The communist Castro dictatorship’s aid and protection of the Marxist ELN terrorist organization’s new leader is consistent with its decades-long history of being a state sponsor of terror. No surprises here.
The ELN’s New Leader: Long Protected by the Castro’s Regime
30 years ago he already had Cuban IDs identifying him as an international aid worker, and an apartment in Havana
The fact that Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista, alias “Gabino”, chose Havana as the site from which to resign as the head of the Colombian National Liberation Army (ELN) did not surprise anyone. Gabino’s successor, who is known as Antonio García, has also long enjoyed support and protection provided by the Castro regime in Cuba.
Gabino cited health problems as the reason for him stepping down as the head of the ELN, a guerrilla organization originally founded in 1964 and that ever since has taken up arms, engaging in various illegal activities in both Colombia and Venezuela.
Colombian security analysts predict that the rise of Antonio García, whose real name is Eliécer Chamorro Acosta, will mean a harder line by the ELN. This armed group, which sustains itself through drug trafficking and charging for inoculations (payment made by ranchers in return for the ELN providing them with “security”), also has major logistical support in Cuba.
García, for example, represents the wing of the ELN radically opposed to negotiation processes with various Colombian governments. The negotiations, which never progressed significantly, ended up foundering.
Chamorro Acosta is 65 years old. The influential daily El Tiempo notes that he is known among Colombian guerrilla groups for being rigid, uncompromising, doctrinaire and calculating. He was present at the unsuccessful peace talks with the government of Andrés Pastrana. His stance against those negotiation processes contributed to their failure, according to the Bogotá newspaper.
“Antonio García is a person who has enjoyed extensive protection and sanctuary in Havana. 30 years ago he already had Cuban IDs that identified him as an international aid worker. He had been assigned an apartment in a central area of Havana, and even during the Special Period, Cuba not only provided him with vehicles, but also gasoline, which was a highly coveted product,” stated a Colombian journalist who in the 90s lived on the island and met the ELN’s new leader.
“I was at several meetings with him in the late 90s. A psychologist friend had traveled from Bogotá, allegedly to attend the Havana Film Festival. This person, I found out later, was actually an ELN emissary whose purpose was not to attend the premieres of the films, as I had been told, but rather to hold meetings with Antonio García,” this Colombian journalist (for security reasons, speaking on condition of anonymity) told DIARIO DE CUBA.
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