The association of Colombia’s retired military commanders, a powerful lobby, said Monday it supports peace talks with the FARC under a number of conditions that include the banning of a leftist political movement and legal privileges for members of the military.
In a ten-point manifesto, Jaime Ruiz, director of the Association of Retired Military Officers (ACORE), pointed out that his organization does support peace talks, but under strict conditions that would guarantee legal privileges for members of the military, no military budget cuts and the permanent presence of members of the military at the negotiation tables.
Additionally, the retired officials demand a temporary ban on one of Colombia’s largest leftist political movements and the guarantee former rebels will not be able to take part in the country’s politics.
- Under no circumstance we may sacrifice our democratic principles and values in order to achieve uncertain solutions.
- An inappropriate or wrong political management of exaggerated demands will cause unrepairable damage to the country. It would put the future of the republic at risk.
- The excessive generosity of the State in this process constitutes a great sign of weakness that will easily be exploited by the terrorists.
- The government should only offer what our democratic institutions grant to all our citizens.
- Peace could be victory, but as they correctly say, you have to win the war to achieve it. Winning the war is breaking the will to action of the terrorists, weaken them to the point that they renounce their aspirations and submit to the laws of the republic. This does not mean to kill until the last remaining terrorist.
- We want a stable and lasting peace and a highly motivated and strong military with enough capacity to guarantee it.
- We do not want terrorists holding positions of power and soldiers who have legally and constitutionally defended this nation to be condemned, humiliated and confined to the country’s different prisons.
- To negotiate in the middle of conflict favors mainly the terrorists. They have always taken advantage of this circumstance to intensify their terrorist activities and obtain advances at the conversations table. The agenda should be modified by imposing a unilateral ceasefire that explicitly forbids indiscriminate terrorist activity against the civilian population, the use of land mines, the eviction of land, extortion, kidnapping, the committing of other heinous crimes and the use of the “Marcha Patriotica” movement as political arm of the terrorist organization. This political movement must be eliminated until there is a deal about the final suspension of the armed conflict.
- Every matter related o our military, must be nonnegotiable. Everyone knows of the intention to weaken our military, the only real and effective brake that prevents them from implementing an extreme-left regime in the immediate future. During this process of negotiations, some undoubtedly will try to impose some minimum conditions like the definitive elimination of the military legal privilege and military penal justice, a revision of the labor situation of our fighters in the capacity of special regime, a reduction of manpower and significant budget reductions. They could also include the creation of a national guard or national militia which could be integrated by demobilized terrorists.
- There exists great concern regarding the possible negotiation that the military can be subject to like in a number of previous times. To avoid this risk, officials who are part of the active reserve of our military forces consider it indispensable to have a broad participation of permanent nature at the negotiation tables and not in different mechanisms like where announced recently to the Colombian Communist Party by the President of the Republic. For this purpose, one could think of the representation of three officials, one for every force who would be acting as permanent spokesmen of plenipotentiary character, leading the spokesmanship of the institution. To facilitate this, the Defense Minister could create an advisory team comprised of highly-skilled specialists in the field of negotiations, political scientists, reporters, etc.