Colombia’s leading presidential candidate Antanas Mockus on Wednesday promised that if elected president he will continue the military fight against the FARC, unless the group abandons violence and kidnapping, and accepts the constitution.
The statement was made during a visit to Cucuta, where Mockus met with students and residents of the region as part of his campaign.
Mockus said that under his leadership Colombia would not be humiliated again by guerrillas, ruled out autonomous zones for the FARC, and also nixed the the proposed exchange of imprisoned guerrilas for FARC hostages.
“If FARC is banking on the difference in willingness to negotiate between Uribe and me, they should run the whole race and take advantage of these two and a half months and have a lightning-fast peace process, because I guarantee them that they will do better with (Alvaro) Uribe Velez than with Antanas Mockus,” he concluded.
According to Mockus, what ex-mayors such as himself, Lucho Garzon, Enrique Penaloza, and Sergio Fajardo (all current Green Party members) have done for equality, respect for human rights, and the improvement of daily life for citizens is more than FARC has done for social justice in Colombia.
Mockus did say he would be open to negotiating peace, but only if the FARC “rid the world of their weapons and help build Colombia, but while respecting the constitution.”
The candidate noted that the guerrilla group is propped up by drug trafficking, and that if this “scourge” did not exist, then there would already have been a peace process between guerrillas and the government, as has happened in El Salvador and Guatemala.
“A guerrilla without support, and without relationships with drug traffickers for a while, would realize that the Berlin Wall has fallen, and that socialism is a whole other thing these days,” he continued.
Mockus is the leading candidate in most recent polls. Colombia will vote on May 30 to elect a successor to Uribe, whose U.S.-backed offensive against the FARC pushed guerrillas out of the cities and economically vital regions and into more remote rural, jungle and mountainous areas.