Thursday, August 7, 2014

Santos in His Labyrinth

El Tiempo's home page today quotes Santos saying that 'A peaceful Colombia is unstoppable.'
Santos looks to 'Conquer peace,' according to
Semana magazine.
Pres. Santos based his reelection campaign on one issue above all: Ending Colombia's long conflict by making a peace deal with the FARC guerrillas (it's hard imagine the smaller ELN carrying on alone). He revisited the theme during his second inauguration today.

inconveniently for Santos, however, the FARC know this, too. And they've taken advantage of Santos' commitment by escalating their attacks recently, mostly in the impoverished the Pacific coast region, including an attack which killed a two-year-old girl.

A FARC bombardment killed a two-year-old girl.
Santos, of course, had to respond. But his warning that the government's patience could run out didn't convince many. After all, if the talks collapse, so will Santos' best chance of leaving a lasting legacy. That's one reason why Santos was strategically smart to refuse a military truce during the talks. The government's overwhelming military might can force the guerrillas to make concessions which they wouldn't if they could talk in peace.

The last time that the government tried to talk peace with the guerrillas, the FARC used a truce and a demobilized region to strengthen themselves and hold kidnap victims.

But, by refusing a truce, Santos left himself open to the danger that the guerrillas' violence against civilians could cause public opinion to reject the whole idea of making peace with criminals.

The guerrillas, on the other hand, want to make their violent power felt at the negotiating table in Havana, Cuba. But, besides all the suffering they're causing, they risk overplaying their hand. If they do so, Santos may have no choice but to abandon the talks - despite his own great ambitions.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

1 comment:

Coffeemax said...

The Marxist principle of FARC and antiquated and irrelevant to the human race as history has so well proven. Socialism is a failed idea. People are not like ants; (99.99% of all humans want to have more and be better than their neighbors). Anyway, FARC's demands are preposterous. Is not interesting how some of the FARC leaders wear the same scarfs as PLO and HAMAS. Makes one wonder.
Santos is a Colombian "silver spoon" Colombian. Peace negotiations were for pure political reasons...and it worked. People are naive.