Monday, October 3, 2022

Colombia’s FARC admits fault over kidnapping practices

pablo catatumbo farc

Rebel group FARC admitted on Monday that the practice of kidnapping in Colombia “was an error” that incurred high political costs for the guerrilla group.

This statement by FARC negotiator Jorge Torres Victoria, alias “Pablo Catatumbo,” was significant, signaling a shift in position, as the FARC had long maintained that they never kidnapped anyone but rather held people as either “prisoners of war” or “financial detainees.”

“It is true that the kidnapping, as you call them, what we have called financial detainees, has resulted in a high political cost,” said Catatumbo on a popular television program on Caracol Television. ”Yes, I believe that it was an error.”

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According to a recent study by the National Center for Historic Memory and the private firm, “Cifras y Conceptos,” the FARC is reponsible for 37% of the near 40,000 registered kidnappings between 1970 and 2010.

“There never has been a decision on our part to voluntarily cause pain to our [country],” Catatumbo continued, and implied that the FARC would seek forgiveness through “the truth and reparations” to victims affected by the armed conflict.  The rebel negotiator hopes that a “commission of truth” will be established to definitively say moving forward, “what is the participation and responsibility of all of the actors in the conflict.”

When pressed further on the point of asking for forgiveness however, Catatumbo backed off and continued more traditional FARC rhetoric.

“When you say to me if we’ll be asking for forgiveness, [I ask] forgiveness from whom?  Why forgiveness? Forgiveness for taking up arms?  Forgiveness for social justice groups?” he said. Newspaper El Universal argued Catatumbo’s statement could be construed as a failure to recognize the pain inflicted upon Colombia’s civil population by the FARC’s actions.

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Catatumbo also would not say anything specific about the historic deal reached between the government and the guerrillas that was signed last Wednesday as the whole process is still pending.

MOREColombia govt and FARC sign deal on rebels’ political participation

 The peace talks are approaching their one year anniversary on November 19.  So far two of the six initial agenda items have been agreed upon. If the third agreement is reached, a ceasefire will end official violence between the leftist guerrillas and the government that has afflicted Colombia for the past half century.


The post Colombia’s FARC admits fault over kidnapping practices appeared first on Colombia News | Colombia Reports.

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