According to the former president, the FARC refused to enter dialogues with his government because they were always asked for “a verifiable ceasing of criminal activities.”
“Why was there no humanitarian accord with the FARC?,” Uribe asked himself on Twitter; “I authorized all who wanted to be facilitators. The Europeans proposed to open a military corridor in [the southwestern] Valle del Cauca [department] because allegedly the FARC would then liberate the kidnapped. We did it and the FARC did bot comply.”
Radio Viva Cali, Farc no aceptó dialogar con nuestro Gbno porque siempre se le exigió cese verificable de actividades criminalales
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) May 28, 2013
During the Uribe era, humanitarian exchange meant a series of proposals to swap imprisoned guerrillas for members of the Colombian armed forces held by the rebels in secret jungle prisons. One of the few known cases of humanitarian exchange was the liberation of FARC’s international spokesperson “Rodrigo Granda,” who was arrested in 2004. Granda was released in 2007 after French ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy intervened on his behalf, allegedly to prepare for a possible liberation of the French-Colombian citizen Ingrid Betancourt. Granda is now one of the FARC negotiators in Cuba.
“There was never a humanitarian exchange because our immovable requirement demanded that imprisoned FARC [members] who left prison should not have been able to return to the criminal organization…the terrorist organization did not accept,” Uribe continued.
In April, the former government-appointed Swiss negotiator Jean Pierre Gontard confirmed the Uribe government had sought exploratory peace talks with the rebels as early as 2006. Previously, diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks also indicated the Uribe government’s intention to enter peace talks with the FARC.
The ex-president’s comments came a few days after the FARC and the Colombian government announced a written agreement on agrarian reform, the first point of five up for negotiation at the ongoing peace talks in Havana, Cuba.
Uribe, who is credited for launching a U.S.-backed military crackdown on rebels during his 2002-2010 mandates, has been a frequent critic of the peace talks, stating the Colombian government was giving too much of a voice to the FARC.
Rebel and government negotiators are currently seated in Havana to bring an end to nearly half a century of armed conflict. The warring parties have recessed until June 11, when they will reunite to discuss the second point on the agenda; the FARC’s future political participation.