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Estado Mayor Central: a discussion beyond the name

What surely began as a gesture of courtesy, or if you will, as a confidence-building measure, has become, in the midst of the intense ups and downs of total peace, a problem of complex resolution.

*Column by Fredy Chaverra

What surely began as a gesture of courtesy, or if you will, as a confidence-building measure, has become, in the midst of the intense ups and downs of total peace, a problem of complex resolution.

I am referring to that work of "conceptual exhumation" undertaken on September 17, 2022 by the recently defenestrated Danilo Rueda, who, without calculating practical consequences resurrected a ghost by recognizing the dissidence led by Ivan Mordisco as the Central General Staff of the FARC-ep..

And since that day, the ghost of an acronym that was thought to be extinct has not ceased to wander the uncertain labyrinths of total peace securing, without further public discussion, a hasty political recognition, as well as the historical banners of a guerrilla that ended definitively on August 15, 2017, the same day that concluded the laying down of arms of close to 7,000 former guerrillas of what was once the largest insurgent force in the western hemisphere.  

The reasons behind this work of conceptual exhumation turn out to be as weak as they are contradictory.

Initially, the government assumed that the guerrilla fronts that did not accept the Agreement signed on November 24, 2016, the same ones that declared themselves in rebellion before the former Secretariat or prior to the Tenth Conference (the one that sealed the end of the FARC-ep as a guerrilla group), deserved a recognition of their "insurgent" nature that would enable channels to activate an eventual negotiation process.A process that would not imply renegotiating the Peace Agreement and that did require new models of reincorporation and transitional justice.

However, this decision was precipitated by at least two specific circumstances: first, as a prelude to the recognition, no progress was made in a thorough characterization of the criminal network that the Santos government has included under the umbrella of "FARC dissidents" and which, from the outset, has been called "dissidents of the FARC. prevented the recognition of their differentiated nature, trajectories and motivations;segundo, se pasó por alto que las disidencias de las Farc crecieron entre 2018 y 2022 sobre la base, en mayor medida, de new recruitments.They have never been strictly formed by rebels who did not recognize the Peace Accord.

It is also contradictory that in order to advance in the negotiation process, the government has endorsed as EMC spokespersons people who did benefit from the Peace Accord, i.e., who were granted amnesty but returned to arms. under the pretext of non-compliance. That de facto takes off the hat of dissidents and puts on the hat of deserters. Was the Agreement not complied with when they were granted amnesty?

Already the Constitutional Court, in the communiqué endorsing the exequibility of Law 2272 of 2022 -also known as the Total Peace Law-, determined that people who are in prison cannot be appointed as "peace spokespersons". A decision that demolishes the designation of Alexander Farfán Suárez, aka Gafas -convicted of crimes committed after the signing of the Peace Accord-, as spokesperson for the EMC representation for the preliminary phase of the dialogues.

The truth is that the political recognition of the largest dissidence of the FARC-EP was an exclusive decision of Danilo Rueda, always backed by Petro and was something that was never raised as a topic of discussion on the national agenda.Only on the morning of September 17, 2022 we woke up with the good news that the Farc-ep acronym had returned to the arena courtesy of Rueda. From that moment on, the legacy of Santos and De la Calle (caricatured at the very least by the extinction of the acronym) was shaken to its foundations.

Hence, at the event commemorating the seventh anniversary of the Peace Accord, the former president stated that "the worst mistake this government has made is to patent dissidences as Estado Mayor Central".

Sin duda, el debate ya está servido y el gobierno, por cortesía del Estado Mayor Central, tiene todas las de perder.