Ivan Marquez and Oscar Montero, members of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) denounced in an open letter to Colombia’s Congress that “the fundamental pillar of the Peace Agreement of Havana has been betrayed” but insisted they continue to believe Colombia’s future can only be peace.
The two former FARC guerrilla fighters, whose whereabouts are unknown, denounced in the letter “three acts of folly” that drove the peace process to the abyss. The three acts they refer to are legal uncertainty, modifications to the signed agreement, and failure to fulfill key aspects.
Marquez, who was elected senator, refused to take his seat in the Senate citing Jesus Santrich's, key peace negotiator for FARC, framing and set up by the court. In the letter to Congress, Marquez and Montero accuse the Attorney General, the United States ambassador, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of sabotaging peace by imprisoning Santrich, a former FARC commander taken into custody on Apr. 9 after the DEA requested his extradition on charges of drug trafficking.
“This delusional action conceived to sabotage peace banished the weak trust that former combatants had,” they write.
Last week, Colombian prosecutor Nestor Martinez admitted before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) that he doesn’t have proof of Santrich’s alleged participation in the crime of drug trafficking, but expects the U.S. justice system to provide evidence soon.
“We are before a blatant abuse of power, mixed with an unacceptable rendition of our judicial sovereignty to a foreign power,” the letter states.
They also complain that the original agreement was modified “after we surrendered our arms. That is treachery, cheating.” The Constitutional Court ruled the agreement could not be changed by any of the three governments, however former President Juan Manuel “Santos didn’t have the nerve or conviction to use the power vested in him by the Constitution to save the process. He preferred not to cross the Rubicon out of fear of the pack of hounds.”
According to the two FARC leaders, the JEP is not the one agreed upon in Havana, but the one prosecutor Nestor Martinez and the “enemies of peace” wanted.
The JEP “is no longer for all who were involved in the conflict; they removed the third parties from its jurisdiction, they surrounded truth with darkness, which is the only thing that can close and heal the wounds created by the conflict and create a new environment for coexistence,” they warned.
in August, the government of President Duque presented a bill to Congress ordering that "under no circumstances" should investigative bodies such as the JEP or the Truth Commission be allowed access to military intelligence regarding national security. In June, Congress approved changes to the JEP by ordering the creation of an exclusive tribunal for police and military agents, which risks delaying judicial processes against state security officials.
“The former Congress sunk the political reform and special territorial districts for peace. Amnesty wasn’t fully implemented, we still have guerrilla fighters in prison. Five years after reaching the first partial agreement there are no land deeds, no three million hectare fund of land for those who don’t have it, nothing to dignify life in rural Colombia,” FARC leaders argue.
They also condemned impunity, especially for paramilitary structures that continue to function in the country. According to them, this is the responsibility of the General Attorney’s office. “They have said that over 15,000 accusations of paramilitarism and economic support remain dormant in file boxes.”
Human rights groups have reported that most murders against social leaders in Colombia have been perpetrated by paramilitary groups. Since the peace agreement was signed in 2016 over 400 social leaders and around 80 demobilized FARC guerrillas and their relatives have been murdered.
“Today former combatants are being murdered one by one in the midst of indifference by the authorities. The same is happening with social leaders,” Marquez and Montero lamented.