As six more FARC commanders joined peace talks with Colombia’s government in Cuba this week, local media reported that the rebels plan to send more members of their political leadership to Havana.
Among the newly arrived FARC rebels is “Pastor Alape,” the third member of the rebels’ “Secretariat” or highest political body.
With the addition of Alape, whose real name is Felix Antonio Muñoz, three of the FARC’s six top political leaders are now involved in the negotiations with the government that began in November 2012.
MORE: FARC command structure.
Other secretariat members in Cuba are negotiation chief “Ivan Marquez” and “Pablo Catatumbo,” who used to run the rebels’ military operations in southwest Colombia.
According to some media reports, fellow-secretariat members “Joaquin Gomez” and “El Medico” might also be traveling to Cuba where a joint committee of members of the military and rebel commanders have begun negotiating a bilateral ceasefire expected to take power once the substance of the peace agreement is signed off.
Blu Radio reported on Thursday that Gomez is scheduled to go to Cuba on Wednesday. The Southern Bloc commander is alleged to be one of the FARC’s main drug traffickers.
If confirmed, Joaquin’s trip to Cuba would mean that the majority of the FARC’s military and political command will be engaged in peace talks rather than military operations.
The FARC and the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos have been engaged in peace talks since November 2012. If successful, the negotiations will end 50 years of political violence between rebels and state.