Colombia’s military has not carried out a single attack on FARC units in the second week of the guerrilla group’s unilateral ceasefire, according to a conflict analysis group that is monitoring mutual attempts to deescalate armed conflict while peace talks are ongoing.
The Resource Center for Conflict Analysis (CERAC) said Tuesday that both the FARC and the military have fully complied with their promise to deescalate the armed conflict.
The FARC has not carried out one attack as promised by the guerrillas ahead of their July 20 ceasefire.
While the ceasefire is unilateral and the Colombian government officially has only agreed to suspend airstrikes, the CERAC registered not one ground attack on FARC units by the armed forces.
This could demonstrate that the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos is willing to make more concessions than it is publicly willing to admit.
“The levels of victimization of civilians and the loss of lives of guerrilla fighters and the security forces fell to historically low levels,” the CERAC said in its weekly report.
In the first week of the FARC’s truce, less than a handful of military attacks were registered. The FARC failed to fully comply with its ceasefire then, carrying out one attack in the central Colombian town of Mesetas, according to the CERAC.
Several other possible FARC violations that allegedly took place in the first week are still being verified.
The FARC’s ceasefire is the second this year. The first one took force on December 20 last year, but was suspended in May after 27 guerrillas were killed in an airstrike in the west of Colombia.
Before that, a FARC unit in the southwest brutally violated the ceasefire by killing 11 members of the military under confusing circumstances. The surviving military commanders of that attack were later arrested.
In total, FARC guerrillas violated their group’s truce 12 times during the first ceasefire. Notwithstanding, the failed ceasefire did effectively reduce conflict-related violence with 90%, according to the Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation, another conflict monitoring group.
The CERAC said that over the past few weeks, military activity has been so low that violence levels were even lower than during the first FARC truce.
The drastic reduction in violence is a major victory for Norway and Cuba, the guarantor countries of the peace talks, who intervened in July as both the FARC and the military had fully resumed offensive actions that were undermining the continuity of the talks.
The spike in violence also undermined public support for the talks and pushed the approval rating of the already unpopular Santos further down.
Public confidence in a positive outcome of the talks has not recovered in spite of the latest strike.
According to a poll released on Monday, only 29% of urban Colombians said to have faith the talks would end in a peace deal and the demobilization of the FARC. The vast majority, 69%, said to have no faith the talks will result in peace.
Colombia’s peace talks began in November 2012 and have since resulted in partial agreements on rural reform, the FARC’s participation in politics and the rebels’ abandonment of drug trafficking, one of their main sources of income with which they finance their uprising.
The negotiators are currently divided into two commissions, one dealing with Victims that includes transitional justice and one dealing with End of Conflict, which negotiates the FARC’s surrendering of weapons and the guerrillas’ submission a transitional justice scheme that complies with international humanitarian law.
If the talks are successful, the FARC will end their 51-year-long violent uprising and promote their Marxist ideals politically through non-violent means.
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