The Colombian government and FARC returned to peace talks Monday under a cloud of mistrust created by recent spying and corruption allegations in the military.
The 21st round of talks between the FARC and the Colombian government initiated a dialogue seeking to find an agreement on drug policy in a post-conflict scenario.
The talks have focused on reaching an accord on two specific themes in the drugs point of the agenda, the prevention of trafficking and consumption.
Despite achieving a consensus in mid-February on a first sub-point in the drug section of the Cuba peace negotiations, the FARC and government negotiators will likely find more difficulty on the other two sub-points as the rebels said to have lost a some faith over a scandal involving the military allegedly wiretapping negotiators.
The Colombian military is facing accusation of wiretapping the peace talks while embezzling funds for the war against the rebels.
The embarrassing allegations have brewed anger and mistrust in the FARC who released a press release Monday blaming some members of the military for attempting to sabotage the peace talks for their own benefit.
The FARC blamed officials within the military of trying “to prolong the war for some military, better called corrupt and mafia-like warmongers, to get rich through lucrative war contracts at the expense of the nation.”
Although the FARC lashed the military with verbal barbs, the rebel group’s tone implied they were still focused on developing the peace talks saying “reconciliation and peace in Colombia depends on the intelligence with which we’ll all be able to manage issues.”
Government negotiator Humberto de la Calle in response sent out a press release saying the FARC “present themselves as the judges of Colombia’s institutions, particularly our military.”
De la Calle added that if the FARC wanted to change how Colombia’s government works, they should do so peacefully.
“If the FARC want to take part in the public debate, what they need to do is make quick progress to an accord to end the conflict and show concrete signs of commitment to the values and proceedings of a democracy,” the government negotiator said.
The first main point of the peace talks concerning land and rural development was agreed upon in May 2013. The second, which will protect the political rights of the rebel group, was confirmed in November 2013. If negotiators are able find agreement on drug trafficking and consumption, they would initially discuss victim reparation before moving to the practicalities of demobilizing the group estimated to have at least 7,000 fighters, and twice as many unarmed activists.
The FARC is the oldest-living and largest rebel group in Colombia.
- Corrupt military forces in Colombia (FARC Peace delegation)
- Press release government peace delegation
- Hoy se reanuda diálogo entre Gobierno y Farc sobre drogas (Caracol Radio)
- Negociadores del Gobierno listos en La Habana (Confidencial Colombia)