EspañolSunday in Havana, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) released a statement in response to President Juan Manuel Santos’ reelection, who they say must heed the “clear message” sent by the people through the ballots.
“Ultimately, the people’s message for Santos is this: back away from what [former President Álvaro] Uribe represents and start seeking social change and justice,” said Pablo Catatumbo, one of the rebel group delegates at the Havana peace talks. This was FARC’s first official response to the election results.
Santos, who started the negotiations to end the armed conflict with the FARC on November 2012, won the presidential runoff on June 15. He defeated conservative candidate and Uribe’s right-hand man Oscar Iván Zuluaga, who took a more hard-line approach in punishing FARC members, rather than negotiating with them.
“The Colombian people voted for a democratic solution that will end the armed conflict, the most important sociopolitical issue in Colombia today,” Catatumbo said. He further argued that Colombia decided to reelect Santos “to guarantee peace with social justice, a path much different from the current unjust, antidemocratic political regime. That is, Colombia has chosen to leave behind Uribe’s right-wing reactionary and defeated military approach to the issue.”
Catacumbo welcomed the president’s initial talks with the country’s second largest rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN). “We truly hope it succeeds”, he said.
Juan Manuel Santos also received the public support and congratulations from Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who expressed his confidence in the peace talks spearheaded by the Colombian national government in Cuba.