FARC faction rejects gov’t ceasefire, ask others to join in opposition

World Today

FARC faction rejects gov't ceasefire, ask others to join in opposition

In a blow to four-years of peace talks, a faction of Colombia’s largest guerrilla group said it won’t join the ceasefire.

CCTV’s Toby Muse in Bogotá reports on the rebels who won’t lay down their arms. Follow Toby Muse on Twitter @tobymuse

The Armando Rios First Front, a unit of the FARC rebels, said in a statement that it won’t disarm and also invited other guerrillas to oppose the peace process.

According to a statement from the First Front, the peace talks are aimed at disarming the guerrillas and not “thinking of solutions for the social and economic problems of the country.” But there is already speculation that its desire to get further into the cocaine business is the real reason the group is abandoning talks.

It’s an ominous sign. Internal dissent among the guerrillas could derail a peace process that seemed to be going well.

In recent weeks, the government and the FARC declared a bilateral ceasefire — just a short step away from an overall peace deal that would end the world’s longest-running war.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos responded to the renegade guerrillas with a quick and forceful threat.

“I assure you that those who don’t negotiate will end up in a prison cell or in a tomb,” Santos said. 

FARC leaders condemned First Front. In a statement, FARC chiefs said any faction that rejects the peace deal will automatically be ejected from the organization.

Analyst Jorge Restrepo said other factions will likely leave the FARC to continue working in illegal gold mining and drug trafficking.

“It’s very probable that some of these groups will see that they can’t get political power in the popular vote and will decide to stick to their criminal activities,” Restrepo said.

The announcement also reveals that the guerrilla group has less than total control over its fighters.