Over on Facebook recently I posted the following comment to see what reaction it would receive from interested FB connections:
Starting to wonder if Colombia was forced to negotiate with the FARC to secure the FTA from the Obama Administration. These FARC talks with Cuba make no sense. Bad for Colombia and regional matters.
When there is a genuine chance to reach an agreement to end hostilities, every effort should be undertaken to make it so. It is a risky proposition for any political leader and nation. Take the case of Ireland. The Northern Ireland “peace process” took, depending on your viewpoint, at least a decade and various ceasefire periods. And what about the Middle East “peace process”? Remember that one? My idea of peace processes that truly work include the Japanese and German surrender after World War II or, more recently, the fall of the Baathist regime after Hussein regime in Iraq or the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Negotiating with a terrorist group such as the FARC makes no sense really, unless there is overwhelming force by the other side to back it up. Add a state sponsor of terrorism such as Cuba to the mix and it borders on political lunacy. During the past few weeks I’ve been trying to figure out why Santos would agree to such an arrangement? Even the former Colombian President, Alvaro Uribe, does not agree with the Santos approach. Uribe is no saint on the Cuba issue either. But I’ll leave that issue for another day.
In the near term there will be no peace with the FARC. They are liars, cheats, killers, and at this juncture, at a negotiating advantage. The Cuba and Venezuela political move has been clever. The Chavez regime threatens Colombia’s flank, backed by Ecuador, and the Cubans move in to “make peace”. But what does Cuba get out of this? This is what has stumped me for a bit. Cuba already receives Venezuela’s oil. Cuba meddles in Andean politics and supports the FARC. Why give that up now? The only thing that comes to mind is removal from the State Department’s state sponsors of terrorism list. And folks here in town have already started talking about it. They are not even waiting to see the outcome of these talks.
As for the FB post the started this stream of consciousness, one reader responded “Lets not make excuses for Santos. And by the way there is a recent history by the Colombians of treating Cuba with kid gloves.” Indeed. We expect more from Colombia because the U.S. has been a good ally for many years. Colombian leaders and diplomats say one thing in DC (to get access to goodies such as FTAs and U.S. weapon systems and related support) but seem to do another in the region that hurt U.S. interests. It has been that way for some time.
Rather than turn up the political and military pressure, Santos believes it is time to talk. Let’s hope he takes his time. For anything that Cuba and Venezuela is involved with is fruit from the poisonous tree. And then there is the Obama Administration and its behind the scenes role in this matter. Did it orchestrate these talks or force Santo’s hand? There are folks in the U.S. Government who seem to think so and, in time I am in told, all this will come to light someday soon. The Castro regime is looking for a sideshow because pressure is building on the island for regime change. Let’s not give them an out.