Is the peace process bipolar? The words exchanged between Santos and FARC through the media would make you think so.
On February 20, during a land-restitution ceremony in San Vicente del Caguan, where peace talks with the FARC failed 11 years ago, President Santos said intelligence confirmed 500,000 hectares were violently stolen from the State by diseased FARC leader Mono Jojoy. Santos said Mono Jojoy was one of Colombia’s largest land-holders. According to the United Nations Development Program, over half of all land in rural Colombia is owned by just over one percent of the population.
Santos said the State is now taking back the stolen land and will hand it over to the country’s lawful peasant farmers. Just recently, 342 families from San Vicente del Caguan received land titles, and to date, 1.6 million hectares have been handed over to peasants throughout the country.
Two days passed.
On February 22, FARC negotiator Andres Paris read a statement upon arrival at the Palace of Conventions in Havana, where the peace talks are continuing with government negotiators. Paris said Santos devoted his speech in San Vicente del Caguan to “insulting” the FARC and its “most beloved commanders,” without ever referring to the ongoing peace talks … “Is that the way to create an environment conducive to the process and to dialogue? Is that how the national government does its part for reconciliation, Santos?”
The FARC’s current maximum leader Timoleon Jimenez, alias Timochenko, publicly expressed doubt that President Santos has any will to negotiate peace. He said, the government had “a narrow and calculated idea” that is “almost strangling” the talks.
A day passed.
On February 23, President Santos publicly said, “As we advance (in the peace talks), we will be satisfied. If we do not advance, we’ll get up from the (negotiating) table.”