EspañolAs elections loom in Colombia, one of the pivotal issues in contemporary Colombian politics will become decisive: what to do about the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Current President Juan Manuel Santos started peace negotiations with the Marxist-Leninist guerrilla, talks that a large segment of society opposes, and with good reason — the systematic violation of basic human rights has been a constant in FARC’s modus operandi. However, it seems most citizens are also inclined to accept the high cost of achieving peace, if FARC members play their cards right and the peace talks actually achieve an amnesty.
The armed group, for their part, have been renewing their PR campaign; they have grown more conciliatory, and on Tuesday they released a music video featuring band Cuentas Claras. It’s a rap song called “Colombians, Let’s Join the Peace Talks,” and it portrays the living conditions of Colombia’s poor peasantry.
While we may want peace, that does not mean we have to downplay the ugly side FARC’s history. It is important to recall what Javier Garay wrote for the PanAm Post about “Alexandra,” FARC’s representative in negotiations with the Colombian government in La Habana, Cuba:
The effort to clean up the image of the guerrillas is the most deplorable element of the interview. This must be done, according to her — and the same goes for the Venezuelan regime — because the media is biased. They feel they are victims being attacked on all fronts.
Still, the negotiation process, supported by social-democrats such as Uruguayan leader Pepe Mujica, is central to President Santos’ campaign platform. Following favorable statements by guerrilla leaders, the rap video also comes at the right time to give the president’s reelection bid a last push.
The pressure on FARC at this time to engage with negotiations is also strong. Since last year, FARC members have been struggling, as their own top commander, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri (a.k.a. “Timochenko”) has admitted in letters.