President Juan Manuel Santos has announced that, as the Colombian people voted “no” on a negotiated amnesty deal with the FARC terrorist group, Bogotá will be forced to end its ceasefire with the group at the end of the month.
It is unclear how the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) will change their behavior following the end of the ceasefire. Its leaders repeatedly promised following the “no” vote that they would not return to violence, although FARC terrorists engaged in attacks against voters during the plebiscite last Sunday.
“The bilateral, definitive ceasefire has been decreed [to end] on October 31 and I hope that, at that moment, we will be able to cement the agreements that can solve this conflict,” Santos said in a nationally televised address Tuesday night. “We cannot prolong this process or this dialogue for much longer, as we are in a gray zone, a type of limbo that is very risky and dangerous,” he added.
Santos has sent a contingency of Colombian government negotiators to Havana, where the terror group’s leadership resides. Among them is Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín, who admitted to reporters “there was no Plan B” in the event that the Colombian people rejected the deal, and chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle, who attempted to tender his resignation to Santos after Sunday’s vote but was kept on staff.
The Telegraph notes that this particular ceasefire took effect in August, following the official confirmation that both the government and the FARC had agreed to the deal. It was meant to be an indefinite ceasefire to continue long after the supposed “yes” vote.
The FARC have openly rejected the vote, with leader “Timochenko” stating that the plebiscite “has no legal effect” and that Santos must find a way to implement it over the will of the people. “Timochenko,” active on Twitter, responded to Santos on that platform, asking of the end of the ceasefire, “and then do we continue the war?”
FARC terrorists appeared to continue to war on Sunday, when a guerrilla contingency attacked a voting area in central Guaviare state.
The proposed peace deal would have allowed the reintegration of 7,000 FARC terrorists into civilian life after handing over their weapons and passing through a specialty tribunal for terrorism, established exclusively for FARC members. That tribunal would have decided whether the crimes committed by each individual terrorist fell into the categories of “political crimes” or “crimes against humanity,” and those guilty of the former would not have to go to prison. Neither the government nor the FARC ever specified which crimes belong in which categories, and voters feared crimes like drug trafficking, forced abortion, rape, and kidnapping would go unpunished.
The deal would have also allowed the FARC to evolve into a political party and FARC members like leader Timochenko to run for office, alarming Colombian voters, particularly those living in affected areas. The “no” vote swept Colombia’s mountainous interior, where the FARC has been most active in its half-century of existence. The home of the first ever FARC terror guerrilla, as well as Timochenko’s hometown, overwhelmingly voted “no” on the deal.
The Marxist FARC engages heavily in drug trafficking, particularly cocaine, and uses abductions to raise ransom money. It is currently the world’s wealthiest terrorist group after the Islamic State and Hamas.
The leader of the “no” opposition, Senator and former president Álvaro Uribe, has insisted on a peace deal that sends FARC terrorists to prison and bars terrorist leaders from running for office. He is expected to meet with Santos, his former Defense Minister, on Wednesday morning to discuss what provisions a new peace deal would require.