Colombia's High Commissioner for Peace, Danilo Rueda, and representatives of dissident Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) guerrillas have met during the weekend to discuss possible talks, according to a statement released on Saturday.
”In the department of Caquetá (...) we have held a meeting of exploration and rapprochement to evaluate the possibility of initiating dialogues in the framework of total peace, reads the document.
Rueda and four delegates of the combatant forces identified as Calarcá Córdoba, Alonso 45, Ermes Tovar, and Erika Castro signed the communiqué published in Colombian media together with a photograph of the meeting. Also taking part in the encounter were UN representative Raúl Rosende and Norwegian diplomat Das Nagoda, who acted as international observers.
Latin America's most fearsome guerrilla group, FARC signed a peace deal with the state in 2016 to end more than half a century of armed conflict. But some guerrillas, unable to find a niche in civilian life, joined dissidents linked to illegal mining and drug dealing.
Rueda had said on Thursday that former FARC senior commander Ivan Marquez, who is now the head of another dissident faction, had expressed interest in taking part in fresh talks. Colombia's first-ever leftist President Gustavo Petro is pursuing a policy of total peace with all armed groups. It is possible to imagine that we could be on the brink of a multilateral ceasefire, Rueda said.
The Colombian Government's Commissioner is a theologian and a social communicator who almost became a priest. He was the founder and director of the Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace and for years he has dedicated himself to working with communities in the Atrato River, Magdalena Medio, Urabá, Antioquia, and several other areas of the country.
Rueda is very secretive about his life: He is believed to be married and also to have no children. At least, he never talks about them. He is also believed to be around 55 years old. Even his critics recognize he is skilled in the territory and knows the victims, the guerrillas, and the paramilitaries well.
However, the Inter-Church Commission is known to follow the liberation theology,” the same principle around the creation of the National Liberation Army guerrillas of which Petro used to be a member.