Peace talks

FARC peace process “coming to an end”

The government’s top peace negotiator Humberto de la Calle, this week said the Havana dialogues were approaching their conclusion. Some took this as a threat to the FARC that the government would walk away from the table if it didn’t deescalate the guerrilla violence. The FARC “responded” by calling a month-long unilateral ceasefire.

But is this part of a game to soften the public up to the idea of a bilateral ceasefire in which the Colombian army halt all military action against the FARC? If so, President Santos is being well and truly outsmarted by the FARC negotiating team.  Read more…

Don’t blame Colombians for FARC war

Kevin Howlett argues that while peace can only be achieved through negotiation, Colombians shouldn’t be castigated for wanting their president to shock and awe the guerrillas. Whether Colombians believe in peace or not, it is not they, but only the FARC, who can stop this nihilist war. The blame lies at the feet of the FARC (yes, and other actors too), not their victims.   Read more…

FARC peace accords signed by 22 February

Peace with the FARC guerrillas must be signed by 22 February to be put to a referendum on 25 October; the day of Colombia’s local and regional elections.

Colombia’s Constitutional Court has ruled that President Santos must present any peace agreement with the Marxist rebels to Congress no later than 24 February, and that the public must be told in advance of this date.

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Colombia’s search for peace, two years on

Colombia’s peace talks with the FARC guerrillas began exactly two years ago. Partial agreement has been reached on half the agenda. No previous attempt to end the 50 year war has come this far. But scepticism remains and opposition to the talks is hardening.

Yes, President Santos won reelection this summer on a peace ticket, but despite the progress and the hype, in reality we are far from knowing whether he can deliver.

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Keep FARC leader Timochenko alive for peace?

Colombia has a loose-tongued president.

Yesterday, Juan Manuel Santos told us he knew where FARC commander alias Timochenko is hiding, but claimed he’d “think twice” before ordering a shoot-to-kill.

Mr Santos believes Timochenko is essential to the peace talks in Havana and that removing him would spell an end to the dialogues.

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Vote for peace, vote for Santos?


If Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has his way May’s election will be a referendum on one issue; peace negotiations with the FARC guerrillas.

One of Santos’ campaign slogans is “together for peace”, while his logo reminds me of a dove draped in the LGBT rainbow flag. The “president-candidate” as he is now called, even claimed this week that “changing the captain” at half-time would lead to an untimely and unsuccessful end to the Havana talks. Read more…

Restoring faith in Colombia`s military

How can we rebuild trust in Colombia`s military?

How to repair a reputation trashed by corruption, illegal espionage, and extra-judiciary civilian killings?

Two major scandals in less than a week have forced Santos to sack his military top brass and promise a purge of the bad apples in the lower ranks.

But this is unlikely to arrest the decline in the institution`s standing. Read more…