End of FARC Truce Exerts Pressure on Colombia’s Peace Process
By Dialogo February 04, 2013
Attacks on an oil pipe, kidnapped police officers, and Soldiers killed in combat are the events that followed the end of FARC’s unilateral truce and which are exerting pressure on the peace talks carried out in Havana by the insurgency and President Juan Manuel Santos’ government.
The unilateral ceasefire offered by the FARC as a goodwill gesture, came to an end on January 20, after which the guerrillas resumed their attacks, especially in southern Colombia, where they have a stronger presence.
In just over a week, the FARC attacked the Trasandino pipeline, which transports oil from Ecuador, and kidnapped two police officers. Furthermore, the rebels killed four Soldiers in a confrontation on January 31, when the peace talks resumed in Havana, according to the authorities.
Also on January 31, five FARC guerrillas died in a confrontation with the Nudo Paramillo joint task force’s of Military contingent, in northwest Antioquia department.
On January 31, President Santos warned the FARC that he was not going to declare a truce as a result of their pressure through kidnapping.
“If the FARC believe that they will put the government under pressure through the threat of kidnapping in order to obtain what they want …, they are wrong,” Santos said at a public ceremony in the Caribbean port of Cartagena (677 miles north of Bogotá).
Iván Márquez, leader of the guerrilla delegation in Cuba and FARC’s number two, confirmed that they have returned to armed actions, while at the same time insisted on a bilateral ceasefire, an option repeatedly rejected by President Juan Manuel Santos’ government, which is looking to maintain military pressure to achieve an agreement that would end the conflict that has been going for almost fifty years in Colombia.
Also, Márquez put into question the guerrilla’s responsibility for the police officers’ kidnapping. “So far, we do not have any official report on whether the FARC did it or not,” he said on January 31.
Considering the escalation of confrontations, Santos was prudent, and confirmed that the process is moving “on the right path.”
“They (the guerrillas) do not have the military capacity to do anything different from terrorist actions or depriving Colombians of their freedom, whether they are civilians or militaries,” the head of state added.
The FARC had renounced to kidnappings on February 2012 and released the last ten police and military members they had in their custody, a demand that Santos made publicly as a condition to consider the possibility of a peace process.