Military Wiki
Luis Alberto Morantes Jaimes
Nickname Jacobo Arenas
Born (1924-01-23)January 23, 1924
Died October 10, 1990(1990-10-10) (aged 66)
Service/branch Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
Years of service 1964-1990
Rank Founder and Ideological Leader of FARC-EP
Battles/wars Colombian armed conflict

Jacobo Arenas ("nom de guerre" of Luis Alberto Morantes Jaimes, 23 January 1924 – 10 August 1990) was a Colombian guerrilla and ideological leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC). He was also one of the FARC figures involved in the organization and creation of the Patriotic Union political party in 1985. He was fluent in several languages[citation needed] other than his native Spanish, including English and Russian.

Born at Bucaramanga in Santander Department, Arenas spent most of his life involving himself in the activities of Marxist revolution in Colombia since the 1960s. During this time, he mostly lived in the mountains, jungles and remote villages. Arenas sometimes had to hide from those who wanted to capture him, including Colombian security forces, the Central Intelligence Agency (which Arenas believed responsible for numerous alleged plots against him)[citation needed] and eventually paramilitary fighters as well. Arenas is thought to have followed the example of Che Guevara, who changed his way of life when he saw that the people of Latin America were facing hardships during a regionwide motorcycle trip (partially included in the film Diarios de Motocicleta - The Motorcycle Diaries) when he was a senior year medical student. Arenas admired Che Guevara and started his life as a revolutionary due to similar realizations, first through his experiences in the Colombian Communist Party (PCC) and finally in the FARC.[citation needed]

Arenas is credited for helping to lay the foundation for the FARC's organizational structure and promoting its later development into what is usually considered as one of the strongest and longest lasting Marxist guerrilla movements in the world. To implement the policy of "standing steadily", he taught FARC members in several subjects, such as anthropology, international military law and counter techniques for any changing situation.[citation needed]

Death and aftermath[]

Importance to FARC[]

Jacobo Arenas died on August 10, 1990, possibly due to cancer, but perhaps also due to diabetes or an ulcer, or even assassinated by a vindictive comrade (according to different versions).[1] His death was considered a major blow to the FARC, as he was one of the persons responsible for transforming the FARC from a small guerilla force to a belligerent rebel army.[citation needed]

Arenas' son, known as Francisco Arenas, continued to serve in the FARC after his father's death.

Alfonso Cano subsequently became Arenas' replacement as ideological leader of the group throughout the 1990s, and served as the leader of the FARC-EP from May 2008 to November 2011, when he was killed.

FARC's Jacobo Arenas Front[]

His son Francisco Arenas eventually led the Jacobo Arenas Front mobile column, named in honor of his father, and, according to the Colombian Army, died in combat in August 2004.[1].

Since February 2005, the Jacobo Arenas Front has played a significant role in the renewed series of FARC military operations in the southwest of the country against the security forces of president Álvaro Uribe's government, coming after a period of what was considered as either a temporary halt in operations or as a necessary strategic retreat on the part of the guerrillas, in part as a response to a massive U.S. government-backed military offensive known as "Plan Patriota" taking place in the southeast of Colombia[citation needed].

The Front was involved in the widely criticized attack on the municipality of Toribio in the Cauca department on 14 April 2005. Four people were killed (three police and one civilian) and 23 injured. Many of the villagers were displaced as fighting in the general area continued intermittently for about a month. The attack was notable as Toribio is known as the epicenter of a nonviolent indigenous resistance movement arising in 2004, opposed to many the same policies the FARC claims to fight against. While the FARC attack was aimed at the town's police station, the level of collateral damage and the lack of concern for civilian suffering even among a population clearly not on the side of the government earned the guerrillas condemnation from many on the left.[2]


  • Diario de la resistencia de Marquetalia, Jacobo Arenas, Ediciones Abejón Mono, 1972
  • Dance of the Millions: Military Rule and the Social Revolution in Colombia : 1930-1956, Vernon L. Fluharty, ISBN 0-8371-8368-5, 1975
  • Blood and Fire: La Violencia in Antioquia, Colombia, 1946-1953, Mary Roldan, Duke University Press, ISBN 0-8223-2918-2, 2002
  • Human Rights Watch, “The Sixth Division: Military-Paramilitary ties and US Policy in Colombia”, September 2001. [3]
  • Martin Hodgson, CSM, April 26, 2000 (UN Report)

External links[]

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