Cuba’s Terrorist Allies Open Peace Talks With Enraged Rhetoric 3

Harsh rebel rhetoric as Colombian peace talks open

By Vivian Sequera, Associated Press

HURDAL, Norway (AP) – Colombia’s first peace talks in a decade were inaugurated Thursday a half world away with a demonstration of just how widely the two sides differ on how to end a vexing, nearly five-decade-old conflict. The Oslo talks were brief, symbolic and largely perfunctory. Held at a secret venue, they lasted seven hours and were followed by word that substantive talks will begin Nov. 15 in the Cuban capital of Havana. The next round will tackle “comprehensive agrarian development,” though little else appears to have been agreed upon.

The government’s lead negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, sought to set a businesslike, cordial tone in brief remarks at a joint news conference at a lakeside hotel north of Oslo. He said the government seeks “mutual dignified treatment” in the talks and doesn’t expect the sides to see eye-to-eye ideologically. His opposite number from the Western Hemisphere’s last remaining major insurgency, Ivan Marquez, said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, had come to Oslo “with an olive branch.”

Then he began railing against Colombia’s “corrupt oligarchy,” its alleged masters in Washington, “state-sponsored violence,” the government’s “deceptive and backward” land policies, and the “vampires” of transnational oil and mining that FARC says are ravaging the nation. “We want to denounce the crime of capitalism and neo-liberalism,” Marquez said during a 35-minute discourse that denounced some companies and individuals by name, including a cousin of President Juan Manuel Santos and a relative of 1 of the government negotiators.

Members of the government team, separated from the FARC negotiators at a long table by Norwegian and Cuban diplomats who have acted as facilitators, looked bored and slightly annoyed, some crossing their arms, others propping up chins with hands. “There is a great chasm between the two parties that is going to be very difficult to overcome,” said political scientist Vicente Torrijos at Bogota’s Universidad del Rosario.

Colombia’s business community is also hostile to the FARC. Its TV and radio stations cut away to commercials early in the FARC’s separate news conference Thursday. Land ownership issues are at the heart of Colombia’s conflict, which is fueled by cocaine trafficking and aggravated by far-right militias that have colluded with a military widely questioned for human right abuses. Colombia’s most fertile land has been largely concentrated in the hands of cattle ranchers and drug traffickers. Colombia’s president has said he expects the talks to last months, not years, as did the failed 1999-2002 talks that were held in a Switzerland-sized safe haven. Santos ruled out a safe haven this time and rejected FARC’s request for a cease-fire.

Article continues here:  http://www.whig.com/story/19858106/harsh-rebel-rhetoric-as-colombian-peace-talks-open

3 comments

  1. So far, the only good thing about these peace negotiations is the fact that Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, has not ordered the Armed Forces to cease fire and stop operations against the FARC and ELN. Maybe he suspects that Venezuela and Cuba, by brokering and hosting peace talks, are trying to win some time for the hard pressed Marxist guerrillas, allow them to reorganize, get better weapons, recruit new fighters and renew the offensive at a later time.

    The Colombian Army news agency reports every day new operations against the FARC and ELN forces in various parts of Colombia, such as destroying training facilities, dismantling drug labs, defusing mines and improvised explosive devices and arresting suspected guerrillas and drug traffickers. While the intensity of such operations is rather low, they help keep the momentum and prevent the government forces from being taken by surprise and lose the initiative to the guerrillas in case peace talks break down. This is the only wise thing to do.

    It is well known how wide is the gap between the positions of former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe Vélez and Juan Manuel Santos. The former claims that during his time in power, the FARC had been practically beaten and reduced to a rag-tag band of kidnappers and drug traffickers, while under Santos, the FARC is slowly recovering some of its lost strength despite such spectacular blows such as the killing of its leaders.

    Given the starting position adopted by FARC delegates, negotiations will be a difficult and protracted affair and neanwhile, all the countries in the region are beefing up their arsenals. Venezuela will spend 5 billion dollars on additional Russian fighter planes and tanks, Bolivia´s president, Evo Morales, has announced plans for “building up an army to be feared by the Empire”, probably with Iranian assistance, and Colombia, having acquired new US helicopters, is interested in purchasing state-of-the-art Israeli UAVs (HERMES 450 or even HERMES 900) and maybe even the latest Israeli Merkava IV main battle tank, to counter the threat of Venezuela´s T 72s. This was the subject of the talks between Santos and visiting Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, early this year.

    Sergio Klein
    Jerusalem
    October, 20, 2012

  2. As I was posting my previous comment, the news came in about the Colombian Air Force attack on Cabo Marzo FARC camp, in Chocó province, close to the Panamanian border, confirming my claim that such strikes are the only wise thing to do during the peace talks in Oslo and Havana.

    Cabo Marzo was a drug export base, belonging to Front 57 of the FARC and according to admiral Roberto García Márquez, commander of the Colombian Navy, the airstrike is a serious blow to the finances of the FARC.

    According to another Colombian military source, 16 FARC guerrillas were killed in the strike while preparing a cargo of cocaine of 1 ton. Enrique Lemos Moreno, alias “Náder”, FARC chief treasurer, was thought to be among the killed guerrillas although his death has not been confirmed yet.

    And again, confirming what I wrote about the Israeli military support for the Colombian Armed Forces, EL TIEMPO newspaper reports that in the Cabo Marzo airstrike took part a number of Israeli made KFIR fighter bombers. Colombia has about 23 such planes which were upgraded at one of its Air Force facilities with technical assistance from the Israeli Aircraft and Airspace Industry.

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