Colombia’s armed forces will not permit the ascension of FARC successor groups if the upcoming peace talks prove successful, claimed the defense minister Thursday.
“If at the end we are fortunate to get the win and achieve peace, that peace will also come with an active presence of the State (…) We will not allow heirs of war to arise,” declared Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon.
Pinzon believed that an active military presence in regions held by FARC, even following a peace accord, would be essential to Colombia’s security. “This is critical, otherwise there remains the possibility of illegal economic activity and a validation of criminal activity as we have seen in other processes,” he said.
Pinzon’s comments addressed growing concerns that FARC combatants may form successor groups and continue committing crimes, as was the case following the paramilitary demobilizations during former president Alvaro Uribe’s administrations (2002-2010) according to newspaper El Espectador.
Nearly 30,000 paramilitaries went through demobilization ceremonies between 2003 and 2006, after which the government asserted that paramilitaries no longer existed. However, rather than integrating with mainstream Colombian society, many of these demobilized fighters joined neo-paramilitary outfits, such as the Black Eagles and Urabeños.
With peace talks set to resume in early October, the defense minister reiterated that, “If the FARC does not accept the government’s generous offer, they will continue to receive strong blows… today [FARC] is not even a shadow of what they were 10 years ago, in terms of armed capacity, men and resources.”