Peace negotiations between the Colombia government and the FARC will be taking place in both Norway and Cuba with representatives from Venezuela and Chile acting as guarantors, reported newspaper El Espectador Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, the two warring parties had already came very close to a preliminary agreement before on Monday President Juan Manuel Santos took to the airwaves to announce preliminary talks. Venezuelan television network Telesur reported Monday that this deal had already been signed.
El Espectador confirmed reports that Santos’ top security adviser, Sergio Jaramillo, has been leading the exploratory talks and that the FARC sent Mauricio Jaramillo, alias “El Medico.”
According to sources of the newspaper, El Medico arrived in Havana on a government airplane after having been delivered to authorities by the Red Cross.
El Espectador reported that, while the Norwegian capital Oslo will be the place where the official talks will take place, Havana will continue to be the location where most of the preparation talks will take place.
While Venezuela and Chile are reported to be the main guarantors of the process, the newspaper did not rule out the possibility that France, Switzerland and Spain will also play a role in the process.
One of the issues on the agenda is the safe political integration of the rebel movement into the country’s political spectrum. The last time the FARC took part in Colombian politics — the FARC co-founded political party Union Patriotica in 1984 — its political supporters were exterminated by right-wing paramilitary groups and members of the security forces.
A second issue is land reform, which has been a long-standing demand of the FARC and supported by the United Nations who have called for a redistribution of agricultural land of which 52% is owned by little more than 1% of the population.
A key issue that has yet to be defined is a ceasefire between government forces and rebels and the FARC’s involvement in drug trafficking — both issues that are high on the public agenda, said the newspaper.
Senate president Roy Barreras, who met with Interior Minister Federico Renjifo and House president Augusto Posada to discuss legislative support for legislation supporting a peace deal, told newspaper El Tiempo that government and lawmakers agree that no form of amnesty will be included in an expansion of the “framework for peace” as approved by Congress in June.
“Those ultimately responsible for the most atrocious crimes, crimes against humanity, must pay for them,” the senator said. However, the “framework for peace” will allow benefits for those who voluntarily join a demobilization of the FARC, the newspaper reported.
Other major points to be included in the legislation are creating a clear legal distinction between legal armed actors and illegal armed actors, legal implications for members of the FARC who refuse to demobilize, prioritizing the investigation of politicians who allegedly benefited from aligning with the FARC and the creation of a “truth commission,” in charge of investigating crimes committed by the FARC.
The FARC have been fighting the Colombian state since 1964, making them the oldest active insurgency in Latin America. Rumors about peace talks surged in January but were not made official until earlier this week when Santos publicly announced “exploratory talks.” The announcement was positively received by both the United States and the United Nations.