Senior FARC commander “Fabian Ramirez,” says the Colombian government and the country’s largest rebel group should talk about a peace deal, in a video interview broadcast Tuesday.
The commander, previously believed to have been killed in an air strike in 2010, said in an interview with British journalist Karl Penhaul that the guerrilla group was interested in discussing peace with the government, but claimed the “political and economic interests of the very powerful” were trying to impede it.
“Here we can end this war and reach a government-guerrilla agreement, without hate, without advantages, [but] compromising, seeing what makes sense. This is not where you say: ‘surrender your weapons and stop attacking the armed forces’. No, that is not the way it is. Here, in order to end the war, you have to end the underlying causes,” Ramirez stated.
According to the FARC commander it is not his rebel group but Colombia’s elite that is against peace.
“The political class of this country does not want [peace]. The soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers of lower rank know we have to meet, they know it and they want to do it, but their highest commanders, their superiors do not want it because if the business ends, they will get no more money,” said the FARC commander.
In response to Ramirez, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon told television network Caracol he had “no comment about a terrorist leader, a drug trafficker, who has kidnapped, who consistently has been part of an organization that systematically has lied to Colombia.”
Ramirez was reported dead by Colombian authorities after an air strike in November 2010 in the southern Caqueta department. However, his body was never found and rumors of his return to southern Colombia after being hospitalized in Ecuador began to surface in April 2012.
The senior guerrilla is the second-in-command of the FARC’s Southern Bloc, one of the most financially powerful fighting units of the guerilla group due to its extensive involvement in southern Colombia’s drug trade.