One of the brokers of the truce between Medellin‘s major crime syndicates said Thursday that the eventual failure of the ceasefire will be the government’s fault.
Truce negotiator Jaime Jaramillo Panesso was responding to Peace Commissioner Frank Pearl’s announcement that the government will not authorize the brokers to conduct any more negotiations.
Panesso told Caracol Radio that the Colombian constitution protects human rights, including the rights to life and peace.
“These rights cannot be prohibited by a state official,” said Panesso.
The negotiator denied that any agreement between his civil commission and the government existed which would mean that the negotiators’ work could be suspended or unauthorized.
“Frank Pearl, Commissioner for Peace, will be the one who will have to answer to the city of Medellin, before the society and the country, about the consequences of a possible breaking of the ceasefire that we have achieved with these two criminal groups,” Panesso said.
The government says it authorized the negotiators to speak with members of the Medellin gangs, but only so that the criminals could be brought to justice.
Pearl said Wednesday that gang members would not be offered reduced jail sentences or other rewards in return for peace, as occurred with the demobilization of paramilitary groups under the Justice and Peace Law.
Truce negotiator Jorge Gaviria previously told Colombia Reports that his commission never offered reduced penalties in return for a truce.
“We offered nothing because we had nothing to offer,” he said. “The only offer we could make was a reduction in homicides.”
The ceasefire, in effect since February 1, has already drastically affected Medellin’s homicide rates. Only seven murders were reported last week, down from 231 murders registered in January.