As government and FARC negotiators come closer to signing a formal peace agreement, Colombian congressmen traveled to Cuba Sunday to begin studying the possibility of allowing guerrillas to take part in politics.
Delegates of the country’s oldest and largest rebel group are in Cuba where they have been taking part in peace talks with the government since November.
According to government chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle, the government and rebels have found common ground regarding a reform of Colombia’s agriculture sector, considered the biggest obstacle.
Once a deal on agriculture and land use is reached, the negotiators will move on to the controversial subject of political participation of the group determined a terrorist organization by Colombia, the United States and Europe.
Senate President and a vocal supporter of the peace talks, Senator Roy Barreras, met on Saturday with President Juan Manuel Santos before traveling to Cuba to discuss the possible political participation of the FARC if and after the group decides to demobilize and disarm.
Just after the peace talks were made public, Congress approved a “Framework for Peace” that offers the legal framework for illegal armed groups like the FARC to be reintegrated into society. The framework includes the political participation of lower-ranking members, but disallows leaders of determined terrorist organizations to turn to politics, said the president last year.
Colombia’s next elections will be held in 2014, months after the deadline for peacetalks set by Santos. According to news agency Colprensa, the negotiators’ aim is to allow the FARC to take part in these elections.