peace negotiations

FARC Seeks Helping Hand from the Pope in Peace Process

August 4, 2015

by AQ Online


It seems we can add the FARC leadership to the growing list of unlikely admirers—including Cuban President Raúl Castro and Bolivian President Evo Morales—of the Roman Catholic pontiff. Speaking from Havana, Iván Márquez, the chief negotiator for the FARC in the Colombia peace talks, called the possibility of meeting with Pope Francis “something extraordinary.” 

 

“Imagine the impact of having the support of Pope Francis in this collective effort we Colombians are undertaking to achieve reconciliation after decades of confrontation,” he said, adding that so far no meeting was scheduled, and that his statements simply reflected an “aspiration” on the part of the FARC negotiators. 

 

Márquez’s statement comes as the peace process inches back from one of its most difficult phases. On July 20, the FARC reestablished an indefinite, unilateral ceasefire, injecting a degree of hope into a process that seemed headed for failure amid an escalation of violence that followed the collapse of an earlier ceasefire. In the days after the new agreement was set, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced a deal to deescalate the conflict. And yesterday FARC negotiators met with UN delegates in Cuba to discuss steps towards the implementation of a bilateral ceasefire.

 

However, it is unclear whether public confidence in the negotiations has recovered after plummeting over the course of the spring and early summer.  A July poll showed supporters of a military solution to the conflict evenly matched with supporters of peace talks for the first time since the talks began in 2012, and found that only 33 percent of Colombians thought the negotiations would result in a conflict-ending agreement.  In this context, the FARC’s bid to engage with Francis, who is viewed favorably by 83 percent of Colombians, may signal a genuine effort to win back public support for the negotiations.


 

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Tags: Colombia, Pope Francis, peace negotiations

Negotiations with the FARC and other Regional Efforts to Achieve Peace

June 11, 2013

by Sabrina Karim

The peace negotiations in Cuba between the Fuerzas Armada Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—FARC) and the Colombian government, set to reconvene today, are not the only peace agreements being conducted in Latin America. 

One year ago, the two main drug gangs in El Salvador, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18, agreed a halt to hostilities in a deal brokered by the Catholic Church

And just over a week ago, the two main rival gangs in Honduras negotiated a similar pact, though not specifically a truce, again mediated by the Catholic Church. The Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 said they would commit to zero crime and zero violence on the streets

Such mediations are not considered typical peace agreements in the traditional sense of international relations, but perhaps they should be. While policymakers and scholars argue that there is a conceptual difference between insurgency groups, rebel groups, organized crime, and terrorism, these peace agreements between different gangs suggest that such distinctions may inhibit sound policy.  In fact, the peace agreement negotiated by the Catholic Church and the gangs in El Salvador does not look too different from the negotiations in Colombia.

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Tags: Colombia, El Salvador, gang truce, peace negotiations

La Paz en Colombia y Dos Visiones de País

October 19, 2012

by Jenny Manrique

Lejos de la selva, y de la imagen de la silla vacía que el expresidente Andrés Pastrana miraba de reojo aquel día en que el fallecido comandante de las FARC Manuel Marulanda—alias Tirofijo—no se apareció a instalar los diálogos de paz, gobierno y Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) vuelven a sentarse en una mesa.

Esta vez a las afueras de Oslo, Noruega, en un ambiente con aire diplomático, encorbatados, llegando a un epílogo de una serie de conversaciones y encuentros que se hicieron con la discresión de la que se careció años atrás. Con un acuerdo ya firmado sobre los temas a tratar en la negociación, con el rol definido y clave de los garantes (Cuba y Noruega) y de los acompañantes (Venezuela y Chile), y con voceros únicos.

Y a pesar de toda la filigrana, válida y necesaria, lo que pasó este jueves en Oslo demostró lo que la sociedad tiene que entender a la hora de opinar sobre el proceso. En la mesa están sentadas dos visiones de país, dos enemigos, que literalmente se han dado bala por siglos, uno de los cuales se alzó en armas frente al otro con una idea de rebelión marxista que culminó en 50 años de lucha, alimentada por el terror, el secuestro y el narcotráfico, mientras el otro le respondía desde la legalidad con su aparato armado, y también con sumas de ejércitos ilegales que exterminaron a la Unión Patriótica cuando las FARC quisieron hacer política.

Y es por esa diferencia y esa enemistad, que lo importante para una parte puede no serlo para la otra, y que el éxito en la negociación está en manejar las declaraciones y las respuestas con cautela sobre todo ante los medios de comunicación.

La negociación tendrá tres fases: la exploratoria que ya surtió efectos con la firma de un primer acuerdo; la segunda que comenzó ayer para avanzar en los temas contenidos en ese primer acuerdo; y la tercera de implementación de lo negociado.

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Tags: Colombia, FARC, peace negotiations