Tuesday, October 15, 2013

From someone who should know

“In Havana, paradoxically, the FARC are making proposals that are out of proportion both to their strength and to a reality wherein the violence they practice no longer generates power, but rather eliminates it.  They have made more than 200 ‘minimal’ proposals – they want a constituent assembly, changes in the economic model, and deep reforms of the state.  They are negotiating as if they had the support of multitudes and 50,000 combatants at the gates of Bogota, when in reality their only option is to disarm rapidly and to engage in politics.

“In Colombia there is no military stalemate nor is the negotiation between equals.  The FARC leadership is elderly, they are considered terrorists by the international community while Venezuela, Ecuador, and Cuba no longer support armed struggle and instead support peace.  They have gone from having 25,000 men to having 8,000; their military activity is sporadic, irrelevant, and distant from vital centers; they have lost their territorial strongholds; they suffer numerous desertions that they replace by recruiting boys; they have more combatants disarmed than active; their strategic commanders have been eliminated and those that remain inside Colombia are besieged and in danger of dying in combat.

“Time is against the FARC but they negotiate slowly and complain that the government is in a hurry.  However, the correlation of forces favoring the state will continue to improve and the FARC’s situation will continue to worsen.  Prolonging the negotiations under these conditions will onle serve to demoralize the troops.  It is no coincidence that the talks have increased the desertions.  In war no one wants to be the last to die.  For the FARC combatants, the more than 30 leaders who make up the peace delegation are exiles living comfortably and risk-free in Havana, while they could be the last to die in a war that is already condemned to end.”

– Joaquin Villalobos, former Salvadoran FMLN guerrilla commander, in El Pais.  The FMLN fought a decade-long guerrilla war and converted to a political party when a peace agreement was reached in 1992.

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