According to the newspaper, senior security adviser Sergio Jaramillo is leading the government commission that is in Cuba trying to create the conditions for formal peace talks between the government and the guerrilla group that has been at war with the state since its foundation in 1964.
Jaramillo is being assisted by Health Minister Frank Pearl who, according to U.S. diplomatic cables began seeking contact with the FARC when serving as peace commissioner under former President Alvaro Uribe.
Colombia’s ambassador to Cuba, Gustavo Bell, reportedly is also involved in the talks.
The Venezuelan government, while not directly involved in the preliminary, has been called on as mediator when talks turned sour, reported the newspaper.
According to the newspaper, the FARC’s spokesperson in Cuba is Mauricio Jaramillo, alias “El Medico,” one of the members of the guerrillas’ political leadership who “according to rumors” was accompanied by guerrilla commander “Ivan Marquez” on at least one occasion.
Both the government representatives and the FARC want to involve moderate members of retired members of the armed forces — who are divided about a non-miitary end to the conflict — in the peace talks, according to El Espectador.
W Radio reported last week the Colombian government is maintaining to a four-point agenda, of which one point is the disarmament of the FARC.
The FARC’s conditions consist of an agricultural reform, a renegotiation of multinational involvement in the country’s oil and mining industries, environmental issues and the involvement of social organizations in eventual peace talks, the newspaper reported.
While rumors of preliminary peace talks first surged in January, the still-unconfirmed negotiations were set high on the Colombian public and political agenda by Uribe a week ago.
Uribe’s rejection of peace talks caused the opposite reaction from Colombian congress, whose majority of political parties voiced its support for a negotiated end to the 48-year old armed conflict, leaving the former president and his allies isolated.
According to a report by newspaper El Tiempo, the Uribe government was seeking talks with the FARC between 2005 and April 2010.