Controversy sparked by picture of former FARC leader

Posters commemorating the famous FARC leader Manuel Marulanda aka Tirofijo have stirred up controversy in the central Colombian town of San Vicente, reported local media Tuesday.

The posters, featuring both Tirofijo and the former Colombian President Andres Pastrana, have been put up by the San Vicente mayor’s office to advertise an event marking the tenth anniversary of failed peace negotiations with the FARC.

The town was the epicenter of failed peace talks between the Pastrana government (1998-2002) and the FARC, then commanded by Marulanda. The negotiations, which lasted from January 1999 to February 2002 ultimately failed, leaving the conflict unresolved.

San Vicente’s current mayor Domingo Perez has defends the negotiations, saying that he chose the images of Marulanda and Pastrana because they were the “symbolic subjects” of the failed talks. “We have used the two images of the protagonists of a situation that we are now repudiating and rejecting,” said the mayor.

He points out that this controversy reveals the polarity in Colombia on the issues of guerrillas and peace. Though Tirofijo and FARC did great damage to the region with its violence, the negotions were a historical and political act that can not be ignored, he said.


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