Colombians have been waiting for peace for a very long time. But all sides need to want to put an end to this more than 40-year internal war for it to stop.
President Juan Manuel Santos’ efforts to negotiate with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) isn’t the first time this has been tried over the course of the conflict. Past experiences have shown how strong those opposed to a negotiated peace within the FARC and within some political sectors close to former President Uribe are willing to go to undermine the process. A war like this has left deep wounds that are difficult to heal and unfinished retributions that some still want to settle at all cost.
Santos doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past, which is why there is no truce with FARC in place nor areas where FARC is protected. Rather, Santos is negotiating from a position of strength.
The FARC, for its part, lost its most hard-line military leaders in recent years creating an internal political space open to considering negotiation. However, FARC still has the memory of the murder of its representatives when decades ago they tried to integrate into the political process via the Patriotic Union.
The five points for negotiation are clear: The definition of a “policy of comprehensive agrarian development” is vague, but the solution to issues of drugs, the reintegration into civil society and the formation of a political opposition are all key to a peaceful outcome.
We’re concerned that FARC has, since the outset, put obstacles in the way such as including among its negotiators Simon Trinidad, who is serving a 60-year sentence in the United States. This is not a positive sign.
We hope that the upcoming October meeting between the government and the guerilla group, to be held in Norway, will be the beginning of the path towards peace, even though it will may be long and difficult road ahead.