FARC Leader, Jesús Santrich, Delivers New Statement, Accuses Duque of Treason

El líder de las FARC Jesús Santrich ofrece una nueva declaración el 31 de agosto de 2019FARC leader Seuxis Hernández, better known as Jesús Santrich, delivered a new statement on behalf of the armed group and accused Colombian President Iván Duque of betraying the Peace Accords.

This is the second statement offered by the historic leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). This time it was presented by Seuxis Pausias Hernández Solarte, better known as Jesús Santrich, in the absence of Luciano Marín Arango, alias Iván Márquez, who read the first statement of August 29, as well as Hernán Dario Velasquez, alias El Paisa.

As his colleague Ivan Marquez did on August 29, Santrich announced “the beginning of the Second Marquetalia under the protection of the universal right that supports all peoples of the world to rise up in arms against oppression. This refers to the 1964 uprising in the village of Marquetalia, where Manuel Marulanda Vélez and Jacobo Arenas began the struggle and founded the FARC.

Santrich accused the government of Ivan Duque of betraying the Havana Peace Agreement.

“Iván Duque declares without hesitation that what he did not sign does not oblige him, ignoring that the agreement was signed with the State. Evidently the establishment did not intend to respect the principles that govern negotiations, pacta sunt servanda and good faith. The State that does not respect its commitments does not deserve the respect of the International Community, nor of its own people,” Santrich said.

In addition, he expressed that his objective “is not the soldiers or the police, the military officer or the non-commissioned officer respectful of popular interests, but the oligarchy,” whom he accused of being “corrupt, mafia-like and violent.

Why has part of the FARC taken up arms again?

“Our decision is not to continue fighting among class brothers so that a shameless oligarchy can continue to manipulate our destiny and enrich itself, more and more, at the cost of public poverty and the dividends of war. Hence our call also to the members of the Public Forces who suffer the pain of the people, to walk together for their demands and their happiness,” he specified.

“Within that route, we will immediately seek to coordinate efforts with the ELN guerrillas and with those comrades who have not lowered the flags that are a source of fear in the homeland.

Santrich speaks of working for a new transitional government that is the product of “a great coalition of forces of life, social justice and democracy that calls for a new dialogue of peace”. He stressed that “the tools exist to continue seeking a concerted solution, promoting an open constituent process towards overcoming exclusion”.

Latin America’s oldest guerrilla movement officially ended in November 2016, when FARC leaders and government representatives signed the peace accord. That document sowed hope for peace in a country that had been in conflict for more than 50 years. After Ivan Duque became President in August 2018, the ex-guerrillas became aware of the hostility of the new government, which considered the peace accords an excessive concession to the rebels. Confrontations with former rebels and social activists increased, especially in rural areas.

A year later, on 29 August 2019, former FARC rebels announced that they would take up arms again. According to Iván Márquez, in the three years of peace more than 500 community leaders were murdered in the poorest communities of the country and 150 guerrillas died amidst the indifference of the state.

After the uprising, Iván Duque ordered the Attorney General’s Office to issue an arrest warrant against the dissidents. Later, Colombia’s Defense Minister Guillermo Botero announced that nine suspected guerrilla dissidents were killed.