Search

Vatican News
Former FARC Commander, Ivan Marquez, announces a renewed insurgency Former FARC Commander, Ivan Marquez, announces a renewed insurgency 

Colombia's Bishops concerned about FARC reigniting armed conflict

The Catholic Bishops of Colombia express their concern and desire for peace, after former FARC rebels say they will once again take up arms against the government.

By James Blears and Devin Watkins

Colombia's Bishops say that arms and violence can only cause destruction, pain and death, and that nothing can justify returning to war.

In a note released on Thursday, the Bishops assure the people of Colombia that “peace is possible”.

“We encourage and accompany all those who, through dialogue and negotiation, commit themselves to reintegration into civilian life and democracy,” they write. 

'Betrayal'

On Wednesday, two former FARC commanders posted a video in which they called a 3-year-old peace deal ‘a betrayal’.

Colombia’s President Ivan Duque is offering a reward of US$ 800,000 for former FARC Chief Peace Negotiator, Ivan Marquez, and for each of the ex-commanders who appeared in the video.

The FARC leader says the Colombian government has been indolent and indifferent to a wave of violence over the last two years. 

It is believed that around 150 ex-guerrillas, and 500 activists, were systematically targeted and murdered. 

Mr. Marquez says that the FARC won't seek direct conflict with the government, but will only respond to offensives.

Government response

In a national broadcast, President Duque picked up the gauntlet calling the rebels a criminal enterprise of narco-terrorists, who are being sheltered by the government of neighboring Venezuela.

He is vowing to create a special Armed Forces Unit, using all available enhanced intelligence methods and greater nationwide mobility, in order to hunt them down.

Broken peace

In 2016, a Peace Treaty between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government ended over half a century of conflict.

At the time, the FARC said they had disarmed, and promised to evolve into a political party.

But the transition has been marred by killings, mostly by organized crime which has attempted to muscle in on territory once controlled by the FARC. 

30 August 2019, 13:39