The FARC‘s top political leader, “Ivan Marquez,” said Tuesday that he will not take office as senator unless one of the group’s main ideologues is released from jail.
Marquez, whose real name is Luciano Marin, told public television network Canal 1 that the recent arrest of “Jesus Santrich” on a US drug trafficking claim proves former guerrillas lack guarantees that would allow their political participation.
Visibly frustrated, the former rebel leader said that he would remain in a demobilized guerrilla camp in the south of the country until the government complies with the peace agreement that was signed in November 2016.
According to Marquez, he would rather stay in the south of Colombia surrounded by demobilized guerrillas than attend the July 20 ceremony that would see him being sworn in as the FARC’s first ever senate leader.
The FARC leader urged President Juan Manuel Santos, whose administration has come under fire over chronic failures to execute the peace deal, to “get serious.”
How am I going to go there on July 20 as senator and they tell me I’m a drug trafficker? I am not into that stuff. We need respect, I prefer leaving that fuckery over there.
According to Marquez, the possible extradition of Santrich would mean the end of the peace process he negotiated for more than four years in an attempt to end more than half a century of armed conflict.
We wholeheartedly wanted this to change and be allowed to enter politics (…) It may be that we are nothing now because we don’t have weapons, but our dream was to give up our weapons to participate in politics.
The FARC leader reiterated earlier beliefs that DEA claims that Santrich tried to smuggle drugs to the US was a “hoax.”
He would have access to 10 tons of cocaine. Where? How? Let them tell us from where. He would have a fleet of airplanes. Where is that fleet of airplanes?
The transitional justice tribunal that came into force to prosecute war crimes by the FARC and the military will determine whether the evidence surrendered by Colombia’s prosecution is enough to expel Santrich from the peace process.
The group ideologue is in poor health as the result of a hunger strike he called after his arrest.
Independent observers have said that more than 1,200 former FARC members have joined dissident guerrilla factions.