ANALYSIS – FARC Leader’s Death Could Speed Peace Talks in Colombia

first_imgBy Dialogo September 27, 2010 This democracy that the world and its political parties have, is something that any group of people without morals has, they assist and nurture this type of sickness found in all societies. The gangs and the misery Colombia has is not new, and the politicians offer this in their political platform but then they do nothing. I want and support democracy, because it allows us to go on “living in liberty” with the citizens who live with politicians who are mentally ill not only in Colombia, Mexico, U.S.A, and from there on down to the east and west of Patagonia, I don’t know what needs to happen, I don’t have the one true answer but since I reached the age of reason during my 71 years, I don’t see the way nor will I see a change, thank you for allowing me to make this statement. The death of the Colombian FARC guerrilla group’s military commander during Operation Sodom was a blow to the heart of the rebel group that could accelerate its decline and force its leaders to negotiate for peace with the government. Jorge Briceño Suárez, better known as “El Mono Jojoy,” fell fighting soldiers following a bombardment of his camp that began early in the morning on 22 September, in a jungle area near the municipality of La Macarena, in southeastern Colombia. While combat was underway, on the same day, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced in a statement their willingness to negotiate for peace with President Juan Manuel Santos, but without submitting to any conditions. However, the president, a former defense minister in the previous administration, which maintained a hard line against the guerrilla group with the support of the United States, is demanding a suspension of hostilities before sitting down to the table. Now, the death of the veteran Briceño Suárez, a fifty-nine-year-old guerrilla fighter, could increase the pressure on the rebel group, which is experiencing the worst crisis in its history, according to specialists. “For this organization, El Mono Jojoy was the equivalent of the commandant of the Army,” said former peace commissioner Víctor G. Ricardo. “It’s a blow to their military strategy; it’s a blow to the organization’s morale,” he added. A decade ago, Ricardo was one of the participants in the negotiations launched in 1999 by then-president Andrés Pastrana, when the rebel group was much more powerful. The talks collapsed in 2002. With the recent death of the guerrilla leader, considered a hardliner within the FARC, a light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to become visible. “With that military strength having been diminished, dialogue has to be near,” said Guillermo González, a former defense minister and current governor of the department of El Cauca. A SINGLE PATH Santos made peace negotiations with the rebels conditional on their releasing those they have kidnapped, suspending attacks, and announcing their readiness to lay down their arms. “Unacceptable, arrogant, and triumphalist” was the rebel group’s characterization of Santos’s demands. Meanwhile, the president promised to maintain the offensive against the FARC begun by his predecessor Alvaro Uribe. For former president Pastrana, the message that the administration has sent to the FARC’s commander-in-chief, Alfonso Cano, is that he could suffer the same fate as “El Mono Jojoy” and that the rebels should understand that the only path is that of peace. “They (the FARC) have no possibility of recovering their military strength; it’s an absolutely irreversible process of decline in both the political and the military spheres,” analyst Alfredo Rangel said for his part. “It’s to be expected that the psychological impact and the demoralization caused by this blow will lead dozens or hundreds of members of the guerrilla group to desert,” he explained. Despite everything, the guerrilla group still has the ability to cause headaches for Santos with high-impact attacks in jungle regions and even in urban centers. In fact, in recent weeks the FARC launched attacks in which more than thirty soldiers and police personnel died, leading the armed forces to redouble their offensive. “The deaths of police and military personnel, the deaths of guerrillas, the dramas that the inhabitants of the countryside experience in the midst of armed operations should lead us to construct a space for dialogue,” said Sen. Piedad Córdoba of the Liberal Party. Thousands of combatants have abandoned the ranks of the FARC since Uribe began military operations, reducing the rebel forces to 8,000 men from the 17,000 they once had, according to calculations by security sources.last_img read more


Women of Troy fall victim to poor play, conditions

first_imgThe No. 5 USC women’s golf team struggled through two days of wind, rain and 40-degree temperatures on its way to a 12th place finish at the Wildcat Invitational at the Arizona National Golf Club in Tucson, Ariz.The Women of Troy finished at 50-over-par 618 (308-310), 42 strokes behind No. 3 Arizona State. The finish is their second worst of the year, after the 16th place finish at the UNCW Fall Preview in October.For that tournament, the Women of Troy were missing No. 1 golfer sophomore Jennifer Song and lost senior Belen Mozo in the final round to injury. This week, the team had its lineup at full strength but struggled in conditions so poor the tournament was forced to cancel the second round of play.The break in action and the poor conditions wreaked havoc on scores across the board, as Arizona State’s winning combined score was an 8-over-par 576. Second place and host team Arizona recorded two rounds of 10-over-par to finish 12 strokes back of the Sun Devils at its own event.Not even the No. 2 team in the nation, the Auburn Tigers, could handle the conditions, finishing a combined 37-over-par.Mozo finished as the team’s low scorer for the week at eight-over-par 150 (77-73). Mozo, seeking her team-record fourth All-American award this year, balanced her four bogeys with two birdies to have the lowest round of the tournament for any of the Women of Troy. Mozo finished tied for 22nd, 16 places up from her finish in the first round.Song had her worst finish of the season with a tie for 40th at 12-over-par 154 (74-80). Her final round, which was marred by three double bogeys, is the first time Song has not scored below 80 in her USC career.Junior Lizette Salas, seeking a third All-American award this season, finished tied for 53rd at 15-over-par 157 (79-78). Two birdies in the final round were not enough to overcome five bogeys and two double bogeys. Salas shot three over par on the last three holes in the final round.Senior Caroline Kim (79-79) and sophomore Inah Park (78-80) tied for 57th at 16-over-par 158. Kim finished her final round with three double bogeys, three bogeys and a birdie, while Park had two double bogeys, five bogeys and a birdie.  Freshman Cyna Rodriguez entered as an individual and tied for 86th at 25-over-par 167 (84-83).The Women of Troy have six days to regroup before competing at the Bruin-Wave Invitational at the Robinson Ranch Golf Club in Canyon Country, Calif., from March 1-3.last_img read more