Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the head of the deadly Marxist narco-terror group FARC signed a new “peace deal” Thursday after Colombians rejected the amnesty deal in a popular vote last month.
In a much more subdued ceremony than the one preceding the vote against the deal last month, Santos and “Timochenko,” the head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), signed an agreement that would allow most members of the FARC to reintegrate into society with impunity, so long as they hand over their weapons to the government.
The deal largely resembles the one Colombians voted against in October, adding only one major imposition on the FARC: handing over a detailed inventory of their assets to the government. The deal otherwise paves the way for the FARC to abandon their weapons but legitimize themselves as a political party, using the millions generated from their intercontinental drug trafficking to fund congressional candidates promoting their radical Marxist ideology.
“The FARC, as an armed group, will cease to exist,” Santos told an audience at the second signing. The FARC, he added, may “promote, as a political party, their own political projects,” which the Colombian people, “with their votes, may support or reject.” Santos alleged that FARC leaders would be “investigated, judged, and sanctioned,” but did not elaborate on this point, as the deal does not mandate that FARC criminals serve prison sentences.
Speaking after the president, “Timochenko” described the FARC’s terrorist activity as “half a century of open war,” despite the fact that the FARC is not a legitimate army tethered to a sovereign, but a rogue group of communist murderers, rapists, and drug traffickers. “Our feelings of solidarity and admiration for the thousands of compatriots that took to the streets to condemn war,” he offered. “The first social demand is to put an end to the use of weapons in politics.”
Concluding his remarks, “Timochenko” offered a greeting to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump: “We aspire to see your government playing a role in favor of peace.”
Santos offered the first peace treaty to the Colombian people via referendum, as is constitutionally mandated for treaties. This time, the deal will be sent to Congress, where it will be treated as legislation. In the government’s best-case scenario, a legislative “fast track” will ensure the provisions be in place within a year, though the anti-communist opposition in Congress has made clear it will campaign to put the new deal to a national vote again.
“We are going to propose a referendum on some basic issues,” Senator Álvaro Uribe, a former head of state and leader of the Democratic Center party, said this week. “We will seek a citizen participation mechanism to honor the defense of the points we have made to the government that they did not accept,” he added, suggesting that his party has a “political responsibility with many Colombians.” Among the proposals Santos rejected from the Democratic Center was the use of the Colombian court system to try FARC terrorists and a guarantee that those guilty of terrorist activity will be unable to run for office.
These concerns largely fueled the vote against the deal the first time around. Despite his failure, Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts anyway, while “Timochenko” was forced to return to Havana, Cuba, where the communist government has offered him a safe haven until Bogotá offers impunity for his crimes.
The vote was a major embarrassment to Santos, who had taken two victory laps before the UN General Assembly beforehand and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
Historians estimate the FARC to be responsible for at least 200,000 deaths and 100,000 disappearances since it was founded over 50 years ago. FARC terrorists have also been found guilty of gross human rights violations such as kidnappings for ransom, planting land mines, the use of child soldiers, child rape, and forced abortions on underage female child soldiers.