Missing FARC leaders “Ivan Marquez” and “El Paisa” reaffirmed their commitment to peace in Colombia on Monday, but said that the country’s ongoing peace process “has been destroyed.”
The two FARC leaders, who fled their reintegration compound last month amid alleged fears they faced imminent arrest, wrote Congress that “our main concern is how to get Colombia’s peace out of the abyss of failed agreements.”
Marquez and el Paisa explicitly accused the United States government and Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez of “sabotaging peace” between the former guerrillas and the state.
According to the FARC leaders, “at least three acts of foolishness pushed the hope woven in Havana into the taciturn abyss of failed peace processes: legal insecurity, modifications to the original text of the agreement and non-compliance with essential aspects of the Agreement.”
Undoubtedly, the legal insecurity reached its peak with the arrest of Jesus Santrich for extradition purposes through a judicial conspiracy plotted by the Prosecutor General, the US ambassador and the DEA. This delirious decision conceived to sabotage peace ended up driving away the little trust that still remained among the ex-combatants.
Ivan Marquez and El Paisa
While reaffirming their commitment to peace, Marquez and El Paisa expressed regret they agreed to disarm ahead of the execution of the peace process they negotiated for years.
The peace process has descended into crisis over the state’s failure to assume control over former FARC-controlled territory, the mass killing of social leaders and demobilized guerrillas, the arrest of Santrich and state failures to comply with promises made to demobilized FARC guerrillas, victims and landless farmers.
We naively believed in the word and the good faith of the government, despite the fact that [late FARC founder] Manuel Marulanda Velez had always warned us that arms were the only certain guarantee of compliance with possible agreements.
Ivan Marquez and El Paisa
Furthermore, the court’s decision to shield politicians and the private sector from prosecution by the war crimes tribunal and other elements to help victims that were agreed between the FARC and former President Juan Manuel Santos in 2016 “converted the Havana agreements into a horrific Frankenstein.”
Senator Roy Barreras (U Party), one of the most vociferous supporters of the peace process, told Caracol Radio on Tuesday that the Senate’s Peace Commission would meet with Interior Minister Nancy Patricia Gutierrez and Peace Commissioner Miguel Ceballos “to save the peace” and prevent a further reactivation of armed conflict.
Since 2016, more than 340 social leaders have been assassinated. At least four journalists have been killed and dozens of journalists have received death threats from far right groups this year alone.
Scores of FARC members have rearmed and homicides have gone up 8% in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period last year.
President Ivan Duque, whose political allies and sponsors have been accused of war crimes just like the FARC, has proposed to cut funds for peace while requesting a 53% increase in funds for the military.