FARC Guerrillas Arrive in Cuba for Peace Talks

By Dialogo
October 10, 2012

About a dozen members of a negotiation team for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, recently traveled to Cuba to begin scheduled peace talks with the Colombian government in Norway in the next few days, confirmed a guerrilla spokesman on October 8.

Havana received “several members of the delegation that will be part of the talks,” FARC spokesman Hermes Aguilar told the Colombian Blu Radio by phone, from the Cuban capital.

The peace talks are scheduled to start on October 15 with an event in Oslo (Norway) and will subsequently be moved to Havana.

The delegation is made up of 12 guerrilla members that traveled to the island from three Colombian towns: Pasto (Nariño department, southeast), Neiva (Huila, center), and Río Negro (Antioquia, northeast), explained Aguilar.

The FARC spokesman, whose real name is Orlando Jurado, indicated that the trip took place after the Colombian government suspended the arrest warrant against 29 guerrillas that will participate in the talks.

The group that arrived in Cuba was headed by alias “Sargento Pascuas,” one of the few FARC founders (1964) that are still alive, he said.

Aguilar also stated that the Colombian government has not revealed if Simón Trinidad, a FARC commander arrested in the United States, will be able to somehow participate in the process, as the guerrillas had requested, and had included him in their list of negotiators.

The spokesman also confirmed that FARC’s second-in-command and negotiation team leader Iván Márquez, was not in the group that traveled to Cuba.

Hermes Aguilar witnessed previous secret meetings that the FARC and the Colombian government held for months in Havana, where they agreed to start a peace process to resolve the internal armed conflict that has plagued Colombia for almost 50 years.

The peace process – the 4th one launched by the FARC in the last 30 years – will include a main negotiation team of five guerrillas and five government representatives. In total, each party may assign 30 delegates.