Politics 11-06-2018

Colombia. The Farc plays for Petro without saying so

Although the FARC officially has no candidate for the Presidency and the leadership of the Party has not given instructions to vote for anyone, Timochenko already said that they are at a "crossroads where you have to take a stand". Dismissing the blank vote he said in an interview that they will go for the candidate that guarantees the implementation and continuation of the Agreements. "I think public opinion knows who it is."

It's Petro. Timochenko is not going to name him because as we were told by almost all the sources of the Party with whom we speak they know that this would reinforce the stigma that he represents Castrochavism.

Although they do not see him as their ideal candidate because Petro has kept them on the sidelines saying he would not accept an alliance with them they do perceive it as their only salvation to prevent Ivan Duque from reaching the Casa de Nariño.

The Agreement above all

After the first round the National Political Council of the Farc released a statement in which they give a first nod to the candidate of the "Human Colombia" saying that the country is torn between "forces that seek to keep us tied to the warcorruption social inequality and subjection to foreign interests and a range of political and social sectors, among which young people stand out who emerge as a promising force from a possible future of democratic deepening ".

The same dichotomy that Petro has raised that choosing him is betting on an "era of peace" while voting for Duque is betting on a "violent past."

This idea is also shared in their chats by WhatsApp recognized leaders of the Party such as Andrés París saying that "only Petro saves the rose".

Beyond the communiques and the chains in the field they are moving reinforcing the idea that if Duque comes to power the implementation of the Agreements will cease to be the road map in the coming years a dilemma on which the undecided They will have to decide.

"We have been on the sidelines because if we say something we begin to question what is the candidacy of castrochavism. Nor can we be Petro's guarantors because we do not know how he will govern but he is the only one who can guarantee us the defense of the Agreement as it is "said Federico Montes a member of the Farc in Caquetá.

"That is why more than campaigning for Petro we are campaigning for the peace process dubbing the pedagogy of the danger that the arrival of Duke means" he added.

They are doing so taking advantage of the old relationship they have with social organizations and community action boards.

For example in the meetings that there are to see the advances of the substitution of crops two presidents of juntas in the Meta told us apart that the militants there make reference to that "if they want this policy to continue we must bet on Petro because he is the one who assures us the Agreement, "one of them told us.

In addition as we tell as they have their sights set on the local elections next year they have been doing a whole job of transforming their clandestine militancy (which they called cells and they were of maximum 5 to 7 people) into political squares or "communes" as they call it (they have at least 5 people and they do not have a maximum) and that structure is being used now to reinforce the message that in the second round "we must defend the Agreements" as another militant told us.

For example in the south of the country that was for years its historical rearguard between Caquetá Putumayo Huila and Meta have more than two thousand people between ex-combatants and ex-militants of the Clandestine Communist Party moving in the municipalities and sidewalks with that message.

"It is not a job oriented by the Party nor have they met us to give us instructions of any kind. They are the bases working on their own and inviting to vote for the proposal that defends the Agreements "said a person who is part of the Farc in Huila and the union of teachers of that department.

"Several of us who are militants at the same time are spokespersons for other organizations. I take the opportunity to talk to the teachers when I can of what is at stake but without doing so on behalf of Farc "said the source.

"They continue to see us as counselors in many organizations and at meetings. There we are saying to them 'look what is at stake is the future of the process' and we tell you our analysis. That Petro left the weapons like us and that the Agreements must be defended "said Iván Merchán a middle commander in Meta former member of the FARC's eastern bloc and responsible for the La Macarena space in Meta.

Something similar happens in Bogotá.

For example in the capital they calculate that there are more than 200 Farc militants in neighborhood communal action boards, especially in the south and there "not that they ask for a vote for him (Petro) but what is in Game".

In fact in the closing of Petro's campaign in the first round in which he almost filled the Plaza de Bolívar in Bogotá La Silla knew that there was a group of militants from the Farc.

In addition to its bases in some of the Training Spaces which are the places where they came to lay down their weapons and still live some, the middle managers are also making pedagogy to the low and inviting them to go out and vote more because As we saw in the legislative elections in departments like Caquetá several ex-combatants did not leave for fear that the Prosecutor would capture them for having open processes as indeed happened in La Montañita where they arrested an ex-guerrilla at the polling station and then released him .

"We are telling the ex-combatants to leave and many of them are calling their families and friends to vote" Merchán added.

However those moves that we saw in the south of the country, contrast with other regions where they told us that they are not moving a finger for Petro.

"We here are following the guidelines of the Party. We are not campaigning for any candidate. To the militancy we let her take the decision that they consider. The fundamental premise is that the people should support the candidates who are with the continuity of the process and with the ELN "said Jairo Quintero representative to the Chamber of the FARC in Santander.

In any case, judging by its vote in the legislatures there is not much that the FARC can add to Petro.

No votes and with fear

As we showed in this story, the FARC does not have many votes to put. They took just 52 thousand votes to the Senate in its electoral debut. A figure well below the threshold (which is 3 percent) and with which, if they had no fixed seats, would not reach them to put a senator, so less to put president.

To this is added that although Petro was better on average than Duque in the 170 municipalities prioritized by the Government and negotiated with the Farc to make the Development Programs with Territorial Approach, Pdets, (41 percent of the total voters they did it for him against 34 percent for Duke), he does not have much room to grow because the majority of active voters already left between the two candidates and account for almost 70 percent of the voters in all areas.

If Duke wins

Although the Farc is very afraid of a possible victory of Duke, they say that they would not return to war if they win.

"It is not in dispute if we are going to rearm because we are not thinking about that. But that Duke wins for us yes is the option that takes us to the war, to more breaches of those of this Government ", said Merchán, the average command of the Meta. "If we are killing leaders with Santos, who is with the Agreement, imagine if Duke arrives. We are not going to have guarantees."

"If Duque wins, it's up to continue working for peace. The idea of rearming does not cross our minds, "said Aldinever Morantes, head of the Mesetas Training Area, Meta.

"There is a lot of fear in the militancy that it will achieve what it wants with the JEP for example and that it does not keep its word that supposedly the rasos do not have to worry," another militant from the south of the country told us.

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