World Bulletin/News Desk
The ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and a delegation of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrillas entered its 23rd phase in Havana, Cuba and is now addressing the subject of drugs and drug smuggling.
The negotiations which began in earnest in August 2012 when the two sides, after exploratory talks, reached an agreement on the six key points for the agenda is the latest attempt to bring an end to the long-running Colombian conflict.
With presidential elections set for May 25, the peace talks are a key subject on the campaign trail with President Juan Manuel Santos suggesting that only he can secure peace with the guerrillas.
“So little is known of the dynamics in Havana, how can we really judge on what basis the FARC are negotiating, what promises they have been made, and how much they rely on the word of President Santos,” said political commentator and director of Colombia-Politics.com, Kevin Howlett.
While the preceding rounds of talks addressed such topics as political participation, reconciliation and agrarian reform, this new round will encompass “drug policy” and some broad sub-topics such as crop substitution programs, consumption-prevention and public health programs and a solution to drug production and trade.
The FARC is known to control many of the coca growing areas, cultivating the crop used in the process to create cocaine and running many of the strategic corridors for smuggling the illicit product out of Colombia. So it remains to be seen how this round of talks will progress since the production and sale of cocaine is central to the guerrilla group’s income.
The FARC, which is the larger of the two rebel groups fighting the Colombian state, was founded in 1964 with the aim of installing a Marxist state. The smaller ELN (National Liberation Army) has suggested that it is open to negotiations with the government with conditions in the future.
Last Mod: 06 Nisan 2014, 00:25