Colombia: give peace a chance?

There is real possibility for peace between the Colombian government and the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), according to Antonio Navarro Wolf, a former rebel who is now governor of the southern department of Nariño and a leader in the center-left Democratic Alternative Pole. Following the FARC’s release of two hostages on Jan. 10, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez Frias has pushed for the Colombian government to advance the peace process by designating the FARC a “belligerent force” rather than “terrorists.”

For 16 years Navarro Wolf was a member of the rebel M-19 group, which signed a peace accord in 1990 and gave up the armed struggle. “It was difficult,” he told the New York daily El Diario-La Prensa in a telephone interview, noting that the Patriotic Union (UP), a legal political group close to the FARC, was virtually exterminated after it was set up in 1985. But that time has passed, he said: “We’re in a Latin America where leftist governments elected by popular vote are our daily bread; through the electoral path there are suitable spaces for the left to be able to govern and give form to its political project.” He warned that the FARC was turning into a “type of laboratory case” with very little future. (ED-LP, Jan. 21)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 27

See our last post on Colombia.