the Defense Ministry focus groups are organized to decide the names of the operations

Alvaro Sáenz (@AlvarettoS):

:o que el mono jojoy murió de sodomía? #toomuchinformation

:o the mono jojoy died of sodomy? #toomuchinformation

Other Twitter reactions reflect current issues in Colombian politics. Manuel Carreño (@Popcultura) directed his message to those who oppose the current and former government:

Amigo antiuribista: alegrarte por esta noticia no te vuelve de derecha: solo demuestra que te alegras por la muerte de cafres como ese.

Anti-uribista friend: feeling joy for this news doesn't make you a right-winger: it just shows that you're happy for the death of bastards like that.

But Juan C. Rodríguez (@JCRodriguezMD) does not see the outcome of this operation as a sign that the government is successful:

El éxito de un gobierno no se mide por número de bajas, sino por el bienestar de su población. En eso si seguiremos muy mal.

The success of an administration is not measured by the number of enemy casualties, but by the welfare of its population. On that [issue], we'll go on doing badly.

User @Vulturno said:

Sin duda es el logro más grande de las FFMM, con todo y que les tocó matarlo de lejos y con sevicia

There's no doubt it's the biggest accomplishment by the Military Forces, it doesn't matter if they had to kill him from afar and with barbarity

Daniel Arango (@stultaviro) described what the success of this operation means to some Colombians:

Qué buena bofetada a los que andaban anunciando y celebrando el fracaso de la Seguridad Democrática.

What a good slap in the face for those who were announcing and celebrating the failure of the Democratic Security

In his tweet, Alejandro Gaviria (@agaviriau) refers to the idea of justice:

No es la muerte lo que alegra a la mayoría de la gente: es la idea o la sensación de justicia.

It's not [his] death which makes most people happy: it is the idea or the feeling of justice

But Orlando (@DanielitoBang) thinks that justice was not completely served:

Qué rabia que mueran tipejos como ese. Se siente cierta sensación de justicia, pero el miserable en realidad murió impune.

I'm angry that stupid fellas like him die. You feel some kind of justice, but the bastard actually died unpunished

“El Chiflamicas” (@elchiflamicas) wrote:

Si no mataban al Mono Jojoy se les hubiera escapado por algún aeropuerto.

If they hadn't killed Mono Jojoy he would have escaped through some airport.

Alieth Acosta (@_InTheMood) criticized the pressure to show patriotism:

Si no pongo una bandera de Colombia en mi nick de bb soy terrorista entonces? Esas bobadas.

If I don't attach a Colombian flag to my [blackberry] nick them I'm a terrorist? Such nonsensical crap.

“La Morenita” (@lapetitebrune) said:

El día en que celebremos la vida, en vez de la muerte, ese día sí habrá esperanza para nosotros.

The day we celebrate life, instead death, that day there will be hope for us.

Some related posts:

Thumbnail image from Wikimedia Commons: “This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of theUS Code. See Copyright.”

2 comments

  • To Julián Ortega Martínez, Silvia Viñas, Andrea Arzaba, Lully Posada and others: GREAT JOB! I start my day with your dispatches to get some news about South/Central America (and I also learn Spanish through bi-lingual parts of your relations). Hope you’ll continue. Thanks!

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