Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday invited his Uruguayan counterpart Jose Mujica, a former left-wing guerrilla, to advise on ongoing peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government.
The invitation from Santos was delivered by Colombia’s foreign minister, Maria Angela Holguin — on tour in the region, who said her government would like Mujica to see the peace process close up and would also be listening to him.
“I think President Mujica has much to say in this area, we have much to learn on the whole issue of reconciliation that Colombia is entering into: a reconciliation process that is vital to the nation,” said Holguin.
Mujica, who led a leftist urban guerrilla movement in Uruguay in the 1960s, has previously expressed support for the peace process internationally, including in a recent meeting with the pope.
Speaking on Blu Radio this morning, the president of Uruguay said that, “Though (Santos) wins nothing else, if he achieves the peace, they will build him a monument.”
He thanked his Colombian counterpart for the invite and said of the peace talks, “It is worth the trouble of trying. Colombia has the resources, there is a historical necessity and it can be done. The problem lies in how much Colombians can trust each other.”
Mujica has been in contact with the Santos government since the beginning of the talks with the guerrillas and said in the interview that he has not had any contact with the FARC.
When asked about the FARC’s stated intention to not surrender their weapons on the signing of a peace deal, President Mujica said that for the sake of peace “We must swallow the toads we have to swallow.”
The peace talks between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas in Havana are currently focused on the political participation of guerrillas in the event of a peace deal.