The Colombian Senate has voted against a constitutional reform for peace that would allow for FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrilla leaders to participate in national politics, particularly in regards to the enforcement of peace in the country.
The reforms were introduced as part of the ongoing peace talks underway in Havana, Cuba, where the FARC guerrillas and the government of Colombia decided on the creation of a Legislative Commission for Peace—a legislative body that would legally enforce the agreements made during the peace talks.
The body was deemed necessary in order to make sure that both sides adhere to the agreements made during the formal peace talks, which have been underway in Havana since 2012, as they get closer to signing a final peace deal.
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According to the agreement, the president would appoint members to the special committee. However, the Senate has shot down the idea of FARC guerrillas participating in the political body.
FARC leader Ivan Marquez denounced the Senate's decision, calling the decision “petty.”
“It is a horrible pettiness that the Senate has denied the possibility that the guerrillas be involved in politics,” he wrote on his official Twitter page.
Es una horrible mezquindad que la plenaria del senado haya negado la posibilidad de que la guerrilla participe en política— Iván Márquez (@IvanMarquezFARC) November 4, 2015
“This peace process has to come out the other side. The reconciliation based on justice and democracy is the destiny of Colombia,” added the FARC leader.
Este proceso de paz tiene que salir al otro lado. La recociliación sobre bases de justicia y democracia es el destino de Colombia— Iván Márquez (@IvanMarquezFARC) November 4, 2015
Meanwhile, Pastor Alape, another member of the insurgent group, echoed these sentiments, saying, “Peace is not to demobilize the insurgency, it is to mobilize an active political process, without violent harassment from the state.”
As part of the new agreement on the Commission for Peace approved by the Senate, the president will not have power to appoint persons who are not already members of Congress to the new body.
According to Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo, the decision will be discussed again in the following deliberations in Congress.
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