The FARC's reported negotiating team for peace talks with the Colombian government consists of political rather than military leaders of the group, most with experience of negotiations, which may be a sign of the guerrillas' commitment to the process.
The leadership of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has reportedly settled on the composition of the five-man team that will represent the rebels in an upcoming round of peace talks to be held in Oslo, Norway. El Tiempo, which cites a source in the guerrilla group, reports that the team will be led by Luciano Marin, alias “Ivan Marquez” and will consist of the following: the FARC's international representative Rodrigo Granda; Jesus Emilio Carvajalino, alias “Andres Paris;” and Luis Alberto Alban Urbano, alias “Marco Leon Calarca.”
The identity of the fifth member is still unclear. The guerrillas officially still insist that Ricardo Palmera, alias “Simon Trinidad,” be allowed to participate in the talks, despite the fact that he is serving a prison sentence in the US after being extradited in 2008. However, El Espectador reports that the FARC has chosen Jaime Alberto Parra, alias "Mauricio Jaramillo" or “El Medico,” as a sixth nominee.
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As the Associated Press points out, the FARC’s representatives come from a largely political background. All of them are seen as strong ideological leaders within the guerrilla organization, and all have participated in negotiations with the government in the past (with the exception of El Medico). This is a positive sign, as it indicates that the FARC are likely taking the process seriously and are committed to its success.
If the rebels have indeed selected El Medico as a sixth member of the lead negotiating team, which is meant to consist of five people, it suggests that the FARC are prepared to accept that Simon Trinidad will not be able to attend talks. This removes one potential sticking point from the negotiations.
– Geoffrey Ramsey is a writer for Insight – Organized Crime in the Americas, which provides research, analysis, and investigation of the criminal world throughout the region. Find all of his research here.