Santos won’t revise pardons granted to M-19 guerrillas, blames wrong timing
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Santos won’t revise pardons granted to M-19 guerrillas, blames wrong timing

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has said that he doesn’t feel it’s “an opportune moment” to revise the pardons granted to M-19 guerrillas in 1985.

Speaking from Manila, the Philippines, the President said that “this type of request could be misinterpreted,” daily El Espectador reports.

Pardons were granted to various members of the M-19 guerrilla movement after the horrific events on November 6 1985, during what has been termed the Colombian holocaust.

The insurgent group stormed Bogotá’s Palace of Justice, taking dozens of hostages and ending in hundreds of deaths from the resulting crossfire as the country’s military tried to take back the building.

New reports into the siege have revealed dozens of torture allegations in the aftermath of the disaster.

Demands to re-open the case have arisen after the remains of three victims were also uncovered in common graves across the Colombian capital.

Eventual outcomes?

But if Santos does go ahead and revise the pardons granted to M-19 members what will this mean for the current peace talk delegation and members of guerrilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)? Certainly, this news has not been well received by the group, seen as something of a snub by those involved in the ongoing peace negotiations.

With Colombian senate is unsure what to do with the members of the group if a peace deal is signed during March next year, failure to revise the 1985 attacks could be seen as unjust, not only for the relatives of the victims but also for the delegation aiming to resolve a complex panaroma of over some 50-years of internal armed conflict in Colombia.

In the meanwhile, the FARC have made some leeway, promising to stop purchasing guns and ammunition in an attempt to scale-down conflict.

The M-19 disbanded in 1990.


“This is an outrage from any angle, for that reason we need to consider any eventual (peace) deal that we achieve here in Havana, and all the possible outcomes (for FARC members),” Commander Marcos León Calarcá commented.

Yet, despite the FARC rejecting Santos’ proposal of a constituent assembly – placing the final peace agreement up for popular vote – the FARC appear, at least, to be on course for peace.

As to whether other armed groups which have previously scarred Colombia’s political scene also finally face having their case re-opened, remains yet to be seen.

See also:

Colombia’s FARC face ban from participating in politics

Colombia’s FARC: Explosives, peace prizes and extraditions, an update