Unpopular is the peacemaker

7 months ago Comments Off on Unpopular is the peacemaker

A strategist, not a salesman

JUAN MANUEL SANTOS, Colombia’s president, could be a candidate for the Nobel peace prize. But a few days after signing a ceasefire agreement with the FARC, effectively ending Colombia’s 52-year-war against the guerrilla group, he is eager to talk about his military credentials. He joined the navy at 16, helped lead a military campaign against the FARC as defence minister in the late 2000s and in 2011 ordered a raid that killed their top commander. “No Colombian has hit the FARC harder than I have,” insists Mr Santos in an interview at Casa de Nariño, the presidential palace in Bogotá.

The reason for this tough talk is that many Colombians are sceptical of the deal he signed in Havana on June 23rd with the FARC’s “maximum leader”, Rodrigo Londoño, known as Timochenko. The FARC have massacred Colombians, kidnapped them for ransom, sold cocaine on a grand scale and committed other crimes in the course of a war in which perhaps 220,000 people died (though there are no reliable figures). Guerrillas who confess will be subject to eight years of “restrictions on liberty” (not jail)…Continue reading