The Colombia Support Network (CSN) has received with great hope the news that the Santos Administration and the FARC guerrillas have established a framework for peace talks. We have always supported a negotiated solution to the Colombian conflict and are therefore pleased to see that the parties are pursuing a negotiated end to the conflict. Both President Santos and FARC leader alias Timochenko have focused attention on very significant issues, especially meaningful land reform and reparations for those who lost loved ones or lands in the decades-old conflict. These issues need to be addressed seriously and with a fundamental commitment to justice if a lasting peace is to be achieved.
President Santos has named a negotiating team which includes some members, such as General Jorge Enrique Mora, who have not in the past shown themselves to be protectors of human rights. We call upon these individuals, as well as the FARC representatives, to put aside personal prejudices and to keep always in mind that they are negotiating for the Colombian people as a whole, not for the military high command or the countries’ business leaders.
We are pleased to see that Cuba, Norway, Chile and Venezuela have offered their good offices to carry forward the peace talks. Their support should stimulate the Colombian negotiators to work seriously to achieve the peace which Colombians of all persuasions and human rights organizations such as CSN so strongly desire.
We call upon the government of the United States to support the effort to arrive at a just peace through negotiations, without imposing preconditions. This is an appropriate time for a cut in military aid, much of which has gone to support a Colombian army with a poor record on human rights. Since the Santos Administration and the FARC appear to have agreed to discuss seriously the drug trade, the Obama Administration should be open to considering changes which the negotiating parties may suggest. It is high time for the United States to end coca crop spraying and to pursue effectively, through investigation and prosecution, an end to the money-laundering in which United States banks have participated. We also call upon the United States government to cooperate with human rights organizations in Colombia and in this country to make available paramilitary leaders and drug-traffickers imprisoned in this country so they may provide testimony concerning human rights abuses of which they have knowledge.