Ongoing peace talks between Colombia’s government and the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC, are “illegal” and should have ended long ago, according to the presidential candidate running for former president Alvaro Uribe‘s new political party.
Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, who is running for the Uribe Democratic Center party, spoke in harsh terms about the peace process on Monday, describing it as “”still dead and badly thought out” and continuing in an “illegal” manner.
The former minister of finance during the administrations of former-president Uribe was elected to run as the Democratic Center’s candidate in the upcoming presidential election in May next year just this past weekend. He beat former Vice-President Francisco Santos and former Interior Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo at the party’s convention in Bogota on Saturday.
Zuluaga said that “peace is not being negotiated in Havana, the model of the country is not being negotiated with the FARC, those that have not wanted peace are the FARC.”
The presidential hopeful compared the peace process to the negotiations held with Colombia’s largest right-wing paramilitary group during, the Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC), during the Uribe administration.
He said that during the discussions, which purportedly ended with the AUC’s demobilization, there were not discussions of the country’s political agenda. The comments are a thinly veiled attack on the fact that issues such as political participation of the FARC, land reform and potential constitutional change are part of the dialogue between FARC and government negotiators.