Are the FARC afraid of a peace agreement?

“The FARC are scared of reaching a peace agreement,” Daniel Pécaut told Cali based newspaper El Pais de Cali in an interview recently.

Pécaut is a French sociologist and historian who has covered Colombia’s armed conflict almost since it started. He went on to add that it would be very difficult to secure a peace deal in the time remaining.

“Yo creo que será difícil en el plazo que queda y es muy difícil con elecciones sin saber nada de los resultados de meses de negociación.
La idea fundamental es que en el país no hay movilización en favor de la paz, son muy pocos los preocupados por la paz y por eso de los dos lados están más o menos aislados.

“I believe that it will be difficult in the time that remains and it’s very difficult with elections without knowing anything about the results of months of negotiation. The fundamental issue is that there isn’t mobilization in favor of peace, very few are worried over a peace deal and for that reason the two sides are getting more and more isolated.”

It’s been nearly one year after members of Colombia’s government and FARC guerrillas met in Havana, Cuba to start peace talks.

How much do Colombia’s victims deserve?

The ringing in the right ear of Edgar Bermudez has not stopped since the former policeman felt an explosion crack open his face, knock him to the ground, blow out his eyes and steal his sight forever. Never, in that horrifying instant, did he lose consciousness. He was 26 years old.

Edgar was stationed in Nariño, a department in the south west of the country, where Marxist guerrilla and Colombian military vie for territory in a half-century armed conflict that has accounted for over 200,000 Colombian deaths. Edgar was part of a special ops team. Their mission was to eradicate coca grown in rebel FARC-held territory. Starting at 1am in the morning, bombs and grenades rained down on him and his battalion. The young policeman watched his friend die. He almost made it through the 6 hour bombardment unharmed. But then there was the explosion.

“The ringing sound bothers me still. It comes and goes though, so not all the time…” says Edgar over hot chocolate in a quiet cafe in Bogotá’s Palermo neighborhood.


Former policeman Edgar Bermudez is blind after an explosion took away his sight. photo Wesley Tomaselli

There are other things that bother the 34 year old blind man as well: It bothers him how people don’t watch their umbrellas in the rain. He can’t see them. People don’t pay attention. And the pointed tips strike him in the face as the crowds hurry by. It bothers him that he has to use a cane to get around Bogotá. And it bothers him that victims of the country’s 50-year war don’t get the reparations he thinks they deserve.

How to deal with victims and reparations for their losses is the 5th issue on a 6 point agenda being discuss between members of Colombia and the FARC in Havana, Cuba. Nearly one year on, preliminary agreements on only 1 of 6 points have been reached.