Friday, August 01, 2008

Death of Manuel Maralunda

On May 27 the Boston Globe published an article "Colombia urges FARC to surrender: Impact of rebel's death still unclear," which described optimism surrounding the death of FARC leader Manuel Maralunda. COHA Research Associate Michael Katz wrote submitted this letter to the editor in response to the article.

Dear Editor,

The death of Manuel Marulanda, leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), will not improve the chances of a sustained peace resolution nor stop the violence of FARC as some have suggested (“Colombia urges FARC to surrender: Impact of rebel's death still unclear,” May 26th). Optimism surrounding the significance of Marulanda’s death, with respect to peace talks, falsely presumes that a new leader can single-handedly stop the violent ways of an entire guerilla force and create peace. This notion is impractical considering that FARC is a terrorist group with a long history of spontaneous and counterproductive violence. For example, promising peace talks in 1998 and 2002 were abruptly halted because of FARC’s terrorist activities. All parties involved in future peace talks with FARC cannot assume that Marulanda’s death is a positive step toward peace and an end to FARC’s violence, as has been proven in recent history.


Michael Katz

Research Associate,

Council on Hemispheric Affairs

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