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Santos prepared to talk with FARC leader Timochenko to accelerate peace talks

Wednesday, August 28th 2013 - 01:11 UTC
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The whereabouts of Timochenko (Rodrigo Londoño) is not known but is believed to be hiding in Venezuela  The whereabouts of Timochenko (Rodrigo Londoño) is not known but is believed to be hiding in Venezuela

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has confirmed that he would consider meeting FARC rebel leader Timochenko to accelerate talks aimed at ending 50 years of conflict but warned the nation will continue at war if Colombians reject what is agreed at the negotiating table.

Santos, who started peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, back in November, said on Tuesday the time for peace is “now or never”, but reiterated that any negotiated agreements must be ratified by popular vote.

In an interview with local radio, Santos said he is willing to meet Timochenko, whose real name is Rodrigo Londoño, in pursuit of peace so that Colombia can move into a different phase of stability and economic development.

“I think this is the most important process that Colombia can have and, if it's successful, the most important thing that can happen to Colombia in recent history,” Santos told W Radio, referring to the talks hosted by Cuba.

“So if there's a need at some point, for the process to be successful, that a meeting takes place, I won't rule it out,” he said when asked whether he would meet with the FARC leader.

More than three dozen FARC commanders are in Cuba working through a five-point agenda that would let the two sides declare an end to the fighting that has killed more than 200,000 since it began in 1964. The war has pit the FARC and a smaller rebel group, the ELN, against government troops and illegal paramilitary death squads.

Timochenko is not personally taking part in the negotiations and his exact whereabouts are unknown. He is thought to be coordinating the war from hiding in Venezuela.

Santos last week sent draft legislation to congress that would seek to ratify any deals signed in Havana through a referendum that would coincide with national elections next March or May. However FARC rejected point blank the initiative and demanded a constitutional reform and an end to the free trade agreement with the United States.

Santos is not only pressed by public opinion demanding results but also by former president Alvaro Uribe who has been campaigning against the peace talks, “a loss of time” with brigands and narcotic dealers and has formed his own party, Democratic Centre which is eroding on the current president chances and support.  

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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  • Anglotino

    The leader of FARC is thought to be “hiding in Venezuela”.

    Hard to keep blaming the right wing Colombian government for this ongoing war when the leader of the left wing guerrilla is being sheltered by your neighbour.

    Aug 28th, 2013 - 05:36 am 0
  • ChrisR

    He's trying to pass his bus drivers test!

    Just in case things don't work out for him!

    Aug 28th, 2013 - 02:24 pm 0
  • Anglotino


    The left wing FARC have debilitated Colombia for decades until recently. A large part in thanks to the US.

    The governments in Venezuela and Argentina (and to a lesser extent others such as Uruguay and Bolivia) are debilitating their own countries. Unfortunately for Colombia, the FARC have recently been helped by Venezuela which does what it castigates the US for doing; interfering in other countries.

    Colombia is a friendly to the US and the west in general. It is a connection between the Atlantic coast and the Carribean coast. Between Central and South America. And sits between Mexico and Brazil. It is the country of the future in Latin America. It is the world's 2nd largest Spanish speaking country in the world and has the 2nd largest population in South America after Brazil. 4th largest in the Americas! And yet it chooses not to throw its weight around like Argentina. It's economy has vaulted past Venezuela and considering INDEC's lies and exchange rate gymnastics of Argentina, it is now bigger than Argentina. Which makes it the 2nd largest economy after Brazil in SA and 5th in the whole region.

    The FARC are on the last legs and nothing more than bandits running drugs and exhorting now so poor Timochenko doesn't have much more of a future other than driving a bus.

    Aug 28th, 2013 - 10:03 pm 0
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