Colombia’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, admitted this week that it is responsible for acts of war. The announcement was made in Cuba where the government and rebels are discussing the issue of compensation for victims. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reports from Bogota.
FARC admitted it was responsible for its actions committed during 50 years of internal conflict. The acknowledgment this week at peace talks in Cuba is the first of its kind by the FARC.
Pablo Atrato, the guerrila negotiator, said, “We take responsibility for each and every one of the acts of war committed by our ranks under the orders and instructions given by our command, and we assume their repercussions.”
The FARC did not give further details as to what it would do to accept responsibility, or if the group with about 8,000 members is willing to accept prison terms. There have been negotiations over whether some rebels could be offered shorter sentences in exchange for giving up their weapons. Many conservative politicians are afraid that the rebels will receive amnesty, if a peace agreement is reached.
As negotiations continue at a slow pace in Havana, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos remains optimistic.
Santos is gearing up for a six country European tour next week, where he’s expected to lobby for the creation of a European fund for the post-conflict period.
Juan Manuel Santos said, “(We have) investments in development projects to substitute illegal coca crops, investments in public works and investments in projects for the processes of reinsertion, so we can train former guerrilla members to be productive citizens.”
Colombia’s war is the longest running conflict in Latin America. The government says more than 220,000 people have been killed and 5 million displaced during the five decade’s long conflict.