Despite a promise during peace talks that they would not engage in any terrorist activity during the course of the nation’s presidential election, reports have surfaced of at least three different incidents of attempted terror attacks by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as the country heads for a presidential run-off vote.
Colombian newspaper El Universal reports that Colombian authorities recorded “distinct guerrilla actions” this weekend during the period that polling stations were open (presidential elections in Colombia are ongoing, and the first round occurred between May 19 and 25 this year). Among them was a bombing attempt using “improvised explosive artifacts” near a housing complex that the newspaper reports did not result in any injuries, as the explosives fell into an empty field.
Another incident described in the report occurred on Saturday in the rural Caquetá area, in which small handmade bombs known as “tatucos” were launched at a military base in the region.
In addition, authorities discovered high-powered explosives in the region of Antioquia, which were found before they could be used near an urban center. Authorities believe they may have been prepared for use during the elections.
The FARC, which are currently negotiating with President Juan Manuel Santos from their sanctuary in Havana, Cuba, had agreed not to organize any attempts from May 20 to May 28 “against the armed forces or the economic infrastructure.” The group said in a statement they hoped the ceasefire would be a “light of hope” for permanent peace.
The results of the Colombian election seem to indicate that the nation’s voters are tired of FARC and frustrated with attempts to negotiate peace with the terrorist coalition, which turns fifty-years old this year. Óscar Iván Zuluaga, the far-right opposition candidate, won the election with almost 30% of the vote against incumbent President Santos, who initiated the dialogue with FARC. The candidates will face off in a runoff election next month.
Zuluaga has made an end to negotiations with FARC a centerpiece of his campaign and counts on former president Álvaro Uribe’s support. Uribe’s tenure was marked by a significant decline in FARC activity, as he and the CIA under President George W. Bush began using counterterrorism tactics employed against Al Qaeda to eliminate FARC leaders. Zuluaga has endorsed the idea of a FARC political party, however, so long as candidates running for office were sympathizers without a history of terrorist activity.