Segunda-feira, 2 de Agosto de 2010

FARC's move

By Pedro Seabra

 

With Hugo Chávez’s rants on a roll, a border on high-alert and regional endeavours to bring all parties to the table, it was only a matter of time until Colombia’s own long-time guerrillas FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) had a word to say in all of this. They have done so, with a curious video message from top leader Alfonso Cano, apparently opening up the door to a political and peaceful way-out of the local enduring conflict – while at the same time, recurring to the usual string of accusations regarding Uribe’s government.

As in any conflict, time is of the essence, and in this case, FARC could not have chosen a better opportunity to make its move. Indeed, it comes at a time when Chávez is trying to amass regional support for comprehensive talks with the insurgents, while at the same time deflecting Colombian accusations of hosting its presence in Venezuelan territory.

Since Álvaro Uribe took office, his “democratic security policy” – with the unavoidable help of the $4.7 billion U.S. backed Plan Colombia – led to a robust surge that has essentially increased the presence of the security forces throughout the country and drove back the FARC to the Colombian jungle. Although still a credible threat, FARC’s grip is currently far form what it used to be.

Calls for a constructive engagement by newly elected-President Juan Manuel Santos will likely increase in the coming weeks, as hopes for a definitive ending to this internal strife – of significant importance to the surrounding region – will inevitably grow. But he would be wise to remain sceptic as such apparent openness only arose after military cornering and politically discrediting the narco-terrorist group. Indeed, FARC’s options are currently limited and taking advantage of the recent Chávez-Uribe rife allows for the perfect opportunity to politically present itself as a worthy negotiating actor. However, FARC’s track record has already proved such dilatory tactics wrong in numerous occasions and this time is not likely to be any different.

 

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