By Brendan Bergh
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Peace talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) continue in Oslo, Norway.
Since their inception in 1964 Latin Americas oldest revolutionary group has been striking terror throughout Colombia. The FARC rebels have been conducting military ambushes and kidnapping civilians and military personnel for years with the intent of disappearing them or ransoming them. Their reign of terror has been weakened in recent years, thanks to a continued increased military budget and U.S. backed security campaign. A temporary cease fire has been signed as leaders from FARC and the Colombia meet in Oslo to discuss the terms for the disbanding of the military group.
However those peace talks may be in jeopardy. On Halloween night in Pradera, over 5,000 Colombian children were out and about celebrating when the calm serene night was shattered by violence. A suitcase bomb exploded killing two suspected bombers and injuring another 37, seven of them children. Col. Nelson Ramirez the regional police chief believes the police station was the intended target. Pradera has always been a target for FARC who continually demand the area be ceded to them.
This is just the latest in a series of clashes that many believe can be attributed to FARC. Earlier in the month five soldiers were wounded in an apparent rebel ambush, while another two were killed when they activated a FARC installed landmine.
There have been quite a few attempts at peace since the 1980s. The latest in 2002 was almost successful, as then-President Andres Pastrana was about to grant the rebels a large portion of land. However in all too familiar fashion the peace talks broke down when the rebels launched a timely series of attacks in a bid to strengthen their position. However the FARC claim they have no parallel agenda during their peace talks. That they hope that “The dialogue unfolds effectively, expeditiously, and in the shortest possible time.”
As the peace talks continue many items are still on the table. Beyond mere the demilitarization of FARC and the end to the kidnappings FARC is coming to the table with proposals and projects in order to implement radical socioeconomic reforms. However the issue of reintegration is still a large issue that needs to be discussed. If the peace talks are successful the question remains what will happen to rebel militants and the increased Colombian Army that was raised to combat FARC.
Despite these issues both sides have indicated a commitment to the “Construction of a stable and lasting peace.”
For further information, please see:
El Tiempo – Two Soldiers Killed When He Stepped On A Mine Field Installed By FARC – 3 November 2012
RCN Radio – FARC Say They Have No Parallel Agenda In Peace Process – 3 November 2012
El Pais – “There Is A Marriage Between The FARC And VAlle And Cauca BACRIM”: General Navas – 2 November, 2012
Fox News Latino – Halloween Bombing Kills 2, Injuries 36 In Colombia – 2 November 2012
CNN – Amid Peace Talks, Colombian Soldiers Killed In Suspected Rebel Attack – 20 October, 2012
CNN – Colombia, FARC Rebels Begin Formal Peace Talks In Norway – 18 October, 2012