MADRID – Colombia’s vice president said on Friday that the peace process with the FARC, a former guerrilla group that has transformed itself into a political party, was irreversible and denied that former combatants were enjoying impunity for crimes committed during the decades-long conflict.
Asked about his nation’s upcoming presidential elections in May and the possibility that voters may choose conservative Ivan Duque, a critic of the peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Oscar Naranjo said the Colombian people would resist a return to violence.
In a conference organized in Madrid by the Foro España Internacional, Naranjo urged political leaders to “read the increasing intolerance for war and conflict” in the Andean nation.
Right-wing parties critical of the peace deal with the FARC, now a party known as Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, had the best showing in legislative elections last Sunday.
Even so, Naranjo said the desire to tear apart the agreement signed in 2016 was no longer apparent even in the most hard-line political discourse.
Naranjo furthermore denied that those guilty of war crimes were enjoying impunity under the deal.
He noted that 38 judges of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), set up to deal with all crimes committed during the armed conflict and extend amnesty or pardons for those of a political nature, were studying the cases of 6,900 ex-combatants.
Regarding negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN) that are set to resume after being stalled following a series of bomb attacks by the rebels, Naranjo demanded “coherence” between the guerrilla group’s words and actions.
He also thanked Spain for accompanying the Andean nation in its efforts to achieve and consolidate peace.
“We sought peace, we did it and now it’s time to build it, and we’re here turning to our allies and friends in Spain,” Naranjo said.
Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis, for his part, said at the conference that his country’s commitment to peace in Colombia was “unbreakable.”