In Colombia, former rebels are arguing they’re committed to a two-year-old peace plan. The accord ended a decades-long uprising by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The announcement comes despite reports that some dissident FARC commanders have begun rearming — raising fears that the fragile peace plan could collapse.
CGTN’s Michelle Begue has details from Bogota.
Four of the six missing FARC commanders have reached out to Colombian authorities to assure their ongoing commitment to the peace process. The announcement comes one month after the former FARC peace negotiator, Ivan Marquez, reportedly went into hiding just hours before masked men entered his home on a FARC Compound.
When several Colombian senators visited a FARC “reintegration” camp on Tuesday, the senators were told the FARC leaders were commited with peace, but feared betrayal by the new government of President Ivan Duque.
“There is a climate of worry with the governments lack of delivery on what they promised,” said Colombian Senator Ivan Cepeda. “And some military operations in the region where Ivan Marquez was located have generated a situation where some of them left and are hiding in the territory.”
One letter from a missing FARC commander said he was traveling to remote regions to “regroup those who grew tired of the government’s failure to comply.” One analyst has raised concerns that these FARC commanders may send the wrong message to the 1,500 members reportedly under their command.
“I think many guerillas will see their leaders’ decision as an excuse to go back to criminal activities and simply excuse themselves in a lack of guarantees in the peace process,” said lawyer Ivan Cancino.
Throughout the peace deal’s implementation, the FARC has faced opposition from within its own ranks and several dissident groups have emerged. In March, the Colombian government said 1,200 former members had joined these factions.
More than 12,200 ex-FARC combatants are participating in the reintegration programs. But at the end of 2017, the United Nations said more than half had left the reincorporation zones.
“There are many who have opted to go back to their families, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a large concern over the lack of serious programs by the government to reintegrate them into the economy,” said Senator Cepeda.
The United Nations has insisted that the reintegration camps must provide new opportunities and employment for the former combatants and their families.