28th August 2012: Colombia’s Santos Government In ‘Exploratory’ Talks With FARC

AFP reports that Colombia’s Santos Administration is in discussion with FARC to have ‘exploratory’ talks about a possible peace process:


“Since the day my government took office, I have respected my constitutional obligation to seek peace, and we have undertaken exploratory talks with the FARC, to seek an end to the conflict,” Santos said in a speech to the nation.


Santos outlined three key themes for the talks: “We must learn from past mistakes to stop repeating them; any process must lead to the end of the conflict; and, operations will continue and the military’s presence will be maintained on every centimeter of national territory.”


Colombia’s Pastrana Administration attempted and failed to have disarmament talks with FARC in the late 1990s. To-date the Santos Administration has continued the previous Uribe Administration’s policies including the Colombian Army’s use of counterinsurgency strategy to regain control of geographic areas that FARC controlled, and a decapitation tactic to target FARC’s leaders. The new initiative appears to be a pincer movement that combines military action and using the ‘exploratory’ peace talks to marginalise FARC’s peasant support. The Guardian reports that FARC has both signalled its readiness for peace negotiations and has escalated its violent attacks.