Colombian rebel's surrender weakens FARC amid standoff with Venezuela
Nelly Avila Moreno's call for dialogue comes as the Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez accuses the US of stirring tension.
A veteran Colombian rebel commander has surrendered to government troops and called for dialogue to end a decades-old revolt. Nelly Avila Moreno, who led a unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), gave herself up Sunday after 24 years with the left-wing movement. Colombia's Army chief urged other FARC combatants to accept a government amnesty offer and stop fighting.Skip to next paragraph
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Her high-profile surrender is the latest setback for one of Latin America's most tenacious rebel forces, which the US and European Union have labeled a terrorist organization. In March, Raúl Reyes, a senior FARC commander and member of its seven-member politburo died in March during an Army attack. Shortly after, another politburo member was killed by his own bodyguard.
Ms. Moreno, who is known as "Karina," spoke Monday to reporters in Colombia's capital, Bogotá, reports CNN. She said pressure from Colombian troops, who claim to have virtually dismantled the unit that she commanded, had led to her surrender along with her boyfriend's. She urged other FARC combatants to follow suit.
Meanwhile, Venezuela accused the US of trying to stir tensions between Venezuela and Colombia after a US Navy airplane strayed into Venezuelan airspace. The Pentagon says the pilot had a navigation problem during the weekend incident and wasn't trying to provoke anyone. Venezuelan government officials claim that the US wants to stoke a conflict that would justify a US military intervention in the region, reports Bloomberg.
Agence France-Presse reports that Venezuela's defense minister told a press conference Monday that the aircraft "practically flew over" two Venezuelan islands before leaving its airspace in a "deliberate action" to provoke tensions.