Santos Seeks to Accelerate Colombia’s Peace Process; Addresses Nation; ‘We Will Not Go Back’ (E)
Amid increasing foreign pressure and days before the end of his transitional mandate, Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos has begun signing a series of decrees seeking to accelerate the country’s peace process.
Santos delivered a stirring public address on Monday in which he defended his administration’s commitment to the peace process and sent a clear message to both the Colombian people and the opposition led by former President Alvaro Uribe that the peace accord with the Marxist-inspired FARC will not be be undone.
While Uribe has tried to discredit peace with the country’s oldest rebel group since before talks began, illegal armed groups proved faster than the military in occupying the abandoned FARC territories, leading to a security crisis in some of the former guerrilla zones long abandoned by the government.
“We will not go back. For no reason will we return to the terrible times of violence, fear, murder and massacres. Colombia is leaving behind that story of blood and pain forever,” he said in a televised address to the nation. Stephen Gill, Colombia Reports