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Don’t Let FARC Rewrite Colombian History

By: Carlos Sabino - @Sabino2324 - May 18, 2015, 10:59 am

EspañolTwo and a half years have passed since peace talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla and the Colombian government began, and the results, as many expected, are far from encouraging.

The fundamental causes: on the one hand, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos has no clear road map about the limits to the concessions he’s prepared to make to the terrorist guerrilla. On the other, the rebels aren’t genuinely negotiating in good faith.

Once the complexity that surrounds peace negotiations to end any internal war, the demands of the victims, and the mistrust of a good part of society are added to the equation, we can easily understand that talks will proceed very slowly and that their future will be — to say the least — somewhat uncertain.

The Cauca massacre has revealed the truth about FARC's willingness to negotiate in good faith.
The Cauca massacre has revealed the truth about FARC’s willingness to negotiate in good faith. (Montería Radio)

The so-called Cauca massacre, the killing in cold blood of 11 army soldiers, has stirred up public opinion in recent days. This action showed with complete clarity that FARC continues to be a terrorist group that is taking advantage of ongoing negotiations in any way it can, strengthening its military positions and flexing its muscles.

Not only is it negotiating in bad faith, as various topics have been discussed, the FARC have broadened their demands. They are refusing to limit themselves to the original matters on the table, and seeking agreements to completely change the physiognomy of Colombia. Something similar happened in Guatemala in the 1990s, which should alert Colombians about the danger of giving in to demands that never cease to grow.

Guatemalan Witness

In the case of Guatemala, the guerrilla, already completely defeated on the battlefield and in public opinion, managed to get the government to sign agreements justifying their motivations. As a consequence, they threw their weight around and imposed heavy military, economic, and social obligations.

The peace deals have become a type of government program that, leaving what ordinary citizens think by the wayside, work to design a country according to the whim of defeated groups. Guatemala is today still paying the price for having weakened its army and police under said talks, as crime and insecurity have irrefutably grown since 1996.

FARC now demands, among other measures, “a creative and restorative peace” and a Truth Commission, as well for the government to declassify secret archives related to the counterinsurgency.

Their demands aim, as their leaders have said on various occasions, to indirectly justify their uprising with the excuse of the poor social and political policies that the country has suffered.

It’s the same route that, with the support of multiple NGOs and the United States, former rebels hoped to force Guatemala to take, weakening the government in such a way as to bring deplorable consequences.

History Written by the Losers

The causes of the armed uprising, in both cases, aren’t poverty, discrimination, or the poor distribution of land, but the desire of certain groups to resort to violence to impose their convictions. They’re Marxist groups that want to force us to adopt a totalitarian, one-party model that the majority of Latin Americans reject, where all property belongs to the state.

These groups, defeated militarily due to their lack of support among the population, have managed to change history in Guatemala in order to appear as defenders of the poor, idealists, and arbiters of justice.

They managed to do the same in Argentina and Uruguay, to only mention two cases that will be brought to mind among all those who know the truth about what happened. And what’s more, they’ve sought — and often obtained — judicial punishment for those who fought these uprisings while occupying public office at any level. The same, it’s now obvious, is in the cards in Colombia.

The majority of Colombian society demands that no surrender be given to the demands of those who still bear arms and commit despicable killings. The force of their convictions, the clarity of their ideas, and the will of their leaders will now be crucial in preventing this bloody conflict from ending in a victory for those who lost the military battle and the struggle for public opinion, but want to end up victorious at the negotiating table.

Translated by Laurie Blair.

Carlos Sabino Carlos Sabino

Sociologist, writer, and university professor, Sabino is director of the masters and doctoral programs in history at the University of Francisco Marroquín, Guatemala. Follow him @Sabino2324