Santos Suspends Peace Talks

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 17 November 2014

-General Captured in Civilian Clothes having left bodyguards behind despite warnings of FARC presence.

-Suspension of talks sparks #treguaya (ceasefire now) hashtag on twitter

General Ruben Dario Alzate, commander of the Titan Task Force of Choco department was allegedly captured alongside an army captain and a lawyer in charge of the region's military 'Special Projects'. The General capture follows the capture in combat of two Colombian soldiers last week. If it is confirmed that the FARC are holding him he would be the highest ranking officer to have been captured by the guerrillas.

Although details are unconfirmed he was travelling in civilian clothes (why he was not in uniform is as yet unknown) in a launch on the river Atrato. He headed towards the settlement of Las Mercedes despite warnings of FARC presence. Once arrived he was allegedly arrested by FARC guerrillas alongside his companions. The soldier driving the boat escaped unharmed.

Although there has been no independent confirmation that the General is being held by the FARC (nor have the FARC yet confirmed that they hold him) Santos suspended the talks in a press conference alongside Minister of Defence Pinzon.

Santos also asked why the general had apparently broken with all the security protocols. Santos has ordered the army to launch a rescue operation. Historically these have led to the deaths of several hostages.

Some commentators have noted that the FARC did not break off talks when the Colombian army killed their commander in chief, Alfonso Cano, nor during more recent lethal bombardments. Meanwhile others have commented on the fact that the General's capture highlights the need for a bilateral ceasefire and civil society participation in the talks process.

David Florez of the Patriotic March said on twitter that "We should be alert and defend the peace process - a general in civilian clothes in a rural area could be a way of sabotaging the process"

Carlos Lozano of the Patriotic March tweeted "It is absurd that Santos suspends the peace talks when it was him that imposed doing it in the midst of conflict."

Hollman Morris Director of Canal Capital tweeted "The enemies of peace are having a party right now, what matters least to them is the life of the general. They're desperate for an excuse to break the talks."

Jorge E Rojas the Secretary of Bogota Humana added “Let them suspend the war not the peace process #treguaya”

Please express your support for peace and a bilateral ceasefire in Colombia by tweeting using the #treguaya hashtag.

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