Columbia (PanAm) – Critics Claims Juan Manuel Santos Has Become Too Close with Guerrilla Leaders
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Thursday, June 16, that he possesses information confirming that FARC guerrilla members are preparing to renew hostilities should the ongoing peace talks with the government fail.
“How do I know we will be back to war? We have confirmed information that they’re prepared to go back to war, and specifically urban war, which is more demolishing than rural war. This is a reality, I know it, and this is why it’s so important that we reach an agreement,” the president warned Colombians.
Santos sent a call to the nation to unite forces to achieve the peace agreements.
Furthermore, the president rejected accusations that his adminstration had become too close with FARC during the peace process.
“They claim I am close to FARC as a critique to the process,” Santos said. “I don’t get it. FARC called me the executioner because nobody has hit them harder militarily, and this has allowed us to sit down and negotiate.”
To avoid “possible bloodshed,” the president made a call to vote yes for the peace talks. “If the plebiscite isn’t approved, we go back to war,” he explained. “It has been said that voting “no” will give more jail time to those guilty of crimes. The whole negotiation is integral.”
Colombian Social Media Erupts
In the wake of the announcement, Colombian politicians and citizens took to social media to express outrage of what they interpreted as a veiled threat.
The hashtag #SantosAmenazaConGuerra (“Santos threatens with war”) became a trending topic on Twitter.
— Everth Bustamante G (@everthbustamant) June 17, 2016
“Talk of urban FARC war is pure irresponsible alarmism from Juan Manuel Santos”
Días tristes para la democracia,cuando es el propio Jefe del Estado el que amenaza a la ciudadanía con guerra urbana #SantosAmenazaConGuerra
— Fernando Sierra (@Fsierraramos) June 17, 2016
“It’s a said day for democracy when the country’s own president threatens citizens with urban war”
Por eso Colombia debe estar preparada, esa falsa paz tiene la paloma cargada guerra. #SantosAmenazaConGuerra
— Blanca Margarita (@yasayya) June 17, 2016
“That’s why Colombia must be ready; war hides behind the false peace [with FARC]”
— Jose Fco Vargas S. (@colombomosquita) June 17, 2016
“They are exactly the same: While Maduro threatens the opposition-controlled Congress in Venezuela, Santos threatens citizens with war in Colombia.”
This report prepared by Orlando Avendaño for PanAm Post.