Colombia’s Office of the High Commissioner for Peace issued a joint statement on Friday with the Second Marquetalia, formally initiating a dialogue aimed at achieving a peace agreement with the armed group. This initiative is in line with the peace policy established by the Total Peace Law promoted by Colombian President Gustavo Petro. The law allows the government to negotiate peace agreements with organized armed groups operating outside the law to achieve a stable and lasting peace in the country, which has struggled with more than five decades of internal armed conflict.
The joint statement emphasized that the Colombian government and the Second Marquetalia have agreed to immediately initiate preliminary agreements for the de-escalation of conflict and the implementation of transformations aimed at the social and environmental development of the territory. In that regard, it stated:
Under the principle of the broadest participation, complementarity, impulse and support to the dynamics and peace processes underway at the national level, the Second Marquetalia gives the greatest significance to the organization and implementation of Peace Territories, as part of its policy of integral peace, with social justice and true democracy (translated from Spanish).
The stated focus is on defining the agenda and negotiation protocols. The two parties will seek the collaboration of the Governments of the Republic of Cuba, the Kingdom of Norway, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to facilitate the development of this process. The Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Colombia and the Episcopal Conference of Colombia are also invited to lend their support.
The Second Marquetalia is classified as one of the residual organized armed groups that emerged from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP). These insurgent groups are composed primarily of former FARC-EP combatants who chose not to adhere to the 2016 peace agreement signed between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP. In this regard, on August 29, 2019, Luciano Marín, also known as “Iván Márquez,” announced through a video on the YouTube platform the return to arms of a group of ex-combatants, marking the creation of the “Second Marquetalia.” Márquez justified this return by citing the “betrayal of the state in the peace accords.
There is international interest in mediating peace. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez stated on X (formerly Twitter) that Cuba accepted the invitation to support the peace dialogue process. The Foreign Minister emphasized Cuba’s unwavering commitment to peace in Colombia. Norway has previously been involved in peace and reconciliation efforts, working to facilitate dialogue between different governments and Colombian guerrilla groups, including the FARC-EP and the National Liberation Army (ELN). Additionally, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro previously agreed to act as a “guarantor” in negotiations between the Colombian government and the ELN guerrilla group to achieve a peace agreement.