February 27, 2021

Santos assures that the FARC “will not return to the bush” and advocates closeness to Cuba



Former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018) highlighted this Saturday the FARC party’s commitment to peace and assured that they are not “going back to the bush”, while criticizing the government’s position of his successor, Iván Duque, towards Cuba, with which you believe it is better to have a good relationship.

“The FARC guerrillas are not going to return to the mountains, there are some dissidents who have returned for different reasons, that always happens in all the agreements, but the majority of the members are committed to the agreement, with what they promised to leave. weapons, “Santos told Cuban state television.

The Nobel Peace Prize was one of the main promoters of the historic pact signed in 2016 with the former insurgent group – now a political party -, achieved after four years of negotiations based in Havana to end more than half a century. of conflict.

Four years after its signing, the implementation of the peace agreement has encountered obstacles such as the “reluctant” attitude of the Iván Duque government and the return to arms of senior guerrilla leaders, including number two and chief negotiator of the insurgents, Luciano Marín, alias “Iván Márquez”.

In the interview, Santos acknowledged that today’s “President Duque and his party were very critical of the agreement” at the time it was signed, but added that they worked to leave it “legally shielded” for at least the next three presidential terms.

He also recalled his first meeting with the then guerrilla leader, Rodrigo Londoño, alias “Timochenko,” a solo conversation that took place in Havana thanks to former Cuban President Raúl Castro.

“I remember Raúl Castro when he grabbed us and almost forced us to shake hands, but before that he had left me and Rodrigo Londoño alone. First time we saw each other. The truth was that it was an interesting meeting and that he broke the ice , because we started talking about the commitment of both to achieve peace, “he said.

INJUSTICE WITH CUBA

During the Santos government, Cuba and Colombia experienced a sweet stage in their bilateral relations, which today are going through a delicate moment after the end of the negotiations in Bogotá with the ELN guerrilla, based in Havana between May and August 2018 .

An attack that occurred in January 2019 against the Santander General School and claimed by the Central Command of the insurgent group caused the definitive breakdown of the dialogue by the Government, which then demanded that the guerrillas return to Cuba.

The island refuses to return to the fighters shielded under the terms of the pact signed by the Juan Manuel Santos administration in the event of a stop in the talks.

This refusal is the main argument adduced by the United States last May to include Cuba in its list of countries that do not cooperate in the fight against terrorism, a document from which the island had emerged in 2015 within the fleeting “thaw” with the United States. USA

For Santos, both Washington and Bogotá have been very “unfair” to the island, which has played a decisive role in the Colombian peace.

“It is much better to have Cuba helping to solve problems, as it helped peace with the FARC, than to have it on the other side … Cuba can help a lot, so it is much more positive to have a good relationship with Cuba,” stressed.

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