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News > Latin America

Colombia: FARC Warns Peace Deal at 'Most Critical Point' After Leader Arrest

  • Ivan Marquez of the political party of FARC speaks during a news conference in Bogota, Colombia April 10, 2018.

    Ivan Marquez of the political party of FARC speaks during a news conference in Bogota, Colombia April 10, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 April 2018

Jesus Santrich, a Congress member-elect representing the recently formed political party FARC, was arrested Monday at the request of the U.S’s DEA.

Colombia's peace agreement is at "its most critical point" after the detention of Jesus Santrich, a Congress member-elect representing the recently formed political party Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons, or FARC, for extradition to the United States over alleged drug trafficking, the organization's number two, Ivan Marquez told reporters Tuesday.

FARC Leader Arrested in Colombia at DEA's Request

"With the capture of our comrade Jesus Santrich, the peace process is at its most critical point and is threatened to be a true failure," Marquez said at a press conference in Bogota in which he asked Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to "keep his word" and requested an urgent meeting.

A day earlier Colombian authorities arrested Santrich at the request of the United States Embassy in Colombia, accusing him of drug trafficking. Santrich was a leader in the now disarmed Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, guerrilla movement, and was one of the top negotiators for the leftist group during the 2016 peace process with the Colombian government.

The accord offers disarmed FARC members sanctuary to not be indicted for crimes committed before the 2016 agreement, however, those committed after are subject to a full judicial process.

In a press release published Tuesday the FARC accused the United States and Colombia's Attorney General's office of orchestrating a plan "with the objective of decapitating out party's political leadership and burying the Colombian people's wish for peace." The statement also condemned the "subordination of Colombia's justice system" to U.S. interests.  

Furthermore, FARC's National Political Council highlighted the recent national meeting of FARC reintegration territories called on former guerrilla fighters to remain calm, "to not accept provocations,"affirming "it is indisputable that they pretend to force the disbanding of the (peace) process to justify the continuation of violence."

FARC has also requested observation of the United Nation, the European Union and the international community to ensure the Colombian state fulfills their part of the 2016 Havana peace agreement.

In its last sentences, the press release expresses FARC's solidarity with Jesus Santrich and support to the hunger strike he has started. "Santrich cannot be the trophy to give to (U.S. president) Trump on his visit to Colombia," the statement concludes.

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