Luciano Marin Arango, alias “Ivan Marquez,” is a member of the ruling Secretariat of the FARC guerrilla group. He is considered a radical political and ideological leader, and heads the rebels’ team for peace negotiations with the Colombian government.
Ivan Marquez was born June 6, 1955 in Florencia, the capital city of southern Colombia department Caqueta. Like many of the FARC’s oldest members Marquez was part of Colombia’s Communist Party Youth Movement (JUCO), joining in 1977. As a member of the JUCO, he supported the FARC, taking provisions to the group in the countryside. He later joined the FARC in 1985 as a political commissioner (“comisario politico”) for one of the rebels’ most active units, the 14th Front in the southern Caqueta province. In the early 1980s, as part of a peace process between the Colombian government and the FARC, Marquez became a top emissary for the rebels’ nascent political party, the Patriotic Union (Union Patriotica – UP). He was later elected as a city council member and then as an alternate congressman for Caqueta.
Ivan Marquez Factbox
DOB: June 16, 1955
Group: The FARC
Criminal Activities: Drug trafficking, extortion, kidnapping, murder, terrorism
Status: Head of the FARC’s peace negotiating team
Area of Operation: Havana, Colombia, Venezuela
In 1987, as persecution of the UP members intensified, the FARC called Marquez and other top rebel emissaries in the party back to the mountains. For his efforts with the UP, the rebels named him commander of the Southwest Bloc. In the 1990s, Marquez was transferred to the northwestern part of the country where he took part in a bloody battle for control of the Uraba region along the Panamanian border. This earned Marquez respect within the FARC as a strong military commander, complementing his political skills. The combination of these two abilities contributed to his trajectory as an international representative of the organization. His activities and influence spread far and wide: he has become the guerrillas’ top foreign emissary, and intelligence officials in Colombia also say he is heading efforts to infiltrate universities and create student federations to support the FARC’s political and military strategy in Colombian cities.
Thanks no doubt to these political and diplomatic skills, Marquez was chosen to head the FARC’s delegation for peace talks with the Colombian government in Oslo in 2012. Marquez continued to head the guerrillas’ negotiating team after the talks moved to Havana in November 2012. So far participants have agreed to three of the negotiations’ five-point agenda. In December 2014 the FARC declared an indefinite unilateral ceasefire, while President Juan Manuel Santos suspended FARC-targeted bombing raids in March 2015.
According to the US State Department Ivan Marquez was in charge of the FARC’s drug policies, directing and controlling the production, manufacture and distribution of cocaine. He also commanded FARC units accused of kidnapping, extortion and murder.
Prior to heading the FARC’s peace negotiating team, Marquez mostly operated in Venezuela, according to Colombian authorities.
Allies and Enemies
On top of being labeled a narco terrorist by the Colombian government, Ivan Marquez has been indicted by the US Department of Justice on drug charges. The US State Department has a standing offer of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest and/or conviction.
As a member of the FARC’s ruling Secretariat, Marquez’ fate is closely tied to any future peace deal. FARC leaders have said they will not agree to prison time. Meanwhile President Santos has said he will seek to prevent extradition of FARC leaders to the United States and has left open the possibility of house-arrest.