Ortega Repeats Offer to Broker FARC Peace Talksn

July 25, 2008

President Daniel Ortega reiterated plans to help Colombia’s largest rebel group negotiate a peace settlement despite the Colombian government’s stated opposition to Ortega’s attempts to broker peace talks.

“We don’t have to ask for permission from anyone to struggle for peace,” Ortega said at the July 19 anniversary of the Sandinista revolution in Managua.

Ortega’s offer for peace talks comes after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was apparently weakened by the Colombia military’s recent rescue of 15 high-profile hostages, including former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

FARC has refused to sit down at the table with Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe. But the armed group recently wrote Ortega a letter requesting a meeting that could set the stage for peace talks.

FARC, a Marxist guerrilla group formed in the 1960s with intentions of toppling the Colombian government, has been implicated in kidnappings and drug trafficking in recent years. Today, the Colombian government as well as the United States and the European Union consider FARC a terrorist organization.

Ortega routinely refers to the leftist guerrilla group as his “brothers.”

Ortega has defied the Colombian government by offering asylum to three alleged FARC rebels who were injured in the Colombian military’s attack on a FARC camp in Ecuador in March. Nicaragua also has an ongoing dispute with Colombia over maritime territory.

Tomas Borge, the last living founder of the Sandinista Front, told the daily La Prensa last week that FARC should “disarm, seek the certain path to peace, but in a framework of understanding.”

 

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