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article imageEx-FARC chiefs warn of Colombia peace deal 'betrayal'

By AFP     Oct 2, 2018 in World

The man who negotiated FARC's peace agreement with the Colombian government said Tuesday the rebel movement had been naive to lay down its weapons before the deal was implemented.

Ivan Marquez said modifications made to the 2016 agreement after the handover of FARC weapons -- which ended five decades of conflict in the South American country -- had "betrayed" the agreement.

"It happened after the delivery of weapons. It is a treachery, a trap, a deception... one cannot betray peace in this way," Marquez wrote in a letter published by Colombian newspapers and co-signed by another FARC leader, Oscar Montero.

Both men are in hiding.

Several ex-rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -- now a political party -- have criticized the Bogota government over a lack of promised resources to help reintegrate former guerillas into civilian life.

Their fears have grown after the election earlier this year of rightwing President Ivan Duque, who has vowed to fix "flaws" in the agreement negotiated by his predecessor, Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos.

Duque has in particular criticized the FARC deal as being too lenient in allowing former rebels accused of atrocities to serve as lawmakers.

Former FARC rebels participate in a meeting of their new political party in Bogota on August 31  201...
Former FARC rebels participate in a meeting of their new political party in Bogota on August 31, 2018
Raul ARBOLEDA, AFP/File

"Naively, we believed the word and good faith of the government," wrote Marquez and Montero, adding that FARC founder Manuel Marulanda Velez -- who died in 2008 -- "always warned us that the weapons were the only sure guarantee of compliance with any agreements."

In the letter to the Senate's Peace Commission, the two leaders said the deal's main "structural fault" was to have handed over weapons "without the prior implementation of the economic and social re-integration of the guerrillas."

Colombia's peace commissioner, Miguel Ceballos, said Duque would honor his election pledge to reverse some provisions of the agreement considered too lenient on the former rebel leadership.

"If they become closer to, or join, the dissidents, they are breaking not only the agreement, but the whole structure of the new political party," warned Ceballos.

Marquez resigned from the Senate in July and his whereabouts since then, like those of several other key FARC figures, are unknown.

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