The supreme commander of Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, the FARC, reiterated his concern that the Colombian government would “obscure evidence” concerning victims of the armed conflict during the next round of peace talks.
FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez, alias “Timochenko,” released a letter that announced his qualms with the current organization of the peace talks amid worries that the government will continually cast the guerrilla group in a negative light, Bogota‘s Caracol Radio reported on Monday.
“We know they will do everything in their power to silence us, to obscure the evidence that is uncomfortable to them, and to highlight whatever is useful to them,” the rebel leader stated in a letter posted to the FARC’s official website.
The Colombian government has been re-engaged in peace negotiations with the country’s most prominent rebel group since July 15. The current discussion surrounds victim participation in the dialogues, which will consist of five separate delegations of up to 12 victims each to meet with Colombia’s government and the FARC in Havana, Cuba starting August 16.
Fifteen delegates were selected in early June to represent victims for the first time in the FARC peace negotiations.
FARC wants a “historical reconstruction” of all events of the conflict
The FARC has been supportive of the inclusion of victim representation, hoping that dialogues will bring out a well-rounded conversation that confronts the hard realities of both the government’s actions as well as those of the armed group over the 50-year conflict.
“We are encouraged that this is not a harmless debate between their word and ours, but an exhibition of completed acts, historical reconstruction of the origins and the realities of the conflict developed jointly with the Colombian people, and in which we have nothing to fear,” Timochenko said in his letter.
In a sentence that grasped the media’s attention, the rebel leader showed pride for the legacy of the FARC and its decades of fighting.”We are Colombian guerrillas, active militants of a revolutionary organization that just completed fifty years of invincible fighting,” Timochenko wrote.”We are proud of it, and do not regret even for a moment what was done. And we never will.”
The rebel leader cited government corruption, multimillionaire companies bribing top officials, and the “imperial power of the United States to defend its hegemony on the continent through intervention and military pacts” as some of the reasons for the FARC’s prolonged existence.
“By combating this regime of state terror that must end, thousands of sons and daughters of the people gave their lives in the fields and cities of Colombia,” Timochenko wrote in the letter. “These are the Colombian guerrillas that Santos y Uribe dream to have in the public pillory.”
Reaction to Timochenko’s statement
Colombia’s Minister of Defense Juan Carlos Pinzon reacted negatively to the recent declaration by the rebel leader in an interview with Bogota’s Blu Radio.
“The only relevant thing is what they say in La Habana, and what they agree on there, the rest is just noise,” the minister said.
The minister also denounced the recent attacks by the FARC, including one on an aqueduct in the rural area of Irique, Meta, that left 16,000 people without access to potable water.
Victims of the FARC also denounced Timochenko’s words, calling the publication “unfortunate,” Caracol Radio reported.
“At this time it is good to recognize all of the crimes that they have made during these 50 years of barbarism,” said General Luis Mendienta, who was kidnapped during a FARC operation in the Amazonian city of Mitu, Vaupes.
- Farc cuestionan manejo del tema de víctimas y dicen no temer a la verdad (Caracol Radio)
- “Lo único relevante es lo hablado en La Habana, el resto es ruido”: MinDefensa (Blu Radio)
- Víctimas de Farc califican como lamentable el comunicado de ‘Timochenko’ (Caracol Radio)
- El verdadero enfoque del punto sobre las víctimas (FARC official website)