BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Colombian authorities detained a former senior rebel peace negotiator on a US drug warrant on Monday. UU., Taking a big blow to the already shaky attempts of the country to put half a century of political violence behind it.
Seuxis Hernández, a blind rebel ideologist best known for his alias Jesús Santrich, was arrested at his residence in Bogotá on charges of conspiring with three others to smuggle several tons of cocaine into the United States with a wholesale value of $ 15. millions.
According to a notice from Interpol, Santrich met with cocaine buyers at his residence on November 2, 2017, a day after one of his conspirators gave them a 5-kilogram sample of the narcotic. in the lobby of a hotel in Bogotá. During the meeting and subsequent negotiations, he and his fellow conspirators allegedly discussed plans for a shipment of 10-tonne drugs to the United States, presuming they had access to cocaine laboratories and registered US aircraft. to produce and move drugs within Colombia. President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed the arrest in a nationally televised speech, saying his "hand will not shake" by signing Santrich's extradition to safeguard the integrity of the peace agreement. [19659006EnvirtueoftheagreementtopostponethereafterconflictwithinAmericaLatinatothebelieverswhohavetouseandassessthecriticalcriticismsofcountriesofthecountriesofthecountryandtheextraditionofPeroneareprotectedbytheacceptscommittedafterthefirmofDecember2016
"Peacebuilding requires absolute commitment and respect for the law and agreements," Santos said. "This is what the Colombian people demand." In this regard, there can be no place for tolerance or weakness. "
Santrich's former comrades in arms accused the government of trying to sabotage the peace process.
" This is the worst moment for which he has after the peace process, "said the former rebel leader known as Iván Márquez, who served as chief negotiator during the peace talks." The government has to act to prevent judicial bodies like these from getting out of control and generating a great distrust among all the guerrillas. "
But the chief prosecutor, Néstor Martínez, said a New York grand jury issued an indictment after evaluating evidence, including videos and communications, indicating that Santrich and three other conspirators they were also arrested and drew up a plan in the second half of 2017 to smuggle US cocaine with a street value of $ 320 million.
The ties of the s FARC with Colombia's flourishing drug sub-world have always been a sensitive spot for rebels. The FARC financed itself by leveling a "war tax" on cocaine that moved through the territory it dominated, and 50 members of its leadership structure – though not Santrich – were charged in 2006 for charges of running the world's largest drug cartel.  But the FARC always denied direct participation in the business and the rebel peace negotiators in 2013 denounced drug trafficking as a "scourge" that has "contaminated" the international financial system and generated a global health crisis.
Santrich, 51, was one of the first rebels to bet for peace, traveling to the capital of Norway in 2012 to begin negotiations with the Colombian government and then participate in talks that continued for the next four years in Cuba, where He earned the reputation of being hard-line.  Son of two school teachers, Santrich joined a local youth communist group as a student and joined the guerrilla movement when he was just over 20 years old. Little by little he ascended through the rebel ranks to finally join the central high command.
Since the signing of the peace agreement, Santrich has lived in a two-story house in a working class neighborhood of Bogotá. Despite being blind, he said he spent much of his time painting, using tacks placed on a canvas to create an outline and guide his brush. His works hung on the walls of his living room, many of them representing former guerrillas who still remain behind bars.
"The detainees betrayed the values and principles of the peace accords," Martinez said, but offered assurances that the legal rights of other rebel fighters who remain loyal to democracy will be respected.
Writers of the Associated Press Manuel Rueda, Cesar Garcia and Christine Armario contributed to this report.
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