The "new guerrilla" movement led by former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, People's Army (FARC-EP) Ivan Marquez announced to the public Saturday it is willing to engage in "dialogue" with a “coalition.”
Minority Faction of FARC Leadership Take Up Arms
An open letter signed "from the mountains of insurgent Colombia" by former high-ranking FARC commanders who are referring to themselves as the "New Power”, reiterates that the state’s failings to follow through with the 2016 Havana Peace Accords is what led the minority faction to return to arms. According to the ‘New Power’ that announced its rearmament Aug. 29 via a 32-minute Youtube video, the group took up weapons again because, "the history of betrayals suffered leaves no alternative."
The former FARC commanders and soldiers in the split faction of around 30 people that “only an open process and an alternative humanist government can pave the way towards a scenario of coexistence in which the interests of the people and true development prioritized” for Colombia.
On Thursday morning a video was published by a minority of senior leaders of the former FARC announcing their split from the main organization and to rearm. Among those in the video was Jesus Santrich, a key FARC leader who has been missing since mid-July and Ivan Marquez, a once-senior commander who was integral in negotiating the peace accord, announcing a “new stage of armed struggle.”
In the ‘New Power’ letter, the authors recognize all those who participated in the peace accord that was negotiated over several years. "They became the moral fire of the cause of reconciliation." They are "the great coalition of social justice and democracy that promotes a new dialogue to achieve true, final, stable and lasting peace,” the communique reads.
"Hopefully, total peace is achieved involving all armed actors that forges a New Alternative Government that saves the country from this general crisis,” say the dissident leaders who send a message to the Communist Party, the Patriotic Union and other nearby political factions: "As revolutionaries, sooner or later we will meet along the way."
Marquez, Santrich and the other signatories say there are "men and women of this country, who believe that another Colombia is possible who have struggled and continue to fight with patience and intelligence for peace." Among those on that list are Congressmen Ivan Cepeda, Alvaro Leyva, Roy Barreras, Gustavo Petro, Angela Maria Robledo and Angelica Lozano, among others.
The guerillas thank all social movements and guarantor countries that part in crafting the peace agreement and denounce the “Dominant Power Block—the oligarch class that sows wars to be freed by others.”
Also on Saturday, Colombia’s military announced it had killed, in total, 12 former FARC in a rural area in the southern department of Caqueta, near the border with Ecuador. Colombian Army General Nicacio Martínez said Saturday that the number of FARC dissidents who died in a large military operation rose to 12, three more than was first announced Friday following the Aug. 30 operation ordered by President Ivan Duque.
It’s still unclear how, or if, the Caqueta faction is related to the ‘New Power’ under Marquez.
The main ex-FARC constituency officially condemned the move on Thursday. In a tweet on their official account, they say unequivocally that “more than 90% of former guerrillas remain committed to the peace process.” The group did later that day say it was breaking with the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition (SIVJRNR), the institutions that form the basis of the Havana Peace Accords, which includes the Special Judicial Court, or JEP, set up to help the over eight million people affected by the 50-year civil conflict.