Pablo Catatumbo and Alejandro Ordoñez

Colombia’s main rebel group FARC has lashed out at Colombia’s Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez in retaliation for criticisms against two leading left-wing politicians and the legal framework for the ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and the rebels. 

FARC leader Pablo Catatumbo described Ordoñez on Friday as “a false priest of public morality” and “a gross distortion of the Public Ministry.” He also criticized him for what the FARC see as a concerted attack on Mayor of Bogota Gustavo Petro – a former member of the urban guerrilla organization M-19 – as well as controversial former senator Piedad Cordoba. Both politicians are viewed as allies by the FARC.

Ordoñez has long enraged the FARC by expressing skepticism about the guerrillas´commitment to peace. He once said of the talks: ”I declare myself a skeptic; not hostile to the peace process.” He has criticized the framework surrounding the peace negotiations, like the government’s proposal to hold a referendum for Colombians to endorse any eventual peace agreement with FARC. He said that some parts of the talks risk “sacrificing the rights of victims.”

The FARC statement condemned Ordoñez’s actions. “It sets a bad precedent for Colombian peace if he is trying to create a witch hunt, first against a woman [Cordoba] who is working for national reconciliation, and second against a mayor [Petro] who was not only democratically elected, but who has also served as an example by showing the establishment that it is possible to do politics without weapons.”

Ordoñez and Cordoba in particular have a strained history. In 2012 Cordoba demanded a criminal investigation of Ordoñez after he accused her of inciting violence.

MORE: Piedad Cordoba demands slander investigation of Minister, Inspector General

It was Ordoñez who ordered that Cordoba be investigated in 2010 for allegedly collaborating with the FARC, an investigation that resulted in her being banned from holding public office in Colombia for 18 years. The Constitutional Court decided to uphold the decision just a week ago.

MORE: Colombia’s constitutional court holds political door shut for Piedad Cordoba

The guerrillas released the statement condemning the Inspector General as the 16th cycle of the peace talks in Havana, Cuba, get underway. The conversations are now focused on the issue of political participation, the second item on the agenda that was agreed before the negotiations.

The government´s chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle is not currently in attendance at the talks, owing to a prior engagement, the Justice for Peace forum in Bucaramanga in the northern state of Santander. He will return to Havana on October 26.


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