He literally grew up with the FARC. He was raised among the backwoods Stalinist bands that split from the Liberal Party rural guerillas of the Violencia period. Jacobo Arenas, the FARC's top ideologue and strategist, knew him from childhood, and became a life-long mentor and booster. Besides Communist indoctrination, a teenaged Mono Jojoy received plenty of on-the-job training as a guerilla fighter. By the 80's he had risen through the ranks to commmand large formations. Eventually he led the powerful East Front (Bloque Oriental) for years, Mono Jojoy was known as a top battlefield commander who in the 90's delivered strong blows to Colombia's military.
During the Zona De Despeje/Cease Fire period, he was all over the press and television, roaming around in a 4x4 with a posse that included many female guerillas.
In a country that has produced legendary (and telegenic) sociopaths like Pablo Escobar and Carlos Castano, Jojoy is right up there. He was a ruthless killer who ordered terror killings and kidnappings of thousands of Colombians. He was up to his neck in the drug racket the FARC ran, as well as their policy of keeping military and civilian hostages. Basically, he bears a lot of blame in the FARC's crimes of the past 30 years that have extended the conflict and ungovernability in Colombia
His death is a blow to the FARC. Directorate members - once considered invulnerable- have died like flies since 2007. Jojoy's reputation of a top commander leading the strongest guerilla columns will be extremely demoralizing to rank and file guerillas as well as middle and top leaders.
The noose also tightens on Cano, and the other directorate members. They have nothing to bargain with.