Minister of Defense Rodrigo Rivera has offered a “second chance” for guerrillas who demobilize, through benefits and incentives, but closed that door to criminal gangs, who he said must surrender to justice.
During the presentation of a new government campaign to encourage demobilization, Rivera reiterated the benefits that guerrillas will be given in return for demobilizing, EFE reported Wednesday.
Under the new strategy, for which the motto is “Audacia y Libertad” (Courage and Freedom), the Colombian forces will search for the guerrillas deep in the jungle and organize “meeting points” where guerrillas will have an opportunity to disarm and be given a “second chance.”
The minister withheld this opportunity from members of criminal organizations, collectively referred to by Colombian officials as “bacrim”, for whom he said that “submitting to justice” was the only option.
Echoing the words of Police Chief Oscar Naranjo, who on Tuesday rejected any dialogue with criminal gang members despite a bishop’s claim that some 5,000 want to demobilize, Rivera drew a clear distinction between the illegal armed groups.
“When we talk of narco-trafficking groups and of criminal gangs, the legal framework is different for the demobilization of guerrilla groups,” he stated.