The Colombian Government and the left-wing FARC rebel movement have resumed their peace negotiations in Havana following the release of an Army general who was kidnapped by FARC guerrillas last month. CCTV America’s Michael Voss reported this story from Havana.
Both sides headed back to the negotiating table on Wednesday trying to find a way to end the longest running armed conflict in the Americas.
After two years of slow but steady progress, it looked as if the whole process could unravel following the kidnapping of General Ruben Alzate, the highest ranking soldier ever captured by FARC.
A senior FARC commander flew from Cuba to Colombia to secure the general’s release after two weeks in captivity. The Colombian government said it offered no deals or concessions to the rebels to obtain his release or to resume the talks.
“None of this was based on secret, unacceptable concessions. The FARC didn’t ask for concessions to restart the negotiations and even if they had, we would not have accepted them,” Chief Government negotiator Humberto de la Calle said.
The 50 year conflict has claimed some 220,000 lives. FARC leaders said government troops and right-wing paramilitaries must also accept blame.
“Any independent observer can see the disproportion in weapons between FARC and the State. Holding FARC alone accountable is as ridiculous as making little David a criminal for using a sling and stones against the giant warrior Goliath,” FARC negotiator Pablo Catatumbo said.
Before the peace talks were suspended, victims of the conflict were invited to attend the discussions. A final group will arrive later this month as the two sides consider the issue of victim’s rights and who should be punished for past crimes.
Colombia peace talks: effort to end longest armed conflict in AmericasThe Colombian Government and the left-wing FARC rebel movement have resumed their peace negotiations in Havana following the release of an Army general who was kidnapped by FARC guerrillas last month. CCTV America’s Michael Voss reported this story from Havana.
Bernardo Perez Salazar discusses the Colombia peace talks
CCTV America interviewed Bernardo Perez Salazar about the peace talks. He works for the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation and has been a part of the peace process firsthand having been in touch with FARC rebels.