New round of talks
As the 41st round of Colombian peace talks are set to begin on September 11, negotiators are optimistic. “We believe we are on track and that Colombia will achieve peace,” said FARC chief negotiator Iván Márquez.
President Santos told a conference this week, “I still aspire to what I said at the start of this year, we can achieve it, I believe we have to achieve it.”
Talking about peace
Mario Morales, an associate professor in journalism at Javeriana University has carried out an analysis of coverage of the peace process in over 11,000 pieces of journalism since 2012, including TV and print media.
Describing the narrative as “controversial and adversarial”, he said that the Colombian media focuses too much on “war reporting” and rarely addresses topics such as forgiveness, reconciliation, human rights and victims.
Minister of the Interior, Juan Fernando Cristo, announced on Monday, September 7 that the government will present a draft act on the creation of a special legislative committee for peace, giving the president power to quickly implement agreed actions – including agricultural developments, dealing with drug-trafficking and the FARC’s political participation – in the case of a peace agreement in Havana.
President Santos ruled out a constituent assembly or a referendum, claiming that, “It would be suicide”.
Senator Armando Benedetti agreed with the need to plan ahead, even while the peace process is still at its midway point, explaining that “We have to start to legislate now so that we don’t get caught with our pants down”.
International Day of the Disappeared
Marking the International Day of the Disappeared on August 30, FARC negotiator Iván Márquez told reporters that “We believe the peace talks should agree on commitments towards de-escalation, which includes the search for missing people.” Over 45,000 people are said to have disappeared in Colombia’s half century-long armed conflict.