Colombian FARC leader wants peace deal respected to undercut dissidents

Bogota (AFP) –


An ex-FARC guerrilla leader is calling on the Colombian government to fully implement its 2016 peace plan to undercut rebel dissidents who have again taken up arms against the government of President Ivan Duque.

Rodrigo Granda, who helped negotiate the historic peace deal ending the half-century FARC insurgency, told AFP that the ex-guerillas that are re-arming are unjustified in their actions.

"What must be done ... is to redouble the efforts to fully implement the peace agreements, fulfill the agreements made to the former guerrillas," Granda told AFP.

"If this is carried out ... then there would be no room for any insurgent movement to rise in the country."

Granda help reach the peace deal, which demobilized some 13,000 Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrillas, with Duque's predecessor, Juan Manuel Santos.

Today Granda -- also known by his nom de guerre Ricardo Tellez -- is a senior member of the political party that uses the FARC acronym but operates under a different name.

The dissident guerrillas, who are led by former deputy FARC commander Ivan Marquez, announced that they were resuming the fight in an August 29 video.

Granda said that the FARC political party has nothing to do with the actions by Marquez and the other rebels, including another senior ex-FARC guerrilla, Jesus Santrich.

"He believes that an armed struggle can be restarted to make sure the peace agreement is fulfilled -- we disagree with that," said Granda.

President Duque has described Marquez and his men as "narcoterrorists" hiding in neighboring Venezuela.

According to the Colombian military, the 2,300 dissident fighters include ex-guerrillas and new recruits who are funded by drug trafficking and illegal mining.

Critics have blasted the Duque administration for threatening to modify and delaying the full implementation of the 2016 peace deal, which the president believes goes too easy on the ex-guerrillas.