FARC Celebrates Historic Peace Deal

President Obama yesterday congratulated his Colombian counterpart, Juan Miguel Santos, on the historic peace agreement with Farc. The guerillas, holding their 10th National Conference, (background here) celebrated with a mini-Woodstock.

Daylong deliberations ended with nightly concerts on a huge outdoor stage complete with a smoke machine. The guerrillas sang along with fervor to staples of Latin America’s revolutionary repertoire such as El Pueblo Unido (“The People United”) and swayed their hips to the cumbia rhythm of an all-guerrilla band called the Rebels of the South whose songs speak of the end of the war and impending peace.

“It’s a strange mix of an internal consultative process about the peace accord … and a mini Farc Woodstock,” said Alex Fattal, an American anthropologist from the University of Pennsylvania studying the Farc’s media strategy.


The official signing is September 26 in Bogota. John Kerry and others will attend. Colombians will vote on the referendum on October 2.

Meanwhile, leaders of the now-disbanded paramilitaries, many of whom have been extradited to the U.S., want in on the peace process. Among those joining to write a letter:

“Don Berna,” who ran Medellin’s underworld after taking over the Oficina de Envigado following the death of founder Pablo Escobar. The remaining 16 commanders include “Ernesto Baez,” one of the main ideologists of the extreme-right group, and “Julian Bolivar” and “El Iguano” whose testimonies helped incarcerate numerous politicians who used the AUC’s death squads to intimidate voters and eliminate political competition.

Salvatore Mancuso, who was the commander-in-chief of the group after the murder of founder Carlos Castaño in 2014, did not sign the letter.

The paramilitary leaders say they got screwed.

A transitional justice court that will take force once peace with the FARC is formalized will try approximately 12,000 businessmen, other civilians and public servants accused of supporting the AUC, a designated terrorist group before its dissolution.

“We took part in a peace process in the hope to contribute to the solution of the Colombian armed conflict. We kept our word as we demobilized a little more than 30,000 fighters and surrendered our weapons. Nevertheless, the result was our extradition and long sentences in the United States. This can not be the way to resolve the conflict and find peace in Colombia,” the former paramilitary commanders wrote.

It was President Uribe who ordered their extradition. He now opposes the peace agreement. The paramilitary leaders say:

The country needs to turn around completely, independent of one’s left-leaning or right-leaning character, and say YES in the plebiscite and YES to the process of reconciliation,” said the former paramilitaries.

The AUC commanders said that they “have our hands outstretched and our hearts open to return to Colombia and contribute to peace.”

They may be willing to bury the hatchet with FARC (which I doubt) but FARC still fears the paramilitaries.

While I'm sure there's enough blame to go around, I don't trust the right-wing paramilitaries that have worked hand and glove with corrupt police, politicians and military and carried out a "scorched earth" campaign against FARC, . And I especially don't trust former President Alvaro Uribe.

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  • Display: Sort:
    still, a peace agreement is very positive (none / 0) (#1)
    by linea on Thu Sep 22, 2016 at 08:20:01 PM EST
    i had a university professor (fiction writing) who was very fond of me. he was a communist but no longer believed it was a practical ideology based on the actions of the revolutionaries and horrible outcomes of the post-revolution governments in south america. i was fond of him too.