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Colombians Push for Peace After Kidnapping Derails FARC Talks

Las delegaciones del Gobierno de Colombia y de las Farc durante el acto de cierre del punto cuatro de la Agenda de Conversaciones: "Solución al problema de las drogas ilícitas" en el Centro de Convenciones de la Habana, Cuba - 16 de mayo de 2014. Foto: Omar Nieto Remolina - SIG. Presidencia de Colombia

Delegations from the Colombian government and the FARC during the closing remarks of the fourth topic on the Agenda of Discussions: “Solution to the problem of illicit drugs” in the Convention Center in Havana, Cuba on May 16, 2014. Photo: Omar Nieto Remolina – SIG. Office of the President of  Colombia

Colombia has found itself on shaky ground in Havana, Cuba, ever since peace talks between the Colombian government and militant group FARC in Havana, Cuba were suspended due to the kidnapping of an army general and two of his companions.

At the time of this post's publishing, representatives of Cuba and Norway — guarantor countries of the peace process – announced in Havana that FARC agreed to release Gen. Alzate, along with a civilian lawyer and a corporal who were traveling with him, plus two soldiers captured a week earlier in the department of Arauca near the Venezuelan border.

Colombians have been voicing their opinions under the Twitter hashtag #TreguaYa, which means “truce now” in Spanish. Diana Marcela Otavo, (@dianamotavo), published the following tweet:

It is difficult to achieve peace when bullets are flying. #TreguaYa we need @JuanManSantos and the FARC to come back to the table and talk

Francisco Javier Cuadros also posted (@fjaviercuadrs):

At the risk of sounding pessimistic, if this peace process ends it will be another 10 years with thousands more dead before talks resume.#TreguaYa #CeseBilateral (bilateral ceasefire)

The FARC is Colombia’s largest guerrilla group. It was established in 1964 by survivors of a government crackdown on a Communist-inspired peasant group, and has long financed its 50-year-old war against the government by kidnapping, extortion and participating in the drug trade on various levels.

The agenda of the peace talks covers six issues: land reform, political participation, drug trafficking, rights of victims, disarmament of the rebels, the implementation of the peace deal.

Political leaders of various ideologies have also protested the suspension. 

Senator for the Democratic Pole Iván Cepeda, for example, wrote on the subject of a protest in Bogotá on the morning of November 19:

The people are taking to the streets to defend the peace process and #TreguaYA

[In the photo: “The people have the key to peace.”]

Meanwhile, Mayor of Bogotá and former leftist rebel Gustavo Petro commented:

Our children do not deserve war, the time has come to stand up for Peace. #TreguaYA

On the night of November 19, Medellin residents joined together in the streets as shown by Juan Mosquera @lluevelove in the photo below: 

“Don't end the talks, end the war” Citizens practicing their civic duty in the center of Medellin 

Finally, during the first week of November, author JR shared the following thoughts via the blog La paz en Colombia (Peace in Colombia): 

Nadie sale bien librado de una guerra, ni víctimas ni victimarios. Si ante los unos cabe respetar y reparar su inmenso dolor, ante los otros cabe corresponder con decoro a su declarado arrepentimiento, con apego a la ley por sobre todo lo que intenta desvirtuarla. 

When it comes to war, no one gets off lightly; neither the victims nor the victors. If in the presence of some we can respect and heal their incredible grief, we must in the presence of others respectfully respond to their declarations of regret, with adherence to the law above all things that try to distort it. 

This November 19 marked two years since the Colombian peace process began in Havana, Cuba. You can read more about the talks on the Spanish-language “Official website of the round-table discussions for ending the conflict and building lasting peace in Colombia.” 

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