Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has jetted off to Havana, Cuba, as Colombian government could be one step closer to announcing an end to its longstanding peace negotiations with insurgent group the FARC.
“Peace is near”
“It’s a very important day for peace in Colombia because today we will enter into the final phase, leaving only a few months before reaching a definite peace (agreement).” Minister of the Interior Juan Fernando Cristo commented.
Haré escala en La Habana para reunión clave con negociadores con el fin de acelerar el fin del conflicto. La paz está cerca.
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) September 23, 2015
“Making a stop in Havana for a key meeting with negotiators to accelerate the end of the conflict. Peace is near.” Santos tweeted.
The president will then continue on to the U.S.
Cuban President Raúl Castro and maximum leader of the FARC Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, alias “Timochenko”, will also attend the meeting, daily El Tiempo reported. It is hoped that a meeting between the president and Timochenko will put an end to the 50 years of armed conflict which has plagued Colombia.
Victims of the violence remain the key topic of negotiation, as the government and FARC continue to discuss land redistribution and economic compensation for those affected.
“It doesn’t matter that a few people are going to be unhappy, nobody is going to be totally happy, but the change is going to be very positive.” Santos said.
Yet critics of Santos’ campaign – among whom is ex-president Álvaro Uribe, aren’t so certain.
Santos no es la paz la que está cerca, es la entrega a Farc y a la tiranía de Venezuela
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) September 23, 2015
“Santos it isn’t peace that’s near, it’s surrendering to the FARC and Venezuelan tyranny.” He tweeted.
The FARC announced a unilateral ceasefire during July, after attacks against Colombian infrastructure began to increase.