Ivan Marquez, lead negotiator for the FARC, on Wednesday expressed his thanks to Nicholas Maduro, acting president of Venezuela, for continuing the “fundamental support” that Chavez offered to the peace talks between Colombia’s government and the rebels.
Marquez’s comments follow a statement by Maduro on Monday reaffirming his commitment to the peace process in Colombia. “This was the most intimate and profound desire of commander Chavez, peace for the people in Colombia, that the [gates] are opened to allow a path where there is reconciliation,” Maduro said.
“Thank you very much, President Maduro, we will work hard here in Havana, [Cuba] to see how we can move forward with negotiations,” Marquez said upon arrival at the Palace of Conventions in Havana, home to the peace dialogues.
Marquez said that the FARC was made “optimistic” by the “many understandings” that they have found with the Colombian government. He stressed that the FARC are “eager and willing ” to enter the issue of political participation, the second item on the agenda of the dialogue.
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos made it a top priority to mend relations with Venezuela after taking office in 2010. His predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, kept a sometimes hostile relation with the government of the neighboring country, accusing it of actively helping FARC guerrillas.