South America

Download the Latin America Daily News Summary for May 31, 2013.
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Hopes are up as Colombia-FARC Negotiations Proceed

BLUF:

The Colombian Government and the FARC – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – gather to hold historic peace talks.

 

OBSERVED:

Founded in 1964, Latin America’s largest rebel group FARC has been at war with the Colombian government for nearly half-a-century and has been responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Colombians. The rebel group was formed in protest against the capitalist ideals of the country, and continues to fight against the bourgeoisie of Colombia’s society. They are avid supporters of Bolivarianism, which is the current ideology in Venezuela  It reached its peak in the mid 1990’s, but has since had nearly half of its forces depleted in conflict with the Colombian government.  It has undergone many changes due to the capture or death of many of its senior leaders, one of which is still being detained in the U.S.

 

In August, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced that his government had agreed to hold a series of peace talks with the FARC.  The first of the peace talks took place in Oslo Norway where delegates from both sides expressed hope of reaching a uniform consensus.  President Santos has stated “In the peace issue, we know exactly what we want and where we are going … we know what we can and can’t concede.  We hope to achieve peace.”

 

The purpose of these talks is to come to a consensus in five specific areas including: land issues, participation in politics, drug trafficking, disarmament and restitution for conflict victims.

 

The delegates re-convened in November in Havana, Cuba where a leading Colombian government delegate, De la Calle, stated a belief that this was a “defining moment” for Colombians, as both sides had agreed that the peace talks “must end with a final agreement on the conflict.”  Positive statements have come both sides as Jesus Santrich, FARC negotiator, stated “Up until now we have had good results,” and upon entering the seventh day of talks he added, “There has been agreement. We are on the same wavelength.”  Colombians have high hopes that this will end the decades-long war between the two parties.

 

Assesment:

[+] This cooperation between The FARC and the Colombian government is a positive sign as Colombia nears the end of a long-desired civil war.  These negotiations have boosted the morale of war torn regions in Colombia as civilians hope for a peaceful transition to take place at the end of the negotiations.

 

[-] These negotiations could result in granting the FARC a permanent place on Colombia’s congressional committee and recognizing them as an official party.  This may bode ill for the U.S. due to the fact that the FARC are avid supporters of Bolivarianism whose main supporter is Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela.

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