A Counterinsurgent Lion Passes Away

A Counterinsurgent Lion Passes Away

Geoffrey Demarest

On July 6th, retired Colombian General Álvaro Valencia Tovar died at the age of 94.  While perhaps an unremarkable event to much of the world, his passing calls many of us to recognize and celebrate the life of one of the greatest military voices of the Spanish-speaking world.  Álvaro Valencia rose to become the Commander of the Colombian Army, and also to be a successful novelist and prominent newspaper editorialist.  Leaders of several of Colombia's guerrilla groups publicly recognized Valencia as a most worthy, respectable and fearful opponent.  As a military officer he participated directly in historically salient victories against the M19, ELN and the FARC.  In forty years of retirement he wrote hundreds of pieces, remaining lucid and influential up until his death.  He had a generous, engaging, delightful personality; and as a compelling strategist and philosopher he deserves better than recognition as a 'great counterinsurgent', but, for our blog at least, he was certainly that.

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