The arrest of one of the political leaders of Colombia’s demobilized FARC guerrillas threatens to collapse the country’s peace process, a visibly upset rebel leader said Tuesday.
“Ivan Marquez,” the former rebels’ senate leader, claimed that “Jesus Santrich” had been the victim of a “set up” that was orchestrated by the United States in collusion with Colombia’s Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez.
The US is set to request the extradition of Santrich, after claiming that the FARC’s ideologue took part in negotiations to send 10 tons of cocaine to the United States.
The guerrilla ideologue was one of the few FARC leaders who had never been accused of drug trafficking.
“The peace process has reached its most critical point and threatens to become a real failure,” said Marquez.
Santrich’s arrest is part of an orchestrated plan by the United States Government with the assistance of the Colombian Public Prosecutor’s Office, the latest development that was agreed upon during the recent visit of the director of the prosecuting body to the country, which threatens to extend to the FARC’s entire former command, with the aim of decapitating the political leadership of our Party and burying the Colombian people’s desire for peace.
Marquez requested an urgent meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos, the United Nations, guarantor countries of the peace process and the European Union.
The former guerrillas fear that President Juan Manuel Santos will bypass the transitional justice system which, according to the peace agreement, must approve any extradition request.
When former President Alvaro Uribe demobilized paramilitary organization AUC, he extradited the paramilitary leaders to the US without court approval, effectively sparking a wave of violence that killed thousands.
The United Nations also urged that the evidence be sent to the war crimes tribunal, which could reject the evidence and the extradition request.