Civil War by Other Means

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary The Colombian government and the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) are in the process of trying to negotiate a peace deal that will see the FARC finally demobilize and bring former FARC guerrillas into the political process. This has been attempted before, and such peace efforts have failed. Whether this one succeeds remains to be seen. However, there is one thing that many Colombians are demanding that may not be part of the current peace process. Many Colombians throughout the country are protesting against the peace negotiations. There is no question they want peace. What they do not want is for the leaders of the FARC nor any of those individual guerrilla soldiers involved in kidnappings, mass murder and war crimes to get away the atrocities they committed. Hundreds of thousands of Colombians are demanding that the government hold the FARC accountable for the murder and the disappearance of their loved ones.

This may not be possible, given that the FARC will most likely not cooperate. Would the Colombian government force the FARC to have some of their most senior commanders tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity? This is one of the reasons why the FARC has not entered into negotiations with the government, or rather did not give up the fight. Because the FARC is heavily involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Their crimes against the people of Colombia are truly infamous. At the same time, the Colombian government is under pressure to nail those FARC individuals guilty of such terrible crimes. Or if members of the FARC are not punished, then at least the Colombian government should try to extract information from FARC leaders about the missing and murdered loved ones to bring closure for all in Colombia’s brutal civil war.

I have this feeling that the FARC will want a blanket amnesty for all their leaders and all guerrilla fighters. The Colombian government knows this will not go over well with so many people, but the government might simply do it to end this bloody civil war. The civil war has been going on for over 50 years, and there is no question that the Colombian government wants to see an end of this conflict. How it brings an end to this conflict remains to be seen. But if no type of justice is brought for all those who lost family and friends, then there will in fact be no real peace. The FARC may be trying to get its cake and eat it too, but it has a lot to answer for. Otherwise, FARC members and leaders may find themselves the targets of death squads, bandits, and ordinary citizens seeking revenge. Colombian society will be just as ripped up as before, and who knows how this will impact the political process. In other words, there will remain a civil war by other means.

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