To the dismay of Colombia’s government, the country’s conservative opposition called on civil resistance to a pending peace deal with leftist FARC guerrillas.
The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos has been holding formal peace talks with the FARC since late 2012, but has found consistent resistance from his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, who now called on his supporters to peaceful dissent if and when a final deal is reached.
“We need to prepare ourselves for civil resistance,” Uribe said Monday in an interview on national television network Caracol.
The former president, a controversial hardliner, has been opposing the peace talks because in his opinion they will imminently lead to “a full impunity deal.”
Peace talks negotiators, currently negotiating the last point on the agenda, earlier agreed to a transitional justice deal that would shield convicted war criminals of prison sentence if they are deemed to fully cooperate with justice.
Colombia’s half-a-century conflict has left more than 7 million victims amid massive human rights violations by both warring parties and paramilitary groups aligned with the state.
Uribe, himself under investigation for ties to paramilitary groups, has consistently opposed the fact that war crimes allegedly committed by the FARC are treated equally as war crimes allegedly committed by the state.
Colombia’s interior minister on Tuesday rejected Uribe’s call to resistance, claiming Uribe’s comment was “sad and delirious.”
“To me it seems sad and delusional to resist peace in Colombia.”
Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo
According to Minister Juan Fernando Cristo, partially in charge of preparing the country for a peace deal, Uribe’s proposal is “unacceptable and inconvenient,” “deplorable” even.
Cristo almost ran out of adjectives in his rejection of the conservative opposition leader’s latest move in opposition of the talks.
“There are democratic guarantees for all and the appropriate time for this [civil resistance] is the plebiscite,” in which Colombians will be able to either reject or accept the peace deal.
“If ‘Uribism’ wants to oppose [the deal] it will be in this instance with all guarantees,” said Cristo.
However, while the government has proposed a plebiscite that was approved by Congress, this form of public approval is too limited according to both Uribe and the FARC, who have both called for a national constituent assembly.
Meanwhile, the peace talks continue as the warring parties are yet to strike a deal on the guerrillas’ demobilization, disarmament and reintegration.