In our July 19 Facebook Live session, Managing Editor Josefina Salomón and Senior Investigator Angela Olaya discussed the ex-guerrillas' new political party's shaky entrance into Colombian politics and the future of the country’s dissident fighters.
Olaya spoke about the particular relevance of the Colombian Congress’ inauguration on July 20, the first time the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común – FARC) will actually have representation. This was a key negotiation point in the peace agreement signed in November 2016.
She detailed the reasons why several leaders of the new party are not taking some of the ten seats in Congress -- five in the House of Representatives and five in the Senate -- that were granted to the demobilized rebel group, formerly known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia).
Among them are Luciano Marín Arango, alias “Iván Márquez,” the party’s second most powerful figure. He also served as the FARC’s main negotiator during peace talks with the Colombian government.
Márquez decided to relinquish his seat following the arrest of former FARC commander Seuxis Paucis Hernández Solarte, alias “Jesús Santrich.” Santrich is currently in prison on charges of drug trafficking. He cannot take his congressional seat until his case is resolved.
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Salomón and Olaya also talked about the many claims regarding the growing number of FARC dissidents.
Olaya, an InSight Crime expert on Colombia, described the various FARC dissident groups active in Colombia, and explained that the relationships these groups are forming do not constitute a new revolutionary guerrilla group but rather alliances between criminal groups. She said that, while some of them are trying to position themselves as revolutionary groups with political objectives, they are becoming increasingly involved in illegal economies including drug trafficking, extortion and illegal mining.
The conversation also touched on how the challenges facing implementation of the peace accords are impacting the Colombian government’s dialogues with the last remaining rebel group, the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN), as well as on the challenges new President-elect Iván Duque will face in guaranteeing security in the country.
Watch the full conversation in Spanish below: