HomeNewsBriefFARC Commander Proposes Talks with Colombian Govt
BRIEF

FARC Commander Proposes Talks with Colombian Govt

COLOMBIA / 10 JAN 2012 BY JEREMY MCDERMOTT EN

Almost exactly a decade after peace talks collapsed, the commander-in-chief of Colombia's FARC rebels has reached out to the president and suggested that negotiations pick up again where they left off.

The head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry, alias "Timochenko," made the offer in an open letter to President Juan Manuel Santos, published on the guerrilla-friendly website Anncol. The letter was entitled "Without lies, Santos, without lies."

In February 2002, then-President Andres Pastrana ended peace negotiations with the FARC, and invaded the 42,000 km sq safe haven he had granted the rebels as the venue for talks. Negotiations continued for three years, with not one concrete result. Timochenko in his letter suggested that the agenda established during those talks be picked up once again.

The tone of the letter was hardly conciliatory:

We will always refuse to accept the imposition of absolute truths. Our destiny is to recover what belongs to us. We proclaim our truth: this conflict will have no solution while our voices are not heard.

InSight Crime Analysis

Timochenko has a reputation of being a hardliner within the FARC, and was seen as one of the commanders least disposed to open dialogue with the government. So this letter can be interpreted in one of two ways. The first is that the defeats the FARC have suffered over the last decade have shown the rebels that they cannot seize power, and placed their very survival in question, forcing them to negotiate now while they still have something to offer.

The second interpretation could be that Timochenko wants dialogue in order to raise the profile of the group, gain some political traction, and use any peace talks to rebuild military strength. This is a tactic the guerrillas used to great effect during not only the Pastrana peace process (1999-2002), but the two previous efforts, with Presidents Cesar Gaviria and Belisario Betancur.

The rebels must also have been reading between the lines of the government's statements, and seen that Santos has left the door very much ajar for peace talks, demanding primarily the release of all kidnap victims as a precondition for talks. In December, the FARC promised to release six military hostages they still hold. Their liberation could be seen as the first gesture of peace by the rebels, and allow dialogue to begin.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BRAZIL / 24 MAY 2021

Of the nearly 140 reporters killed in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Honduras during the past decade, about half covered organized…

COLOMBIA / 4 AUG 2022

A local gang targeted bus drivers in Barranquilla, Colombia, to gain attention ahead of the country's change in government.

BOLIVIA / 14 MAY 2021

The extradition of a prominent Bolivian drug trafficker to Brazil has shed rare light on how family clans in the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Coverage Continues to be Highlighted

3 MAR 2023

This week, InSight Crime co-director Jeremy McDermott was the featured guest on the Americas Quarterly podcast, where he provided an expert overview of the changing dynamics…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Organized Crime Top 10 Attracts Attention

24 FEB 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published its ranking of Venezuela’s ten organized crime groups to accompany the launch of the Venezuela Organized Crime Observatory. Read…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime on El País Podcast

10 FEB 2023

This week, InSight Crime co-founder, Jeremy McDermott, was among experts featured in an El País podcast on the progress of Colombia’s nascent peace process.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Interviewed by Associated Press

3 FEB 2023

This week, InSight Crime’s Co-director Jeremy McDermott was interviewed by the Associated Press on developments in Haiti as the country continues its prolonged collapse. McDermott’s words were republished around the world,…

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…