Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | November 18, 2010

Son of FARC Has Humanitarian Work Experience Abroad

The son of the FARC’s current head, Guillermo León Sáenz, alias “Alfonso Cano,” resides in Switzerland. His name is Federico. His is one of the most documented cases by Europol and the German intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).

The last time Federico saw Cano was several years ago when he visited him in “the mountains of Colombia,” according to authorities.

Federico has also lived in Venezuela, Mexico, the U.S., Australia, Spain, Germany, and Bulgaria. He received a master’s degree in political economics at the University of Geneva and a master’s degree in globalization, social regulations, and sustainable development from the University of Lausanne. He speaks fluent German, French, and English. 

Though some of his studies were paid by state subsidies, European intelligence agencies say a large part of his education and his living expenses were paid by money sent by his father.

In his resume, Federico boasts of his love for volleyball and salsa music.

Federico has worked as a consultant in Europe. His last job was at the Community Development Foundation (FORA), which is based in Sofia, Bulgaria. From July 2006 to June 2007, he was an investment analyst, with an emphasis on Peru and Bolivia, for Symbiotics, a microfinance service provider.

He has also worked in marketing and communications for the Geneva Humanitarian Forum, a project of the International Committee of the Red Cross; as well as a research assistant with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).  At UNRISD, Federico participated in a study about popular movements and agrarian reform which was published at the end of 2001.

Cano’s other son, Andrés Felipe, also lives and studies in Geneva and has been matriculated in universities in France and Australia. 

European intelligence organisms report that there is no evidence that the two young men are involved in any FARC-related activites in Europe.

Would it be too idealistic to presume that someday these young men will use their education and their experiences outside Colombia to contribute positively to the country? And will Colombian society allow them to contribute? To not give them the opportunity would reflect poorly on Colombia moving forward.


  1. I was just talking with my friend about this yesterday at lunch . Don’t remember how we got on the subject really, they brought it up. I do recall eating a wonderful chicken salad with sunflower seeds on it. I digress…

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