FARC commanders prepare for first post-conflict Congress


Senior representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) departed Havana, Cuba, Monday  to attend their 10th National Conference to be held in Llanos de Yarí, Colombia, from September 17 to 23.

On Monday night, the FARC’s leader Rodrigo Londoño, alias “Timochenko,” arrived in La Macarena where he will join 16 of his front commanders in order to explain the final peace accord to be signed, September 26, between him and President Juan Manuel Santos in Cartagena. This is the first time, in more than a half-century of conflict that FARC can gather legitimately for their conference.

Some 200 FARC members are expected to attend the almost weeklong event, and that aims to define the future of their participation in national politics. The presence of “Timochenko” wearing an official Cuba baseball cap and standing in a field on the eastern plains has raised the ire of politicians who have openly expressed they will reject the Final Accord by voting “No” in the October 2 “plebiscite for peace.”

Former president Andrés Pastrana, a staunch critic of the peace process requested last Wednesday a meeting with Londoño, but the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, claimed it could process his request. Pastrana tried to forge a peace with FARC between 1999 and 2002, and granted the rebels an area the size of Switzerland as a DMZ in order to facilitate the talks. During the official opening ceremony in San Vicente del Caguan, on January 7, 1999, Pastrana was left sitting alone on a makeshift stage, after FARC’s then maximum commander Manuel Marulanda, “alias Tirofijo,” never turned up.

According to Pastrana, his official request to meet with “Timockenko” is being blacklisted by President Santos and in order to avoid direct talks contact with a man who, according to Pastrana, “is the new author of the Constitution.”

For the conservative statesman, the leader of FARC has been granted with the Final Accord, 26 non-voting parliamentarians, 26 verification zones, as well as exceptional access to media with 31 community radio stations and a television network.

On Tuesday, the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on the details of the mission that will support the implementation process of the peace process. The resolution was presented by the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.




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