Though Alfonso Cano, the new commander of Colombia’s FARC rebels, is a bookish intellectual, don’t expect a new push towards government negotiations, sources tell the Washington Post. Cano, who turned to Marx in college after a middle-class upbringing, would be uniquely suited to push peaceful political action—but in its weakened state, the FARC needs its leader to show strength.
"Cano cannot act on any political impulses because that would be a message of weakness to the FARC," a former Colombian negotiator said. Cano is said to have embraced violence after seeing nonviolent politicians killed by the government. "We exist precisely because the government does not give the country the possibility to participate in its own development,” he said in 2000.