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Colombia’s Government and Opposition Agree to Reform FARC Peace Deal

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Oct 6, 2016, 2:14 pm
Álvaro Uribe y Juan Manuel Santos se encuentran distanciados tras diferencias en la forma de gobernar el país cuando el actual presidente asumió el poder (Wikimedia)
Former allies, Álvaro Uribe and Juan Manuel Santos parted ways when the latter began talks in 2012 to reach the current FARC peace deal. (Wikimedia)

EspañolAfter a four-hour meeting, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and his main rival Álvaro Uribe, a conservative senator and former president himself, announced on October 5 that they are willing to make changes to the FARC peace deal that was rejected in a referendum three days before.

The meeting was also attended by other leaders of the camp who oppose the current deal with the rebel Marxist group: former presidential candidate Marta Lucía Ramírez, former inspector general Alejandro Ordoñez, as well as military officers and members of the government’s negotiation team.

Senator Uribe thanked President Santos’s invitation and said he introduced proposals to reform the FARC peace deal that was rejected by Colombians in Sunday’s referendum.

Additionally, the senator said the opposition is willing to continue with the peace process, but without violence. Crimes that he claimed are still being committed by FARC members, such as extortion, drug trafficking, and recruitment of children must stop, he urged.

Uribe also called on the United Nations and the international community to be patient and support this new phase of negotiations, ruling out the possibility that the new agreement’s legal status be elevated to that of an international or special treaty.

He insisted on “judicial relief” for military officers involved in the armed conflict and rejected opening up political participation for guerrilla members who have committed crimes against humanity.

Finally, he demanded recognition for all victims of FARC attacks and that justice be served though existing institutions, which must be strengthened.

For his part, President Santos said it was his duty to work for peace and that he would continue to do so, seeking to ensure both public order and national reconciliation.

 

Santos said the ceasefire with FARC, declared until October 31, could be prolonged depending on the progress of this new phase of negotiations.

He assured he had met with leaders of different groups who are against the deal, such as industry leaders and Christian ministers, to hear their concerns and work out a solution.

The president also referred to the meeting held hours earlier with former President Andrés Pastrana and thanked them for their constructive approach to improving the agreement.

As for the outcome of the meeting with Uribe, he announced the creation of a commission to work out changes to the deal. However, he will relay all proposed changes to the the FARC delegation in Havana.

Santos thanked United Nations and the international community for the continued support. “We are very close to achieving stable and durable peace with wider public support. If all sides are willing and contribute responsibly, with realism and serenity, we will succeed.”

Meetings between government officials and the opposition will continue this week with the goal of putting an end to over 50 years of armed conflict with FARC.

Julián Villabona Galarza Julián Villabona Galarza

Julián is a reporter with the PanAm Post with studies in Politics and International Relations from the University Sergio Arboleda in Colombia. Follow him: @julianvillabona.

Despite Attempts at Dialogue, Venezuelan Regime Ramps Up Repression

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Oct 6, 2016, 9:40 am
Repression in Venezuela

EspañolSince last May, Venezuelan leaders have been discussing the possibility of a dialogue between the between the opposition and Nicolás Maduro's increasingly authoritarian administration. However, after failed attempts, the crackdown on dissent has intensified and the government continues to stall a recall referendum on Maduro's presidency. At least 2,124 political and arbitrary arrests reportedly occurred from May to September this year, according to the Venezuelan Penal Forum, an NGO that tracks human-rights abuses.   Read more: Faced with Empty Shelves, Women in Venezuela Take to the Streets  Read more: To Hell with the Venezuelan People, Revolution Is the Goal Last July, former presidents of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and of Panama Martín Torrijos came to Venezuela, thinking they could serve as mediators. But since then, the number of political prisoners has only increased, along with arbitrary arrests. Persecution has intensified against student protesters and political activists who have expressed their dissatisfaction with the government, the Venezuelan Penal Forum denounced on October 4. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); The NGO said 6,531 people were arrested between 2014 to September this year. Today, 100 are political prisoners, 76 of whom are prosecuted and 24 convicted. "From our point of view, this is because they want to use them as bargaining chips in the dialogue process," said Alfredo Romero, one of the directors of NGOs that monitors human rights in the country. "Now, if what we really want is a decrease in repression, they cannot only release one of the 100 political prisoners [in Venezuela], but [at least] 30 or 34." "We have registered under international statutes 200 tortured people, most of them in the first hours of their arrest because they seek a confession," Romero said. "They are victims of electric shock, beatings, food deprivation, and isolation." Source: Efecto Cocuyo.

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