Minister of Defense, Juan Manuel Santos, said on Monday that the pressure the Armed Forces are exercising on the Farc in the different areas of the country, each day gets tougher and tougher; today they can’t rest at ease. Santos spoke at a Security Council meeting held at Casa de Nariño where they were analyzing the public order situation in Tolima, where, he explained, a strong military offense is taking place in “Cañón de las Hermosas”, in the south of his department.
The action “against all members of the Secretariat is moving on successfully, making them weaker and more vulnerable. Their security circles have been reduced systematically since a while back. Little by little we have been infiltrating them and alias “Alfonso Cano” himself, who used to walk around freely (at Cañón de las Hermosas) feeling quite at home, can no longer rest in peace”, expressed Santos.
The minister explained that the military operation at Cañón de las Hermosas is of great control importance, since those territories were dominated by Farc since the sixties.
“It is an area that during decades was controlled by the guerrilla and has been a breeding ground, according to them, since the years 1964 and 1965 when Farc started. That’s why this operation is so important,” he stated.
Juan Manuel Santos added that the objective is to clean this sector from terrorism just like it has been done in other parts of the country, and he set as an example the progress achieved in the region of Montes de María, where the State has regained territorial control.
“We are doing exactly the same thing done at Cañón de las Hermosas. We don’t know exactly how long this operation is going to take. It all depends on the results, and there are already very important results. Several guerrillas have been killed, others have been captured, and most importantly these organizations have been de-articulated. (…) We are bringing peace and tranquility to this part of the Department of Tolima”, he said.
And he added that by request from local and departmental authorities, they are evaluating the possibility of establishing permanent prescence in the area, once the operations are over.
The top official also pointed out the importance of improving security in Tolima, and mentioned that although there have been certain cases of cattle rustling and extortion in certain municipalities, measures have been taken in that respect.
Lastly, he reiterated the importance that the common people make authorities aware in these situations. “Fortunately, when there is cooperation, the majority of the cases are solved favorably”, he emphasized.