Peace talks in Havana, Cuba between the Colombian rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the Colombian government have been underway since August in an effort to end the five-decade-long war between the two groups. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos authorized the leader of FARC, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry, also known by his war name as Timochenko, to visit Cuba twice in the last three months in order to negotiate the terms of a potential peace treaty.1
There has been plenty of public outcry against such talks in Colombia since the negotiations began, considering the FARC is seen as a terrorist organization.2 While many citizens believe that the meetings in Havana could lead to a peaceful Colombia, there are those who believe that the talks would not be the “end of the road.” One of Latin America’s most influential singers and activists, Juanes, weighed in on the matter in an interview with the Huffington Post.3
Aside from being one of Colombia’s most renowned musicians, Juanes is also one of their most visible activists with regard to the ongoing armed conflict between the Colombian government and the rebels. In 2008, Juanes held the Paz Sin Fronteras (Peace Without Borders) concert on the Simón Bolívar Bridge, which lies on the border between Venezuela and Colombia to commemorate the end of the Andean diplomatic crisis. He also founded the Fundación Mi Sangre (My Blood Foundation), which raises money to support the victims of FARC’s landmines scattered all throughout the country. When asked how he felt about the peace talks in Havana, Juanes remained very practical.3
"…A signed agreement with FARC doesn’t mean peace for the country, no. It’s an end, let’s say, to the FARC chapter. But I think the end of that chapter is fundamental to Colombia’s history. Nevertheless, I think everything that is being done is worth it."
While Juanes does not have any power when it comes to the business handlings of the federal government, to have a voice as powerful as his representing the people of Colombia is more than a blessing. The Colombian armed conflict began 50 years ago in 1964, and with the continued discussions of peace between the two warring factions in Havana, perhaps a peaceful Colombia is no longer a pipe dream.
1. Reuters. “Colombia says FARC rebel chief traveled twice to Cuba for peace talks.”
2. United States Department of State. “Foreign Terrorist Organizations.”
Available at: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm
3. Moreno, Carolina. Huffington Post. “Juanes Says FARC Talks Are a Step Toward Peace in Colombia but Not ‘The Key’”