In an open letter addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry, the FARC thanked 62 United States congressmen for their peace process aid package proposal and also requested that the extradited, ideological leader of the rebel group, Simon Trinidad, be present at the peace talks.
The letter from the FARC negotiators in Havana, Cuba was sent apparently in response to an April 18 letter, addressed to John Kerry and signed by 62 United States congressmen, which proposed an aid package to support aspects of the peace process such as the Land Restitution and Victims Law. The FARC emphasized their appreciation for this “altruistic gesture.”
“We appreciate your concern for the victims of the conflict and especially for the misfortune of more than five million internally displaced people, for the massacre of the Patriotic Union and the cases of more than 3,000 victims of extrajudicial execution, the last of which occurred during the administration of Alvaro Uribe Velez,” the FARC letter read, detailing some of the largest human rights catastrophes in Colombia’s recent history.
FARC negotiators culminated the letter by asking for help in getting Simon Trinidad to Havana to join in the peace process. Trinidad, formerly a FARC ideologue, is currently incarcerated in the U.S. where he is serving a 60-year sentence for kidnapping.
The FARC have previously requested a presidential pardon for Trinidad so that he may participate in the peace talks. The U.S. in December 2012 insisted that Trinidad would not be participating. Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the State Department Mike Hammer said “Trinidad committed crimes and will continue to serve his time in jail.”
Despite whatever finality the State Department may have tried to communicate, the FARC have renewed their request.
“Given your total readiness to support the reconciliation [in Colombia], we request your intervention before the government of the United States to facilitate the presence of our spokesperson for peace, Simon Trinidad, prisoner in Florence, Colorado, at the table,” the FARC letter reads.
Overall the letter signifies something of a change in tone on behalf of the FARC, who are known for their anti-imperialist rhetoric which has at times been critical of the U.S. and its involvement in Colombian affairs.
- Saluda el gesto altruista de 62 congresistas de los Estados Unidos (FARC negotiator’s blog)
- Farc cambia discurso frente a Estados Unidos (Caracol Radio)