Colombian President Gustavo Petro suspended this Monday the truce with the so-called Central General Staffthe main group of dissidents of the FARC guerrilla, in four of the most conflicted regions of the country after the murder of four indigenous minors by the rebels.
“It has been reported that the bilateral cessation that currently existed with this armed group in the departments of Meta, Caquetá, Guaviare and Putumayo is suspended and all offensive operations are reactivated,” the president wrote in a statement on Twitter.
Even if the ceasefire will continue in other territories, these four regions in the south of the country They constitute a stronghold of the guerrillaswhere their leaders are supposed to live and produce tons of cocaine.
The minors of the Murui community they had been forcibly recruited by the rebels who walked away from the peace pact that disarmed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2017, America’s once most powerful guerrilla.
This weekend the authorities reported that they were assassinated on the border between the departments of Caquetá and Amazonas by members of the Carolina Ramírez Front, which belongs to the Central Staff of the FARC, the most powerful dissident group.
It was “an atrocious fact that calls into question the will to build a country in peace. There is no justification for this type of crime.”Peter said.
In 2021, the independent study center Indepaz estimated that the EMC had around 1,700 fighters.
Led by Iván Mordisco, the Central General Staff is part of the illegal armed groups with which Petro wants to negotiate and agree on disarmament within the so-called “total peace” policy.
In April, that rebel faction said it was ready to start talks in May, but the establishment of the table never materialised. According to Peter, the intention of the dialogue is maintained and soon the guerrillas will formalize the names of their negotiators.
On December 31, Petro declared a bilateral ceasefire with this group of dissidents and with four other major armed structures operating in Colombia.
However, three truces have already fallen: with the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN), who refused to cease hostilities despite peace talks with the government since November, and with the Clan del Golfo cartel, which attacked public forces and the civilian population amid protests by illegal gold miners.
“If the ceasefire is not effective in some territories to protect the life and integrity of the population, there is no point in persisting with it,” Petro said.
On Twitter, the governor of Meta, Juan Guillermo Zuluaga, celebrated the decision: “Patience was running out. The suspension of the ceasefire with the dissidents is not only for the cowardly murder of 4 children, but also for the kidnappings, extortions and other criminal actions that have never stopped”.
In a statement sent to journalists, the Central Staff sharply criticized the government, without mentioning the murder of indigenous minors.
“Unilateral rupture will trigger war and the dead, the wounded and the prisoners will multiply”, says the text.
“From our point of view this was the least serious government to engage in talksto the point that the ceasefire verification mechanisms have not even been installed, added the rebels, who asked the president to develop a peace policy “without improvisations, without pressure” and without “defaults”.
The peace and security strategy of Petro, the first leftist to govern Colombia, it is increasingly criticized by the oppositionwhich questions the ability of the military forces and the president not to give in to pressure from illegal groups.
“The first responsible for the escalation of violence is Petro, who, with the deception of total peace, has left Colombia in the hands of terrorists,” said right-wing senator María Fernanda Cabal.
With no ceasefire with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the ELN and the Gulf Clan, Petro has truces only with the Second Marquetalia, another faction of dissidents led by former FARC number two Iván Márquezand the Conqueror Self-Defense Forces of the Sierra Nevada, a paramilitary group from Santa Marta (north).
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.