anthony.boynton at gmail.com
Sat Nov 16 11:19:22 MST 2013
I just looked through the recent posts here and it seems like no one has
posted on the most recent stage of the "peace process" in Colombia. About
10 days ago the FARC and the government of Colombia signed off on the
second of five parts of the negotiations. Part 2 was the political
reintegration of the FARC into electoral politics of Colombia. According to
press reports the main points of the agreement are that the FARC will
receive some temporary seats in Congress and the laws for registering
opposition political parties and movements will be changed in several ways,
including elimination of the requirement to collect thousands of names on
petitions (which could open signers to threats by paramilitary
organizations and others). There are three more points on the agenda: the
drug business, procedures and penalties for crimes allegedly committed by
the FARC, and disarmament of the FARC.
Negotiations could fail on any of these three points, but the fact that the
two sides made it through point two shows that both sides still have an
interest in continuing the process, possibly all the way to an agreement.
The presidential campaign season has already begun, and President Santos'
prospects of reelection depend to a large extent on how the process goes.
IMHO he needs to either make a deal, or very seriously damage the FARC
before the elections to win.
There has been no cease fire during the peace process. Both the FARC and
the military have continued offensives. The FARC's offensive in October
targetted electrical power transmission and oil and natural gas pipelines.
It caused serious problems including long black outs in the cities and
towns in the south of the country and multimillion dollar losses to oil,
natural gas and public utility companies.
The military's offensive has focused on FARC units in the same regions,
especially the Teofilo Forero Front which is an elite unit of the FARC
which has reportedly conducted some of the most spectacular actions
attributed to the FARC from the car bombing of the Club Nogal to the
caputre of 11 legislators in Cali.
Apparently, the military has so far failed to kill the Front's commander,
Hernán Darío Velásquez who is known as "el paisa" despite night time
bombing of Front camps which have killed many FARC fighters.
Colombia is now showing up on the screens of internaitonal news services
again. Watch the BBC if you are interested. They have sent reporters here
and have begun to include more coverage of this country in internaitonal
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