Peace talks between Colombia’s government and FARC rebels resumed on Wednesday with a fierce snide to former President Alvaro Uribe who, according to the chief government negotiator, has “his head full of falsehoods.”
The talks were suspended by President Juan Manuel Santos mid-November after FARC rebels in western Colombia captured an army general who entered guerrilla-controlled territory without the appropriate security measures.
Following his release three week later, Santos announced the resumption of talks.
Before retaking the original agenda, Santos and the FARC said they would first be negotiating measures to shield the talks from possible future crises.
Uribe then published alleged FARC demands for the talks to continue that included an end to aerial bombardments on guerrila units and camps, and attempts to capture or kill FARC leaders.
However, according to government negotiator Humberto de la Calle these demands are fake.
“Uribe published supposed compromises demanded by the FARC to restart the talks. This hasn’t even been proposed by the FARC. Had they done so, they would not have been accepted,” said De la Calle, adding that “somebody is filling Senator Uribe’s head with falsehoods.”
The government’s chief negotiator continued to criticize the former head of state and his Democratic Center party for refusing to take part in talks between negotiators and political parties.
The Democratic Center, a newly found party that assumed the conservative opposition to Santos in Congress earlier this year, has demanded that the peace negotiators respond publicly to congress and refused to meet with De la Calle behind closed doors.
“I regret the Democratic Center has refused to do this. The way for Colombia is the honest debate between us Colombians as citizens, but again we have to deny falsified and implausable information, whose sole purpose is to generate obstacles for Colombians’ desire for peace,” said De la Calle.
Since the peace talks were announced in August 2012, Uribe has fiercely opposed the talks. According to the former head of state and his supporters, the Santos administration should renegotiate the conditions of the talks that should include a unilateral FARC ceasefire.
Additionally, the conservative opponents fear the Santos administration is being too lenient in making concessions to the group that is accused of thousands of human rights violations.
The FARC and government delegates have so far signed off on partial agreements on rural reform, political participation of the FARC and the rebels’ abandonment of drug trafficking. If the warring parties agree on the current point on the agenda, victims, the logistics of the end of conflict will be negotiated which — if successful — would end 50 years of violence between rebels and state that according to the government has cost more than 900,000 lives.