“We will not negotiate with the FARC without conditions,” says Colombia’s vice president Monday in response to a letter from the FARC that denies responsibility for recent atrocities and accuses the government of falsifying reports.
Vice President Angelino Garzon spoke out last week at the New Economy Forum in Madrid saying that Colombian government will not negotiate with the FARC if the FARC does not accept certain conditions or if the proposed dialogues are actually a “war strategy” to gain time with which to continue their illegal activity.
Garzon reiterated the words of Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos saying “we aren’t only obsessed with military victory, but if there are going to be negotiations they should be with conditions.” Among those conditions, said Garzon, is the release of all the hostages, an end to drug trafficking, a “cease to the inhumane practice of using landmines,” and the “release of all of the adults and children that have been forcibly recruited and abandoned on the path to terrorism and crime.”
He pointed out that these organizations have caused great suffering to the country for 62 years adding that “we are not fighting nuns of charity.” Entering into a dialogue with the guerrilla’s could be a “political mistake because previous governments have tried it and it has cost us dearly,” said Garzon.
“Some of the cruelties committed by the FARC didn’t even occur in some Nazi concentration camps,” said the vice president, referring to the kidnapping and 12-year imprisonment of a former police chief and now general, Luis Mendieta.
He concluded by noting that the fight against guerrillas, drug trafficking, and illegal organizations “should always be done with the most absolute respect for human rights,” reiteration President Santos’ message of forgiveness and reconciliation “if they [the FARC] abandon the path of terrorism.”