International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Skepticism on Colombia’s Peace Talks

This op-ed, written at the onset of the Colombian peace talks this past October by the prominent Latin American writer, Carlos Alberto Montaner, reflects a particularly skeptic point of view in respect to the negotiations that I think is worth noting. Montaner’s first point is that the FARC have strayed far from their political ends and today resemble a drug cartel more than “violent revolutionary organizations.” Thus, Montaner hypothesizes that more than policy change or peace, the guerrilla group’s motivation for participating in these peace talks is to acquire a legitimate spot on the Colombian government from which they can handle the drug business with much more power.

Although Montaner’s point might seem far fetched, he does very well in questioning what the FARC’s motivations are when coming to the negotiation table. Has the organization been weakened to the point where negotiation seems like a viable option? What has changed? It could be that the group was incredibly weakened during Alvaro Uribe’s presidency, coupled with the fact that the former president was reluctant to any peace process that included impunity for the guerrilla group.

But has the organization really been weakened, or has it just translated its operations to neighboring Venezuela? Also, what does it mean that the negotiations are being held in Cuba? How can a country that has been under a totalitarian regime for the past 50 years, whose leaders have not themselves been held accountable for decades (to its own citizens or to the international community) be a legitimate guarantor for these peace negotiations?


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