- Colombia: Former FARC leader Iván Márquez announces that he retakes his arms
- Colombia. "More than 90 percent of former FARC guerrillas remain committed to the peace process"
This Thursday was a black day for Colombia. Four of the FARC's best-known commanders (Iván Márquez, Jesús Santrich, Óscar Montero, aka El Paisa and Edison Romaña ), slapped the peace process by announcing, in a 32-minute clandestine video, their rearmament and birth of a new posFARC guerrilla . In addition, they forced the Government of Iván Duque to take the first measures in the middle of a turbulent political panorama divided between friends and enemies of the Havana agreements.
The announcement to continue "the guerrilla struggle" by the FARC number two fell like a bucket of cold water in the country and raised hopes for a Colombia that believed it was getting closer to finding peace. The voice of Márquez echoes in large part of the troop (11,986 ex-guerrillas, some disagreed with the fulfillment of the agreements) that remain in the concentration zones adapted by the National Government and that can become easy prey for the dissidence of the FARC, 2,100 armed men who refused to have a civilian life and continued in the drug trafficking business. President Iván Duque, in a statement where he did not leave his annoyance behind, said that Colombia does not accept threats of any nature and less of drug trafficking.
"We are not facing the birth of a new guerrilla, but facing the criminal threats of a gang of narcoterrorists who have the support and shelter of the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro," said the president.
The Colombian president stressed that this group of "criminals intends to make fun of the Colombian people and we will not allow it," he added visibly angry. He asked the Special Justice for Peace (JEP) - created during the peace talks to judge former guerrillas - to expel and remove judicial guarantees from all the men who appear in this video .
He also requested the Attorney General's Office to issue arrest warrants against the protagonists of the images. "I spoke with the legitimate president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó. I asked for his support and support to the Colombian justice for the capture of this criminal group sponsored by Nicolás Maduro ."
He made it clear that no country should house what he called "terrorists." For that reason the Duke Government issued arrest warrants to Interpol . And he ordered the creation of a special unit of the Prosecutor General of Colombia and other state security agencies to persecute "Márquez, Santrich, El Paisa , Romaña , and other dissidents."
"For each of the criminals of that video a reward of 3,000 million pesos will be set for those who help find their whereabouts." And it ended with a clear message: those who opted for legality will continue to count on the State. The others, those who choose the path of crime, will fall the full weight of the law.
Meanwhile, Miguel Ceballos, High Commissioner for Peace, stressed "that it is important that former guerrillas who remain firm with the agreements do not listen to the siren songs that want to show that peace is a failure because it is not," he said.
And he analyzed the video where Iván Márquez appears and that, according to him, demonstrates military weakness. Intelligence reports in Colombia pointed out for a year that the FARC number two would return to its military past with a massive troop, but it did not happen. "The video shows a small group of people," the president described.
Rodrigo Londoño, known as Timochenko , the main leader of the FARC, apologized to the country and in a hopeful tone he noted that more than 90% of the FARC remain firm with the peace agreements . "War does not deserve to echo it, there are many more who will continue to work for peace." He - who commanded the FARC in recent years, before the signing of the agreements - is clear that the FARC Political Party must change its name (that's what Marquez calls the dissent). In addition, the party must expel the protagonists of the video. However, it will not be easy. There are internal divisions. "We are ashamed, I apologize to the Colombian people, to the international community, to Norway and Cuba," he concluded.
The Nobel Peace Prize and former President Juan Manuel Santos, who did not escape criticism for what happened, also said: "90% of the FARC are still in the process. We must continue to comply. The deserters must be repressed with all forcefulness. The battle for peace does not stop . "
Humberto De La Calle, the chief peace negotiator, and one of the men who spoke most in the peace talks with Iván Márquez, rejected and condemned the military rearmament of a fraction of former guerrillas. "The Government must assume with leadership and state criteria the leadership of the peace process and stop acting with party criteria as it has done so far."
Undoubtedly, Márquez's rearmament eventually polarized the country. And it became a perfect ingredient to stir the political scene two months after the regional elections . Senator Álvaro Úribe said that "the country has to be aware that there was no peace process, but the pardon for some responsible for heinous crimes at a high institutional cost." And minutes later, he launched a controversial proposal: "Lower the peace agreements of the Constitution."
While in Colombia, the Special Justice of the Peace announced that it will study Márquez's video in detail and clarified that whoever rearms will be expelled from legal benefits .
However, the scenario ahead will not be easy for Colombia. The FARC dissidents went from occupying 58 municipalities in 2018 to 85 so far this year, the number of armed men grows as foam, in Colombia there are more than 200,000 hectares of coca plant and illegal mining . And an additional ingredient to the explosive cocktail: the tense relationship between the Government of Iván Duque with the regime of Nicolás Maduro, whose information is available provides refuge to armed groups in this country.
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