In an emphatic speech to the nation Thursday, Colombian President Iván Duque rebuked the statements of the former FARC commander and peace negotiator “Iván Márquez” in which – in representation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) – announced the rebirth of the Marxist guerrilla and call to arms. “Colombia does not accept threats of any nature, much less from drug traffickers,” said Duque after a video surfaced in which Márquez is accompanied in a jungle hide-out by other senior FARC dissidents, among them alias Santrich, Romaña and El Paisa.
“Colombians must be clear that we are not facing the birth of a new guerrilla, but the criminal threats of a gang of narcoterrorists who have the shelter and support of the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro” remarked Duque. The President went on to call on Colombians “not to fall into the trap of those who today pretend to hide behind false ideological clothing to sustain their criminal scaffolding.”
President Duque also announced a $3,000 million pesos (US$ 800,000) reward for the capture of the FARC commanders-turned-dissents. “This band of criminals intends to make fun of the Colombian people, and we will not allow it.”
Facing a maelstrom of criticism regarding the implementation of the peace accords signed between FARC and the Colombian government during the second term of his predecessor Juan Manuel Santos, and that ended more than a half-century of internal conflict, Duque also confirmed the creation of a special search and arrest unit with “enhanced intelligence, investigation and mobility capacity throughout the Colombian territory,” and called on Patricia Linares, president of the Special Justice Tribunal (JEP) to expel Márquez, Santrich, Romaña and El Paisa from transitional justice protection.