“Alfonso Cano,” the supreme leader of Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC says he is “optimistic” about finding an end to his rebel group’s 47-year armed conflict with the state.
In a correspondence with Spanish newspaper Publico, Cano rejected the fact that the U.S., Europe and Colombia itself call the FARC a “narco-terrorist” group and insists the guerrillas fight for ideological reason.
Publico did not interview Cano in person, but was able to send him questions that were responded to by mail.
Cano criticized Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for “imposing a law that closes the doors to dialogue,” but added that he his optimistic that eventually there will be peace talks between guerrillas and government.
Cano insisted the FARC is not holding hostages, but “prisoners of war.” “In a political, social and military confrontation of around 47 years, in which two opponents face each other, you should refer to those captures by these parties as prisoners of war,” explained the FARC leader.
Cano did not deny the guerrilla group is using internationally banned landmines and is committing human rights violations against the Colombian people, but also accused the Colombian state forces of “using civilians as human shield, constructing bases in the middle of populated areas, using public transport to move around and positioning itself among civilian transport for road transport.”
The guerrilla leader admitted that the deaths of prominent commanders like “Ivan Rios,” “Mono Jojoy” and “Raul Reyes” hurt the guerrilla organization, but stressed that the Colombian government has exaggerated its successes through “false positives” or the killing civilians to inflate the guerrilla death toll.
Cano defended the group’s ongoing fighting with the government, “because in Colombia, the democratic and revolutionary opposition is killed by the oligarchy.”