BOGOTA – Former number two of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Iván Márquez, announced on Thursday that he will abandon the historic agreement with the Colombian government and will return to arms.
The decision was announced on video in which Marquez is accompanied by other guerrillas.
“We announced to the world that the second Marquetalia has begun,” said the FARC leader dressed in military green uniform in a YouTube video, referring to a rural enclave considered the cradle of the group in the 1960s.
Colombian Conservative President Iván Duque responded by saying that he would send a special army unit to hunt down Marquez and that the guerrilla has the support of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, without providing any evidence.
The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), a court charged with prosecuting crimes committed during Colombia’s half century of armed conflict, later announced that arrest warrants against Marquez and others – which were suspended as part of the peace process – were back again.
Marquez accused the government of betraying the difficult deal under which most of the 7,000 FARC fighters left the armed struggle to form a political party.
“It’s a very worrying announcement,” Colombian government peace commissioner Miguel Ceballos said.
During his inaugural address in the middle of last year, the Colombian leader said that he will seek to correct “structural failures” of the Peace Agreement with the FARC, signed in the previous government of Juan Manuel Santos.
“We will correct structural flaws that have become evident in implementation, victims must expect that there will be moral, material and economic reparation from their perpetrators and that they will not be attacked by impunity,” Duke said in his hour-long speech. in Plaza de Bolívar, in the historic center of Bogota.
Duke also emphasized that the process of dialogue with the National Liberation Army (ELN) should be conducted without violence and with “strict international supervision.”