BOGOTA (Reuters) - After years of heavy blows to Colombia’s waning FARC guerrilla group, rebels must pick a new leader now that government forces have killed top commander Alfonso Cano in the volatile southwest of the Andean nation.
Cano -- who took over the FARC leadership when the rebels’ founder died in 2008 -- had avoided an intense military campaign against him with an estimated 2,000 Colombia security forces on his trail over the last few years.
Here are profiles of current leaders of its seven-member secretariat and deceased and former commanders:
* IVAN MARQUEZ, real name Luciano Marin -- A negotiator who took part in talks with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas over freeing FARC hostages in the past. Colombia has said it believes he is in Venezuela, which Caracas denies.
* TIMOLEON JIMENEZ, known as Timochenko or Rodrigo Londono -- announced the death of FARC founder Manuel Marulanda in a video from an unknown location and is reportedly another hardline faction member.
* PASTOR ALAPE, real name Felix Antonio Munoz, served as commander of the Middle Magdalena Block, which operates in a wide region of central Colombia. He was appointed as a member of the secretariat after the death of Mono Jojoy.
* JOAQUIN GOMEZ, real name Milton de Jesus Toncel, is an agronomist with training in Russia who worked as a professor before joining the FARC. He was part of a peace committee during failed talks with then President Andres Pastrana in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He joined the secretariat after Colombia killed Raul Reyes in a cross-border raid in Ecuador.
* PABLO CATATUMBO, real name Jorge Torres Victoria, directed various FARC fronts in the southwest of Colombia -- key areas for drug transport. He became a member of the seven-member body after the death of FARC founder Marulanda.
* MAURICIO JARAMILLO, known as The Doctor, operates in the south of the country and was in charge of the health of Marulanda. He took over from secretariat member Ivan Rios who was killed by his body guard.
* MONO JOJOY, known as JORGE BRICENO or Victor Julio Suarez -- was considered the leader of the FARC’s more hardline military wing. Often seen in his trademark black beret, Mono Jojoy had been seen as less formally educated than other FARC commanders, but those who knew him said he enjoyed reading military history. He was commander of the FARC’s tough Eastern Bloc with respect of the rank-and-file combatants. He was killed in a bombing raid and ground assault on his camp in September last year.
* KARINA, known as Nelly Avila Moreno -- One of the most wanted female commanders of the FARC, Karina deserted with her lover, insisting that the rebel group was cracking under constant military pressure and without the ability to communicate effectively.
* MANUEL MARULANDA, known as Sureshot, real name Pedro Antonio Marin -- Founder and chief of the FARC who rose from peasant farmer to lead the country’s largest rebel group. His death in March 2008 was a blow to the morale of FARC as Marulanda was a cohesive force among the competing factions of the group.
* RAUL REYES, real name Luis Edgar Devia -- The FARC’s No. 2 and top international negotiator, Reyes was killed in March 2008 by a Colombian raid on his camp hidden in Ecuador. The attack triggered a regional crisis. Laptops found at his camp contained documents linking Venezuela and Ecuador to the FARC, Colombia says. Both governments denied the charges.
SOURCES: Reuters, U.S. State Department, national police and army, La Semana magazine, El Tiempo newspaper.
Reporting by Bogota Newsroom; Editing by Jackie Frank