Uribe Rejects Internationalization of Colombian Peace Process with Guerrillas

By Dialogo
July 29, 2010

When Guerrillas are weak they ask for a peace process, but what they really want is stop military pressure to keep trading cocaine seeking growth and empowerment. Chavez should not shelt FARC, that has done a lot of damage and horror in Colombia.

Colombian president Alvaro Uribe rejected any internationalization of a peace
process with his country’s weakened leftist guerrilla groups, since this would allow
the groups to “gain breathing space,” in the middle of a dispute with Venezuela that
is centered on the rebels.

Bogotá and Caracas are facing their worst clash in two decades, since
accusations by Uribe’s administration that its neighbor is sheltering FARC and ELN guerrilla leaders
have led Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez’s administration to break off diplomatic
relations.

For Uribe, who will leave office on 7 August following two terms in which he
has been in political and ideological confrontation with Chávez, the danger is that
the guerilla groups that he has fought with a heavy hand and internationally
recognized success will lash out once again.

“Be careful about loosening your hold on the snake, because it’s half asleep,
but if we stop squeezing its neck, it will gain breathing space again,” he said at a
farewell ceremony at the Defense Ministry, using his habitual metaphorical
language.

The president’s statement was made while the Venezuelan foreign minister,
Nicolás Maduro, is on a hastily-organized trip through South America, laying the
groundwork for the presentation of a proposal to the regional block Unasur on
Thursday to establish the basis for a Colombian peace process.

Chávez’s administration broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia last
Thursday, rejecting Bogotá’s accusations, made to the OAS,
that Venezuela is tolerating the presence of 1,500 guerrillas on its
territory.

Bogotá asked the Organization of American States (OAS) to send an international commission to Venezuela to verify its
accusations and has insisted that its aim is not to set up a confrontation with its
neighbor, but rather to put an end to the leftist guerrilla groups, with which its
security forces have been at war for decades.

“We are only asking that the international community comply with the
international norms with which we comply, which are to not give shelter to terrorism
and to combat it,” the president specified.

Uribe’s administration, with the help of its ally, the United States, has
weakened the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
and the National Liberation Army (ELN) – considered
terrorists by Washington and the European Union – and has succeeded in causing
the demobilization of some rebels and the retreat of these groups to jungle
locations.

Although Uribe affirms that the insurgents have lost almost half of the
capacity they had at the beginning of the decade, in 2000, they still control remote
regions where, according to the government, they support themselves from the
production and trafficking of illegal drugs.



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