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Both the rebel group's commander-in-chief Rodrigo Londoño, alias "Timochenko," and his second-in-command, Luciano Marin Arango, alias "Ivan Marquez," often reside in Venezuela. The two men are known to move in and out of the country; in Timochenko's case from the Colombian province of Norte De Santander, and for Ivan Marquez, from La Guajira and Cesar. They are probably the last two commanders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who can hold together the rebel group, preventing its fragmentation and the criminalization of some sections that would likely result.
For three of the FARC's seven fighting divisions or "blocs," Venezuela is essential for logistics, weapons, munitions, medical support, and as a rest and recuperation area. Ivan Marquez's Caribbean Bloc, with some 250 fighters, has almost all its presence along the border, or actually in Venezuelan territory. Timochenko's Magdalena Medio Bloc, which has around 800 fighters, depends on a lifeline into Venezuela for its survival. The Eastern Bloc, with up to 4,000 fighters, relies heavily on Venezuela for its finances and for direct supplies.
Both the Magdalena Medio and Eastern Blocs rely on drug trafficking as a principal source of income. While part of this comes from selling coca base to the new generation paramilitary groups within Colombia, much of their foreign currency comes from moving cocaine into Venezuela. It is no coincidence that Timochenko, and his second-in-command, Felix Antonio Muñoz, alias "Pastor Alape," are both wanted by the US on drug-trafficking charges. Without this pipeline into Venezuela, it is unlikely that the three FARC blocs along the frontier would be able to finance themselves.
Files seized from the computer of Luis Edgar Devia Silva, alias "Raul Reyes," which were analyzed and published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) show that Timochenko had a large camp in Venezuela for rebels to conduct not only their basic training but specialized courses. While it is likely that this installation has since been shut down, it is almost certain that the FARC continue to use Venezuela to carry out training, out of reach of the Colombian security forces. It is also certain that a great deal of the planning and meetings of senior FARC commanders are carried out on the relative safety of Venezuelan territory.