The government’s lead negotiator for peace talks with the FARC is optimistic that the current negotiations in Havana, Cuba will result in concrete agreements. Humberto de la Calle said, “In my opinion, which I’ve formed sitting at the table, there is truly a real opportunity.”
Unfortunately, government negotiators have remained tight-lipped about the issues discussed in Havana. In the long run, the secrecy is bound to hurt the process; any peace accord will need the support and the approval of the public to be legitimate.
According to a recent poll, 78 percent believe the FARC should serve jail time and should not participate in politics.
According to Semana news magazine, there are three ways the peace talks can come to light legitimately.
The first possibility is a constituent assembly, which is what the FARC prefers. But a constituent assembly can bring forth a slew of issues which don’t necessarily have to do with Havana. Ironically, the FARC push a constituent assembly — which can also be a way for former President Alvaro Uribe to seek a re-election.
The second possibility is a referendum or a plebiscite, which is what the government prefers. The challenge here is the process legally requires a large number of people to participate and agree on the same points. This means some points discussed in Havana will pass and others will not, and this could back-fire on the months of negotiations.
The third possibility is to approve a list of laws agreed to in Havana — but this does not count with the approval of the public and will not legitimize the process in the eyes of the public.
However, it is premature to speak of passing laws born from the peace talks in Havana. Today, six months after the talks commenced, there seems to be little agreement over the first point in the agenda.