Just days before the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas are due to continue peace talks in Cuba, the rebels indicated Sunday they may not demobilize but will likely lay down their arms.
“Now we know that there will be no demobilization [however] we will reach agreement on the surrender of weapons [disarmament],” claimed senior FARC negotiators in an e-mail interview with Ecuador’s El Telegrafo newspaper.
Disarmament only results in the physical removal of the means of combat from ex-belligerents, such as weapons, while demobilization involves the disbanding of an armed group.
On the issue of disarmament, the rebels said, “the war has never been an end for the guerrillas… therefore if the causes that made the weapons thunder cease to exist, the [weapons] will be silenced and will not have any use.”
FARC’s negotiating team, led by “Ivan Marquez,” have long held that a successful peace process will have to be more than debating the terms of the rebels’ surrender. Rather, they have demanded substantial reforms in the areas of: agrarian policy, guarantees of political participation, ending the armed conflict, drug trafficking, and the rights of victims.
The latest attempt at a peace deal between the warring parties was formally inaugurated in the Norwegian capital of Oslo on October 18. The next round of talks are expected to begin this Thursday in Havana, Cuba.
“This is a [peace] process that is just beginning”, said FARC. “Each point on the agenda includes sub-points that will have to be developed creatively.”
Colombia’s armed forces have been at war with FARC since the insurgent group officially formed in 1964. The current peace process marks the fourth major attempt to end the civil war.