FARC ‘optimistic’ about peace talks

Posted on Mar 27 2014 - 2:43pm by Rico
(Photo: FARC-EP)

The FARC said Thursday to be “optimistic” about the prospective success of current peace talks with the Colombian government.

The announcement came amid a pause in the dialogues, requested by the FARC to commemorate the death of its founder, Pedro Antonio Marin, alias “Manuel Marulanda Velez.”

Manuel Marulanda Velez was nicknamed “Tirofijo” by the FARC, and was one of the guerrilla organization’s original founders in 1964. He died of a heart attack in 2008, and is described by the FARC as a, “true revolutionary.”

A FARC representative commented upon the state of the peace negotiations on Wednesday, while delivering a speech to commemorate the late founder’s death, reported El Espectador newspaper.

“We are now in Havana, seeking peace…We are optimistic, we have without a doubt advanced the construction of peace accords with our counterpart, the Colombian government.”

MORE: What do FARC victims think of Colombia’s peace talks?

FARC negotiators have been engaged in bilateral peace talks with the Colombian government in Havana, Cuba, since November 2012. According to the FARC’s Central Command, these talks offer “the only viable, civilized and humane alternative to put an end to this lengthy confrontation.”

Talks in Havana resumed last week after several controversial incidents, which threatened to undermine the peace process.

The dismissal of Bogota’s mayor and former M-19 guerrilla member Gustavo Petro, and accusations that the FARC are responsible for the tortured bodies of two policemen, have both heightened tensions at the tables in Havana, Cuba.

MORE: New round of peace talks begin after weeks of turmoil

In a statement released by the FARC, the guerrilla organization reiterated its confidence in the negotiations.

“The dialogue with the national government has seen progress in Havana…Hopefully we can turn our desire for peace into a stable and lasting reality.”

“For now,”” the FARC representative said, “peace is hidden from the eyes of the people.”

The FARC has been fighting the Colombian state since its foundation in 1964. A reported 5 million Colombians have been displaced from their homes, as a result of  fighting between the rebels, the Colombian military and state-aligned paramilitary groups.

The rebel group is currently negotiating a political end to the conflict with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos.

This represents the fourth historic attempt at peace talks between the government and the FARC.

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