He points to the “world drug problem” as the main “fuel” of the wave of violence in Colombia
MADRID, Sep. 18 (EUROPE PRESS) –
The Colombian Foreign Minister, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, has stressed that the eventual merger of the FARC and ELN dissidents will lead, not to a new guerrilla, but to a “narcoterrorist group”, ensuring that “the State is prepared “to combat it, and has ruled out the example because” the vast majority “of former FARC fighters are committed to peace.
“There is no formation of a new guerrilla group, but the birth of a narcoterrorist group that is protected by the dictatorship of (Nicolás) Maduro” in Venezuela, said the Colombian Foreign Minister in an interview with Europa Press when asked about the intention of the FARC dissidents to ally with the National Liberation Army (ELN).
'Iván Márquez' and 'Jesús Santrich', among others, announced last August their return to arms under the acronym and symbols of the FARC in response to the alleged “betrayal” of the Colombian State to the peace agreement signed in 2016 for the guerrillas and the Government, in whose negotiation both participated.
Trujillo has ruled out a called effect, despite the fact that 'Iván Márquez' and 'Jesús Santrich' were first-level leaders of the FARC and were elected to represent the political party that emerged from the guerrilla in Congress. “The vast majority of former FARC members … are fulfilling the obligations they have acquired in the peace agreement,” he said.
The head of Colombian diplomacy has stressed that “they are fugitives” because “what they did was to escape to circumvent the action of Justice and avoid being extradited to the United States”, which persecutes them for, supposedly, having continued with drug trafficking after the signing of the peace agreement.
Therefore, “they are not people who have returned to form a new guerrilla group, but a terrorist group,” he said, while ensuring that, although the merger of FARC and ELN dissidents would be a challenge to the Colombian security, “the State is prepared through legitimate force to face it”.
The FARC political party has also repeatedly accused the Colombian State of breaching Havana's texts. Questioned in this regard, Trujillo has argued that “the Government is making the effort it must make”, although it has apostilled that “it is always willing to correct where it is necessary to correct and make better decisions.”
Thus, he stressed that in the three years that have elapsed since the signing of the peace agreement – two under the Government of Juan Manuel Santos and another with the Iván Duque Executive – there have been “very clear advances” in its implementation , among which he mentioned “a much more solid institutionality”, “land delivery and legalization” and development plans with a territorial approach.
He has also admitted “obstacles, difficulties and deficiencies”. “Naturally, yes, but we must bear in mind that the implementation of the peace agreement was conceived as a 15-year process,” he recalled, stressing that, as the UN Security Council has recently ratified, “the implementation process is going well. ”
He has also defended “the peace policy with legality that President Duque applies”, because “it is what the Colombian people voted for” in the last elections and in the 2016 referendum, that is, the implementation of what was agreed but with “changes, reforms and adjustments” obtained “through consensus and institutional mechanisms”.
WAVE OF VIOLENCE
Among the issues to improve, Trujillo has recognized the need to “strengthen the protection mechanisms” of former FARC guerrillas, given that more than one hundred have been killed since the signing of the peace agreement. “There is no doubt about that,” said the head of Colombian diplomacy.
The chancellor has pointed out that “the State has been taking additional measures to guarantee its security”, such as “a timely action plan that implies more coordination (…) for the early warning events that the Ombudsman's Office makes, more measures of collective protection and the strengthening of the entire state security apparatus. ”
Trujillo has framed the attacks on former FARC guerrillas in the wave of widespread violence that has also affected social leaders – with more than 400 dead – and the candidates for local and regional elections to be held on 27 October in Colombia, with seven dead.
“Of course, the State is acting in cases of violence during the electoral campaign” and “to give greater protection to social leaders,” he said, emphasizing that “the duty of the Colombian State is to guarantee the safety and tranquility of all the inhabitants of the country. ”
Questioned about the causes of violence, the Foreign Minister has explained that it is due, on the one hand, to the struggle between rival groups to seize the old FARC businesses and, on the other, “it has to do with the birth of new illegal armed groups. ”
“What is happening in some areas of the country is a kind of confrontation between groupings of bandits, criminal gangs, in whose confrontation, unfortunately, innocent citizens fall,” he lamented.
GLOBAL ALLIANCE AGAINST 'NARCO'
Trujillo said that “these illegal armed groups are reaching areas where there are illegal sources of resources.” “The fuel for all this violence is drug trafficking, it is illegal mining, it is extortion,” he said.
Specifically, it has identified drug trafficking as its main vector, which it has described as “a global problem” that, as such, must have an international response.
Colombia advocates “the principle of shared responsibility”, which means that each country where any of the elements of the criminal chain is present must act with all firmness and strength. ” “It is everyone's responsibility and, therefore, it has to be a comprehensive and balanced approach,” he argued.
On the possible impact of this wave of violence on the peace process, the chancellor has been optimistic, trusting that “the positive will finally be imposed on the negative, as we move forward, not only by granting greater security guarantees , but also effectively fighting the world drug problem. ”