The best possible way to understand the regional contours of Colombia’s recent reconciliation to its domestic terror insurgency is geopolitics. Like Russia throughout the Cold War, Iranian leadership views the Caribbean basin as a springboard to controlling its regional ambitions. The soft underbelly of the Pax Americana was always latin American nation states because of their inferior political economies, weak institutions, corrupt application of the rule of law, trafficking and narcotics.
With nearly 52 years of fighting, four years of negotiations and three months after the deadline, Colombia’s Marxist guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) agreed to a definitive bilateral ceasefire. But the politics of the agreement is controversial, the region itself is perennially weak and the growing unpopularity of Colombia’s current president Juan Manuel Santos may be fatal.
Given the myriad components of this deal, why did FARC decide now to agree to anything, especially given how regional dynamics are favorable towards them. The answer resides in understanding the details of demobilization. FARC possesses 6,800 troops and 8,500 militias at 22 fixed points throughout Colombia. The current deal stands that the Colombian people must approve the deal by October in a plebiscite for FARC to begin demobilizing. There is more . . .
The Colombian government has agreed that FARC members not do jail time, even for crimes against humanity. This is a profound precedent and it involves quandaries that future Colombian presidents will be bound to. The government has asked that FARC members be seen by special tribunals and adhere to formal restrictions on their personal movement.
The former president Alvaro Uribe has openly stated his opposition. His campaign against the agreement has legitimate grounds. Absolutely no one knows FARC’s financial condition or whether it continues its ties to criminal enterprises, especially narcotics. Perhaps the real sticking point is how belated the current president extended government deadlines, effectively soliciting FARC towards an agreement.
The politics of the final engagement will be very telling. The special tribunal and disarmament verification will be crucial as the ability for Santos’ government to quick-start developments plans throughout FARC strongholds. One final point to ponder, Colombia’s explosion of criminal gangs and ELM (another Marxist insurgency) show no signs of standing down.
Colombia’s inflation rate has skyrocketed, this promotes the very black markets that sound governance needs to extirpate if it is to win lasting peace. For Colombia’s government to succeed, they’ll need a few sessions with Mexico’s own Milton Friedman, Dr. Augustin Carstens.