Colombian President Gustavo Pedro’s “total peace” plan is complicated after this Monday. The killing of four indigenous minors recruited by the Estado Mayor Central (EMC), the main opposition to former FARC guerrillas, The government is seeking to initiate peace talks with it.
Much of the crime, condemned last weekend by the National Organization of the Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (Opiac), occurred in the Butumayo region on the Ecuadorian border and led the government to partially suspend a bilateral ceasefire with the EMC. is said to be the cause.
“Killing tribal children is an unacceptable crime against humanity. So is child labor,” Pedro said on Twitter on Monday.A few hours after the “partial suspension” of a bilateral ceasefire with the EMC, in which Carolina Ramirez leads, is responsible for the forced recruitment and murder of four minors.
According to Obiak, On May 17 “four young men who tried to escape the recruitment situation” were killed “by gunfire” and their bodies were found over the weekend in the village of El Estrecho (Budumayo). Faced with the carnage, which the government considers “a brutal reality that calls into question the will to build a country in peace”, it was decided to suspend the bilateral ceasefire with the EMC “in the areas of Meta, Kaqueta, Gueriyar and Putumayo”. Main areas of operation of that group. And he announced that “all offensive operations” would be resumed within 72 hours.
The government said in a statement that there was “no justification for this type of crime” and a “serious violation of international humanitarian law”.
The ceasefire was not fully enforced
A six-month bilateral ceasefire aimed at reaching a peace agreement with five illegal armed groups was announced by Petro on December 31, 2022. But this effort was taken to reduce the intensity of the armed conflict and facilitate dialogue. All work.
Among these groups, the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas publicly ignored a bilateral ceasefire in January and have been holding peace talks mediated by Venezuela, Mexico and Cuba since last November. The crisis has already triggered warnings on two occasions.
On March 20, Pedro himself called off the ceasefire Colombia’s Gaitanista Defense Forces (AGC), also known as the criminal gang of the Clan del Golfo, For inciting violence in a miners’ strike in the northwest of the country. Now this process is partially suspended with the Central General Staff of the former FARC.
Therefore, the ceasefire, which was initially in effect until June 30, continues only with the other major FARC defections, the Segunda Marquetalia and the Sierra Nevada paramilitary forces operating in the north of the country. “Ceasefire means cessation of hostilities against civilians. We believe that the various fronts of EMC in non-ceasefire areas should comply with this order”The President added on Twitter.
On Twitter, the governor of Meta, Juan Guillermo Juluca, celebrated the decision: “Patience is running out. The ceasefire with the dissidents is not only for the brutal murder of 4 children, but also for kidnapping, extortion. And other crimes that will never stop”.
Right-wing senator María Fernanda Cabal took the opportunity to say that “Pedro was the first to escalate the violence, leaving Colombia in the hands of terrorists, under the guise of total peace.”
Hoping to negotiate
Despite the ceasefire announcement, the government has not lost hope of negotiating with the Central General Staff, led by Nestor Gregorio Vera Fernández, aka “Ivan Mortisco”, a veteran guerrilla who never accepted the peace accord signed in November. 2016.
Other dissident leaders, led by Iván Márquez, Segunda Marquetalia, signed the peace, only to withdraw three years later, claiming the government had violated what they had agreed with the FARC.
“The Colombian government will immediately begin the dialogue phase with the names of its delegation members for the peace talks table with the EMC-FARC in the next few hours.” Adds an official statement on the possibility of opening a peace process with that group.
According to EMC, the start of these conversations was planned for May 16, but earlier this month they decided to postpone the establishment of the schedule to guarantee the participation of social organizations, unions and other sectors, without defining the date. .
On May 16, the EMC questioned its continuation of the bilateral ceasefire, accusing the government of failing to comply with military operations throughout the year, killing 10 guerrillas and injuring 20 others. After the bilateral cease-fire was suspended, the Central General Staff responded that “one-sided partisan warfare would be unleashed and the dead, wounded, and prisoners would mount contrary to the policy of total peace.”
“From our point of view, this is the least serious government involved in negotiations to the extent that ceasefire verification mechanisms have not even been established,” the rebels added. no pressure” And without “defaults”.
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