The commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, alias “Timochenko,” released an official letter from the “mountains of Colombia” dated Saturday November 22nd, in which he questions President Juan Manuel Santos’ “devotion to go down in history as the man who made peace.”
In this document titled “Seamos serios, Santos” (Let’s be serious, Santos) and posted on the guerrilla’s official website, “Timochenko” states how Santos even went overseas “to promote a post conflict” scenario.
In his direct message to Colombia’s head of state, the Marxist rebel leader also claims that Santos’ “attitude and actions are more revealing than his words,” after a difficult last week when Juan Manuel Santos abruptly suspended the peace talks in Havana after a FARC front operating the Chocó department kidnapped a high ranking military official while visiting a community-led project along the Atrato River. The abduction of General Rubén Alzate and his aide Gloria Urrego, as well as three soldiers last week set off the alarm bells in Bogotá that despite all the “good will” of the Cuba dialogues, the security situation in the country remains precarious to the extent that the FARC could claim a war trophy of sorts: its first army general in a conflict which has gone on for more than a half century.
In the communiqué, the FARC’s Timochenko states that the two year long peace talks have been disguised by the Colombian government as “an orderly way to bring about the FARC’s defeat” and in a direct, personal attack of the president, the rebel leader states that Santos has used the talks to parade “like a Pharaoh” a process which is far from a done deal. “Santos talks as if there were no war, and wages war as if there were no dialogues,” claims this letter.
The FARC’s maximum leader also stresses that Santos is backtracking on commitments made before the first round in Oslo; that whatever could happened on the battlefield would not affect the outcome of the peace talks. “Timochenko” also remarks that Santos broke with the original agreement of a General Accord which states that the conversations must continue uninterrupted. “The war is worth it when is comes from the state,” claims Timochenko, “but reproachable when it originates from an attacked adversary.” The letter also reminds the President, that as Colombia’s commander-in-chief, he rejected repeated calls by the Marxist group for a bilateral ceasefire.
With a kidnapped general and a recent attack on a police base on the island of Gorgona, Timochenko’s letter reveals that the FARC are in no hurry to return to Havana, despite their “intentions for a peaceful resolution” to this long-standing conflict.
And while Colombians wait for the release of three captive soldiers, a community worker and an army general, the FARC appear to be defining a new set of conditions in order to resume the talks: that a “no deal” will be better than a “bad deal” (one in which they are portrayed as militarily weakened and demoralized), and that an eventual peace, should benefit the nation and not the historic aspirations of a president.