BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, has traveled to Cuba for treatment and to recover after suffering a stroke during the weekend.
Timochenko, who in November signed a peace agreement with the government, suffers from heart problems and had surgery in Cuba while negotiating the accord.
Cuba will cover the costs of medical treatment and security, the high peace commissioner’s office said. Colombia’s government authorized his trip.
Last week the leader oversaw the disarmament of his 7,000 or so Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels at a ceremony with President Juan Manuel Santos.
“We’ll return to continue giving the fight for peace and for the agreement to be fulfilled. Thank you all for your good vibes,” Timochenko said in a tweet.
Timochenko, 59, on Sunday suffered an ischemic stroke, a cerebrovascular accident caused by a blockage that deprives part of the brain from receiving blood and oxygen.
FARC, which was founded as a peasant rebellion in 1964, has fought more a dozen governments in a war that has killed more than 220,000 and displaced millions.
A doctor who also trained in irregular warfare in Cuba and politics in Russia, Timochenko took over as head of the Marxist FARC in 2011 after troops killed the drug-funded group’s former boss, Alfonso Cano. Timochenko fought in Colombia’s inhospitable jungles for many years.
(Reporting by Helen Murphy; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)