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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01BOGOTA7805
2001-08-29 00:02:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bogota
Cable title:  

UPDATE ON OPERATION SEVENTH OF AUGUST

Tags:   MOPS  MARR  PTER  PGOV  PREL  CO 
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O 290002Z AUG 01
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3410
INFO SECDEF WASHDC
JOINT STAFF WASHDC
USCINCSO MIAMI FL
AMEMBASSY PANAMA 
AMEMBASSY CARACAS 
AMEMBASSY QUITO 
AMEMBASSY LIMA 
AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 
AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
						C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 007805 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 8/28/11
TAGS: MOPS MARR PTER PGOV PREL CO
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON OPERATION SEVENTH OF AUGUST

REF: BOGOTA 7555

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR ANNE W. PATTERSON; REASONS 1.5
(B) AND (D).



1. (C) AS REPORTED REFTEL, ON AUGUST 17 THE COLOMBIAN
MILITARY LAUNCHED A HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL JOINT ARMY/AIR
FORCE OPERATION TO DESTROY MOBILE FARC UNITS SEEKING TO
ATTACK MILITARY TARGETS IN META AND GUAVIARE DEPARTMENTS.
ON AUGUST 27, FARC SUPREME MILITARY COMMANDER "MONO
JOJOY" PUBLICLY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT ALIAS "URIAS CUELLAR,"
HIS RIGHT-HAND MILITARY STRATEGIST HAD BEEN KILLED BY THE
ARMY. ALTHOUGH "JOJOY" DOWNPLAYED THE NUMBER OF FARC
CASUALTIES, THE ARMY HAS RECOVERED THE BODIES OF AT LEAST
20 FARC COMBATANTS. THERE ARE CREDIBLE REPORTS THAT THE
BODIES OF AT LEAST ANOTHER 80 FARC COMBATANTS WERE BURIED
OR HIDDEN BY FARC UNITS AS THEY FLED FROM ARMY PURSUIT.



2. (C) ARMED FORCES COMMANDER GEN. TAPIAS HAS ANNOUNCED
THAT OPERATION "SEVENTH OF AUGUST" WILL CONTINUE AS THE
ARMY PURSUES AND ENCIRCLES REMNANTS OF THE FARC COLUMNS,
NUMBERING SOME 1,300 FARC REGULARS. ARMY COMMANDER
GENERAL MORA ORDERED AN ADDITIONAL 500 TROOPS COMMITTED
TO THE OPERATION; THESE TROOPS ARE NOW POSTED AT
STRATEGIC LOCATIONS DESIGNED TO PREVENT ELEMENTS OF THE
FARC FORCE FROM ESCAPING BACK TO THE FARC DEMILITARIZED
ZONE ("ZONA DE DESPEJE"). SOME FARC REGULARS ARE
SPLITTING INTO SMALL GROUPS IN AN EFFORT TO EVADE
DETECTION.



3. (C) MILITARY SOURCES ADD THAT CURRENT EFFORTS ARE
FOCUSING ON PSYOPS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE THE FARC
COMBATANTS TO SURRENDER. THESE OPERATIONS CONSIST MAINLY
OF DROPPING LEAFLETS ARGUING THAT IT IS BETTER TO
SURRENDER TO THE MILITARY, WHO TAKES GOOD CARE OF ITS
PRISONERS, THAN BE KILLED IN ACTION. FARC MORALE IN THE
AREA IS REPORTEDLY LOW, AND THE COLOMBIAN MILITARY IS
ATTEMPTING TO PRESS ITS ADVANTAGE. FARC COMBATANTS ARE
SAID TO BE STARVING AS A RESULT OF THE MILITARY'S SEIZURE
EARLY IN THE OPERATION OF AT LEAST EIGHT TONS OF RATIONS
DESTINED FOR THEM; AS MANY AS 30 GUERRILLAS HAVE ALREADY
DESERTED, ACCORDING TO INTELLIGENCE SOURCES.



--------------------------


COMMENT:


--------------------------





4. (C) BY ALL ACCOUNTS, OPERATION "SEVENTH OF AUGUST"
WILL LIKELY TURN OUT TO BE THE COLOMBIAN ARMED FORCES
MOST SUCCESSFUL OPERATION AGAINST THE FARC IN RECENT
YEARS. AS THE ARMY CONTINUES TO ENCIRCLE THE FLEEING
FARC REGULARS AND THEIR FOOD SUPPLIES CONTINUE TO
DWINDLE, THE ARMY'S PSYOPS SHOULD PAY DIVIDENDS AS FARC
SOLDIERS COME OUT OF THE BUSH TO SURRENDER.



5. (C) THERE ARE REPORTS FROM SEVERAL FARC SOLDIERS WHO
SURRENDERED EARLIER THAT THERE ARE MANY FARC WOMEN AND
MINORS AMONG THOSE WISHING TO SURRENDER. IF, IN FACT, A
SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER OF MINORS SURRENDER, THIS OPERATION
COULD DEAL ANOTHER MAJOR BLOW TO THE FARC'S INTERNATIONAL
IMAGE. AT THE SAME TIME, THIS OPERATION IS BEING
CONDUCTED IN TERRAIN THAT MIGHT PERMIT THE GUERRILLAS TO
SLIP THROUGH THE ARMY'S BLOCKING POSITIONS AND THUS ALLOW
THE FARC COMBATANTS TO RETURN TO THEIR SANCTUARY IN THE
DESPEJE.


PATTERSON

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