Hospitalized in the capital of Venezuela and protected by Nicolás Maduro. After several days of inquiries to find out if the head of the Nueva Marquetalia mafia gang was alive or dead, Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano confirmed that Iván Márquez survived an attack on his camp.
“Intelligence information indicates that in these disputes a vendetta occurred in which his integrity was affected, he is being protected by the Maduro regime, and that he is in a hospital in Caracas,” Molano said.
His words put an end to speculation about the presumed death of the person who led the FARC peace negotiations with the government of Juan Manuel Santos, held in Cuba. Under the pacts, Márquez had been given one of the ten seats guaranteed to the political party that formed the former terrorist gang. But instead of taking office, in 2019 he announced the birth of the dissidence baptized as La Nueva Marquetalia, a criminal group that was joined by other renowned former FARC commanders such as Jesús Santrich, Romaña or El Paisa.
To escape from the Colombian Military Forces, who had them in their sights, they set up their headquarters on Venezuelan soil, where they enjoy the protection of the Chavista dictatorship. But the three mentioned died, presumably, at the hands of another FARC dissident in different attacks, although it is not clear that in all cases they were their rivals.
Losing his lieutenants in the Venezuelan sanctuary made Márquez himself feel that his life was in danger. Colombian media published that he would have tried to move, without success, to Nicaragua or Cuba, given that Castroism provides shelter to ELN leaders.
On July 1, and before information of his possible dismissal, President Iván Márquez declared that they were “working with (military) intelligence to try to verify that information and as soon as we have corroboration, it will be informed in a timely manner.” He added that “Iván Márquez is in Venezuela, protected by Nicolás Maduro, everyone knows that.”
Later it was the New Marquetalia that denied the death of its leader. In a video, Enrique Marulanda, one of the thirteen children of Manuel Marulanda, alias Tirofijo, assured that Márquez had come out “unharmed” from the attack on his camp. He spoke surrounded by a large group of guerrillas carrying modern weapons. The recording would have been made in the Venezuelan sanctuary.
About twenty arrest warrants weigh on Márquez for different serious crimes such as homicides, terrorism, kidnapping, forced disappearance and recruitment of minors, among others.
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