Latin American Program in the News: Colombia Rebels' Post-conflict Role a Key Issue in Peace Talks

Oct 15, 2012

Los Angeles Times

BOGOTA, Colombia — Among the many thorny issues to be hammered out in peace talks beginning Wednesday in Oslo between Colombia's government and the country's largest rebel group is what sort of post-conflict political role will be afforded to the insurgents…

…FARC's goal is to transition to an ostensibly peaceful political entity while avoiding the systematic annihilation experienced by a previous rebel-sanctioned party called the Patriotic Union. At least 1,163 members of the Patriotic Union died between the mid-1980s and early 1990s at the hands of right-wing paramilitaries, sometimes with the help of the Colombian armed forces, according to Steven Dudley, author of a book on the slayings.

Dudley, a researcher with the think tank InSight Crime, voiced optimism that Colombia could avoid a new wave of killings if a peace accord is signed.

"Colombia is not what it was in the past," he said. "There is a stronger justice system, more accountability in the military and police, and a political and economic class that understands the long-term costs of fratricidal politics."…

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