At New York’s Columbia University, Santos accused his main political opponent of intentionally opposing the peace process to continue reaping the benefits of a country in war.
“Mr. Uribe does not like the peace process because he lives off fear and war mongering. War is the best environment to create more fear,” said Santos.
“If we reach peace, this [fear] will disappear, so he will always want a reason to reject it. You are always going to have these types of enemies,” added the president.
The comments made were out of Santos’ character in speaking out about his relatively popular predecessor, who has opposed the peace talks since they were announced in August 2012.
Uribe was quick to reply to Santos’accusations via his Twitter account.
“I helped get Santos elected in 2010 and he brings terrorists to power, burying our politicians who got him elected and offering me prison as a guarantee,” the former president said, referring to the possibility he has to appear before a post-war tribunal over alleged war crimes.
The Santos administration and the FARC, the country’s largest rebel group by far, have been engaged in formal peace talks since November 2012.
Since then, agreements were reached on a rural reform and political inclusion, both considered causes of the conflict, and drug trafficking that has been one of the FARC’s main forms of financing their 51-year-long attempted revolution.
Uribe, whose father was killed by the FARC, has fiercely opposed these talks with a significant minority support among Colombians who are skeptical about the talks.
In the event of peace, both Santos and Uribe could appear before a recently agreed transitional justice post-war tribunal that seeks to prosecute and punish the tens of thousands of war crimes committed by both the FARC and the state.