Colombia's FARC is working to reinvent itself after suffering almost seven years of sustained military pressure under President Alvaro Uribe — a period that has seen its top leaders killed, mid-level cadres captured and the rescue of its top hostages.
As part of "Plan Rebirth," the rebels are working to reduce large-scale desertions, and have also sought to cut down on combat by increasing the use of mines and snipers.
This latest effort to adapt comes after hundreds of foot soldiers have deserted and its command and control structure was disrupted.
"One of the biggest problems the FARC has at this moment is that there is no command and control at the highest level," Gen. Freddy Padilla, commander in chief of the armed forces and recently named defense minister, said in a recent interview with The Miami Herald.
According to military intelligence, only three of the seven members of the ruling secretariat are permanently in Colombia, while others slip over the borders of neighboring countries. "There is no cohesion in the upper echelons of the FARC," he said.
However, the FARC appears to be trying to prove otherwise 45 years after first rising up against the state.
"Phoenix," who had never considered joining the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, could only think about escape after he was forcibly recruited and throughout his brutal training in the jungles north of the Pacific port town of Tumaco.
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