Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos sent his brother to privately meet with FARC rebel leader “Timochenko” in Cuba to negotiate a conclave between negotiators that could speed up three-year-long peace talks seeking to end the country’s 51-year-long conflict.
Since the beginning of the talks, the negotiators have been meeting for specific periods of time with days in between for rest, internal debates and contact with their respective organizations in Colombia.
However, the dragging talks and periods of extreme violence during the talks have put pressure on popular support on the talks and have kept Colombians’ confidence in the outcome of the talks low.
In September, when presenting a transitional justice deal, both Santos and Timochenko committed to a March 23 deadline for a final peace deal to be signed. Later, both negotiating teams challenged each other to agree to a bilateral ceasefire before December 16.
However, a variety of important issues are pending and — even though negotiators have promised to speed up the talks — new results are yet to be seen.
So, in order to make sure that the remaining topics, “Victims” and “End of Conflict” are agreed on, and the warring parties can announce their bilateral ceasefire and subsequent peace deal before the self-imposed deadlines, more action apparently is needed according to Santos.
The president’s brother, Enrique, is a renowned journalist and was deeply involved in the exploratory talks between the FARC leadership and the government before they were formally announced in August, 2012.
Santos’ announced his older brother’s trip to Cuba on Saturday, explaining he had sent him “as my personal messenger” with the clear instruction to meet with Timochenko and agree to a conclave, which would bound the negotiators to a marathon negotiation “and don’t leave from there until all negotiation points are resolved.”