Friday, November 8, 2013

FARC in Congress?

FARC fighters: Soon running for Congress?
The FARC are going to least maybe.

The agreement on political representation reached this week in Havana promises the FARC representation in Parliament after a peace treaty is finally reached.

But the agreement leaves out who would represent the guerrillas and exactly how they'd be selected. Among other things, regions of Colombia with historic guerrilla presence would be given special seats in Congress. But how such areas would be selected, and by whom, isn't clear.

As for the guerrilla leaders, many would presumably be barred from entering Congress because of the many crimes against humanity they have committed.

The agreement "has such a level of abstraction that it can't be said there've been advances," analyst Alfredo Rangel told El Tiempo.

But the very existence of the agreement, vague as it is, is progress. It demonstrates that both sides
FARC child fighters. The recruitment of children is
one of many guerrilla human rights violations.
want to advance.

The two sides previously reached an agreement on land reform, but still must bargain over how to deal with narcotrafficking, compensation for victims and how to end the conflict.

Then, the deal will need the approval, in some form, of the Colombian people.

A lot of things could still go wrong, including the fragmentation of the FARC's forces if some fronts balk at losing their income from drugs and extortion or the election of a conservative Colombian president who might abandon the negotiations for a militaristic strategy.

But the guerrilla leaders' willingness to sign this agreement - which seems to include few real guarantees for them, appears to show that they desire a peace deal and are willing to accept weak promises to get it.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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