Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday praised the “near unanimous” support he received Tuesday from both Democratic and Republican party leaders for ongoing peace talks with rebel group FARC.
President Juan Manuel Santos met with US President Barack Obama where the North American president offered “complete” support for the peace process.
While in Washington, Santos also met with Democratic and Republican party leaders, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), who, according to Santos, offered support for the peace process.
Santos argued that United States’ Plan Colombia, referring to US legislation aimed at curbing drug trafficking and the left wing rebel insurgency in Colombia, has been “possibly the most successful bipartisan initiative in recent times.”
Plan Colombia has been criticized by human rights group Amnesty International.
“Plan Colombia is based on a drug-focused analysis of the roots of the conflict and the human rights crisis which completely ignores the Colombian state’s own historical and current responsibility,” said the Amnesty International press release. “As a consequence, the human rights component of Plan Colombia is seriously flawed.”
Santos argued that the Colombian government’s reputation has improved as a result of the peace effort.
“The support of all sectors of the United States for Colombia is nearly unanimous,” said Santos. “I received no serious grievances, no serious criticisms… this is a very different world than the one of a few years ago, when there were protests over the Colombian government’s presence in Washington.”
The Colombian president added that it is “very important” that the US president and government support the peace process.
Colombia’s government has been engaged in peace talks with the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC, in Havana, Cuba, for over a year. So far the talks have reached substantial tentative compromises on contentious issues of political participation and agrarian land reform.
Colombia has been in a near constant state of violent conflict since before 1964, when the Marxist FARC guerrillas first took up arms in what later became an attempt to violently overthrow the country’s government. Since then, the conflict has left an estimated 220,000 people dead and 4.5 million displaced.
- OEA y líderes de los partidos Demócrata y Republicano de EEUU también respaldan la paz en Colombia (Radio Santa Fe)
- Amnesty International’s position on Plan Colombia (Amnesty International public statement)