Colombia launches talks with FARC dissident group

Colombia launches talks with FARC dissident group

Dissidents of disbanded FARC rebel group known as the Segunda Marquetalia returned to arms after 2016 peace deal

By Laura Gamba

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) - The Colombian government and the Segunda Marquetalia, a dissident faction of the now-disbanded Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, opened their first round of peace negotiations on Monday in Caracas, Venezuela as part of an effort by leftist President Gustavo Petro to end a decades-long armed conflict in the country.

The talks were announced in Caracas at a ceremony that included seven government delegates and seven rebel leaders who will participate in this first round of negotiations that will go until June 29. The talks will also include representatives from the governments of Cuba, Norway and Venezuela.
The group of former guerrilla members is led by Luciano Martin Arango, under the alias of Ivan Marquez, who was a FARC negotiator for the 2016 agreement and is sitting down again in an attempt to reach an agreement.

"Today we want to express that the Second Marquetalia-Bolivarian Army, under my command and its collective leadership, has every willingness to contribute to the common achievement of peace for Colombia," said Marquez.

The Segunda Marquetalia, which takes its name from the place where the FARC was born in 1964, was created in 2019 when Marquez and other negotiators returned to arms.

Marquez has said his return to the armed insurgency was in response to the failure and betrayal of the Colombian government of the 2016 Havana peace agreement. After returning to the insurgency, he hid for a long time on the border with Venezuela.

It is estimated that the group has between 1,800 and 2,000 men, of which only between 1,200 and 1,300 are guerrilla members, while the rest are collaborators.

The group is mainly dedicated to activities such as illegal mining, drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping.

Under Petro’s Total Peace project, the government is trying to pacify the country, which has seen rising violence despite efforts to negotiate with all armed groups.

These will be the third negotiations that the government has entered into with an armed group.

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