October 15, 2012
Top stories this week are likely to include: 50-year anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis; Colombia-FARC peace talks begin in Oslo; U.S. presidential candidates square off in their second debate; chatter surrounds Hugo Chávez’ latest appointments; Enrique Peña Nieto continues his European tour; and Cubans elect new municipal leaders.
Cuban Missile Crisis Anniversary: Tuesday marks 50 years since the confrontation between Soviet-backed Cuba and the United States on October 16, 1962, a date known as the closest the world has ever been to a nuclear war. Last week, declassified Kennedy Library documents revealed further details of a clandestine U.S. effort to reach an accord with communist Cuba to avoid war. According to Peter Kornbluh, the National Security Archive's Cuba analyst, lessons are still being learned. The documents "reinforce the key historical lesson of the missile crisis: the need and role for creative diplomacy to avoid the threat of nuclear armageddon,” Kornbluh notes.
Colombia, FARC negotiate in Oslo: After a half-century of armed conflict and many attempts to secure peace with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—FARC), the Colombian government led by President Juan Manuel Santos will inaugurate the latest round of peace talks on Wednesday. Despite qualms about the outcome, Santos has expressed “moderate optimism” about the process. The negotiations will begin in Oslo, Norway, this week and future rounds will continue in Havana, Cuba. Venezuela and Chile are acting as observers. AQ Senior Editor Jason Marczak warns about inflated expectations: “Don’t expect any major breakthroughs this week. The success of this process will require a long-term commitment to the process that is not derailed by the hiccups that will inevitably occur along the way.” Already, the Colombian government is concerned by last minute changes to the FARC negotiating team.
Extra: Read AQ’s exclusive interview with Sergio Fajardo Valderrama, governor of Colombia’s Antioquia state, on his views and expectations of the peace process.