Mérida, September 5th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Yesterday in an official statement, President Hugo Chavez expressed his “happiness” at the announcement of a general accord between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) which outlines dialogue steps towards ending the “long night of violence” Colombia has been subject to since the 1960s.
Colombian president Juan Santos confirmed yesterday that his government and the FARC signed the framework agreement, which is the result of six months of exploratory meetings in Havana, Cuba.
The schedule of meetings outlined in it will be accompanied by mediators from the Cuban and Norwegian governments, and Venezuela and Chile will also attend the process. Talks will begin in Oslo in early October, then move on to Havana. They will be centred on five key themes; rural development in order to guarantee land access, political participation, end to the armed conflict, drug trafficking, and rights of the victims.
“We have worked seriously and I should recognise that the FARC have also, they have respected everything agreed on till now,” said Santos. He also informed press today that Colombian ex-vice president Humberto de La Calle will be heading up the first negotiations between the government and the FARC, together with four others, including the Colombian head of police, and the president of Colombia’s business association. The five person negotiating teams will rotate with others for each meeting.
Chavez congratulated the governments of Cuba and Norway for their “successful management” and the Venezuelan government, in its statement, ratified its “total disposition to contribute, to the extent that the people of Colombia and their government deem it necessary, towards this brother country being able to put an end to the armed conflict and construct stable and lasting peace”.
Venezuela’s foreign minister Nicolas Maduro also said last night that Venezuela will assign one representative to accompany the dialogue process, and will announce that person in the coming days.
“It’s up to us to accompany and support Colombia in the construction of a new history of peace,” Maduro said, explaining that the accord would benefit Venezuela as much as Colombia, allowing them to develop economic zones together, strengthen their trade, education plans, cultural exchange, and the “construction of a border of shared life”.
The end of conflict would have even further consequences for Venezuela, according to analyst Sergio Rodriguez, speaking on Venezuelan public television last night. He said the large numbers of Colombians currently living in the country could return there, and the resources that Venezuela is currently forced to direct towards defence could instead go towards social projects and development. Further, the US “wants to involve us in the drug trafficking which originates in Colombia”, one of the key issues under discussion.
Yesterday both parties to the accord expressed appreciation for Venezuela’s role in peace efforts for Colombia. Santos said, “I want to thank the government of Venezuela for its permanent disposition to help at any time” and FARC spokesperson Rodrigo Londono also thanked Chavez for his offer of mediation.
Londono expressed his confidence in the dialogue process. “The FARC hold the most sincere desire that the [Colombian] regime won’t try to repeat the past,” he said. “We call on all of Colombia to … demand its participation or to assume it in the streets … another Colombia is possible”.