No grudges at talks with Colombian government: FARC

September 4th, 2012 - 11:23 am ICT by IANS  

Bogota, Sep 4 (IANS/EFE) The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, will enter into peace talks with President Juan Manuel Santos’s administration in Havana “without grudges or arrogance”, the leftist rebel group’s top leader said in a video released Monday.

“We come to the table without grudges or arrogance,” said Rodrigo Londono Echeverri, the FARC’s top leader known as “Timochenko”.

The “Video for Peace”, which includes a rap song by the rebel group, is the guerrillas’ first public statement about the FARC’s upcoming peace talks with the Santos administration, which the president confirmed eight days ago.

Santos said Aug 27 in a speech to the nation that “exploratory conversations have been held with the FARC to seek the end of the conflict”.

The government offered no details on what preparatory steps had been taken that were begun, according to the media, last Feb 23 in Havana, with Cuba and Norway as guarantors and with Venezuela and Chile accompanying the process, and whose roundtable will be formalized in Oslo at the beginning of next month.

“I’m going to Havana, this time for talks/ the bourgeois who invited us/ never could defeat us,” begins the rap song belted out by a pair of young rebels in fatigues backed by other insurgents on drums.

“I’m going to Havana, this time for talks/ with the one who accused me of lying about peace/ I’m going to Havana, if you knew with what emotion/ I’m going to converse about the future of my nation,” the song continues.

The guerrilla artists were referring to Santos, in power since August 2010, during which time the FARC has suffered two of the most devastating blows at the hands of security forces in its almost half a century of armed struggle.

Its two disasters were the deaths of the organization’s leader, Alfonso Cano, in November 2011 in the southwest part of the country, and of the group’s top military commander, Victor Julio Suarez, known as Mono Jojoy, the year before in central Colombia.

The rappers allude to these deaths and to those of other rebel leaders, as well as to the extradition of several more to the US, a country they criticize for meddling in Colombian affairs.

They do the same with Brazil, which provided the logistics for the release of the last civilians and security forces that the FARC held hostage, and whose government it questions for selling fighter planes to Colombia that have been used in counterinsurgency operations.

The song also refers to ex-president Alvaro Uribe, who was in power from 2002 to 2010 and is one of the strongest critics of the process of meeting with the FARC, and who during his two terms in office imposed a security policy that forced the FARC into a strategic retreat.

At the close of the video Timochenko appears to reaffirm the rebel proclamation that “we have sworn to overcome and we will overcome”.


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