Saturday, November 15, 2014

Colombia: Gov't, FARC In Agreement on 3 of 5 Negotiating Issues, Referendum Planned Oct. 25

According to The Latin American Tribune, peace in Colombia will not be viable if an accord is not signed between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the first half of 2015, the head of the Senate Peace Commission, Roy Barreras, said Friday (November 14).

In an interview on Radio Caracol, Barreras said the urgency is due to the fact that Colombians must vote in favor of the accord in a popular referendum that would be held on October 25, the date of municipal and regional elections across the country.

“If we don’t have the question (of the referendum) ready on October 25, peace will no longer be viable,” he said.

COMMENT: Unfortunately, Roy Barreras made no reference as to whether a referendum was possible in 2016.

However, the referendum on an eventual peace accord can only be held once the five points on the agenda are agreed upon.

Barreras called on the FARC to sign the pact that has been negotiated in Havana for the past two years, because if they don’t, “they will let a historic opportunity get away” and Colombia’s armed conflict will go on for another 10 or 20 years.”

If that happens, he said, the guerrillas “will die old in the jungle or in the worst of cases get killed in the war.”

The government and the FARC have agreed upon the first three points of the negotiation: lands, political participation, and drugs plus all illegal crops.

The two sides are currently negotiating the fourth point about the war’s victims, and have yet to discuss the fifth and final point on the end of the conflict, the laying down of arms and the rebels’ reintegration into society.

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