Monday, December 9, 2013

Colombia: FARC Declares 30-Day Cease Fire Effective December 15

According to The Latin American Tribune, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced on Sunday (December 8) that it was declaring a 30-day cease-fire in Colombia effective 0000 hours on December 15.

The announcement was made in Havana, where the 17th meeting between the FARC and the Colombian government have been underway in recent months.

Pablo Catatumbo, a member of the FARC delegation holding peace talks in the Cuban capital with the Colombian government, read a statement from the FARC's leadership datelined in the mountains of Colombia.

COMMENT:  FARC units will “remain on alert in case of any enemy operation, which will be responded to without any hesitation,” the FARC leadership said.

“We still hold out hope that the national government will respond to our gesture by ordering an end to its offensive,” the FARC said.

The FARC, Colombia’s oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group, was founded in 1964 and operates across a large swath of the Andean nation.

The Colombian government has made fighting the FARC a top priority and has obtained billions in US aid for counterinsurgency operations.

The FARC is on both the US and EU lists of terrorist groups. Drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom are the FARC’s main means of financing its operations.

The cease-fire announcement comes a day after the FARC attacked a police station in Inza, a town in southeastern Colombia, killing nine people, including three civilians. 

It is encouraging that the FARC has taken the initiative of declaring a 30-day cease-fire which hopefully both sides will honor. If not, the potential for a lasting peace is very unlikely.