Colombian Government and Guerrilla Talks Resume in Havana

By Dialogo
December 07, 2012

The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas resumed their talks in Havana late on December 5, after a five-day recess. The rebels have called on the Colombian society to embrace this process in order to assure “an enduring peace.”

The talks, with the first round held between November 19 – 29, resumed amidst new tensions due to the one-year deadline established by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to negotiate, after a military attack that killed 20 rebels, and a controversy over the FARC’s alleged kidnapping of people.

“Our work aims at embracing all Colombian voices in the peace talk process. We believe that this is the only way by which we can create a lasting peace,” the guerrillas said in declarations read by delegate Marcos Calarcá, before starting the second round of talks.

The Colombian government’s delegation, headed by former vice president Humberto de la Calle, avoided the press by accessing the premises through a back door in the Convention Palace in Havana, where the negotiations are being held.

FARC chief negotiator Iván Márquez, also entered the building through a back door, escorted by Ricardo Téllez and Jesús Santrich while Calarcá was reading the declaration, AFP journalists informed.

Meanwhile, Calarcá said, “we have all been both participants and victims of a conflict that has already been a burden to the whole nation. Peace can never be the result of a dialogue held without participation by the Colombian people, by the high commands, by unilateral imposition.”

Before departing from Bogotá to Havana on December 4, De la Calle called on the FARC to clarify their position regarding kidnappings, after a guerilla said they are keeping “prisoners of war,” even though in February they claimed to have abandoned those practices.

“The FARC must respond to the victims; they must clarify the kidnapping issue,” De la Calle highlighted, after Sandra Ramírez – FARC’s founder Manuel Marulanda’s widow – told the press that her organization was holding Colombian Military and Police officers as prisoners of war.