By Brendan Oliver Bergh
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
BOGOTA, Colombia – Peace talks have not stifled the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and as leaders continue to hammer out a peace agreement with the Colombian government in Cuba, loyalists soldiers have stepped their insurgent activities. Since the unilateral cease-fire ended last week, FARC armed forces have continued hit and runs strikers and begun kidnapping soldiers and contractors throughout the country.
Last April in a motion of good faith the FARC claimed to have released all government forces under its control. However this past effort seems to have ended, along with the oil contractors captured, FARC rebels have re-begun their efforts and started taking members of the armed forces as “prisoners of war.” FARC rebels vowed to keep capturing armed forces and started seizing military and armed forces, and begun by seizing two police patrolmen, the first in FARCs storied history of kidnapping dozens of politicians, police officers and armed forces.
These new resurgence of kidnapping could harm the FARC peace talks. While some lawmakers speculated that should the peace talks go successfully, they may take part in the national elections next year. However governmental terms require that they lay down their arms permanently, a feat that is unlike going to happen until the peace talks have concluded.
Even if there is peace with the FARC rebels, their reintegration into society is likely to be a sore sport for many civilians. Many still feel the sting and continue to be victims of these paramilitary groups as they integrate themselves within civilian society. Looking back many still cringe as members of the M-19 rebel group won 19 seats and the mayor ship of Bogota after they disarmed after an assault on the Palace of Justice.
Since in the end of the ceasefire FARC has started targeting military structures, oil infrastructure and the contractors associated with them. After a tense standoff on Thursday which left 6 insurgents and 5 soldiers dead, FARC agreed to release 3 oil workers they had kidnapped earlier that week. Of the actions President Juan Manuel Santos claimed “They’re increasingly weak. They Increasingly have to resort to acts demonstrating their weakness, to terrorist acts, and now to kidnappings.”
Despite these new kidnappings Colombia’s Chief negotiator, Humberto de la Calle claims that they would not stray from their negotiations. However the possibility that the conflict will continue is a constant threat, de la Calle continued “We’re going to Havana to end the conflict, that is what we agreed. And if it’s not like that, they should tell us at once, so as not to waste the time of the government nor the Colombians.”
For more information, please see:
Semana – Crisis In Havana – 2 February 2013
Reuters – Colombia Rebels Free Oil Workers, 11 Killed In Combat – 31 January 2013
Reuters – Colombia Rebels Seize Three Oil Workers, Blow Up Energy Tower – 31 January 2013
Reuters – Colombia Sets Hurdles For FARC Rebels To Join Politics – 31 January 2013
Reuters – FARC Rebels Vow To Keep Capturing Colombian Security Forces – 30 January 2013