Colombia's FARC Announce Cease-Fire, Begin Peace Talks
[VOA News] Colombia's leftist FARC rebels announced a two-month unilateral cease-fire, as representatives of the group and Colombia's government met in Havana for talks aimed at ending Latin America's longest insurgency.

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
FARC or FARC-EP, is either a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organization or a narco mob based in Colombia. It claims to represent the rural poor in a struggle against Colombia's wealthier classes, and opposes United States influence in Colombia, neo-imperialism, monopolization of natural resources by multinational corporations, and the usual raft of complaints. It funds itself principally through ransom kidnappings, taxation of the drug trade, extortion, shakedowns, and donations. It has lately begun calling itself Bolivarian and is greatly admired by Venezuela's President-for-Life Chavez, who seemingly fantasizes about living in the woods and kidnapping people himself. He provides FARC with safe areas along the border.
said it would halt all military operations and acts of sabotage starting at midnight Monday and running through January 20.

FARC's lead negotiator, Ivan Marquez, said the move was aimed at strengthening the "climate of understanding" needed for the talks.

There was no immediate response to the cease-fire announcement from the Colombian government, which has ruled out halting military operations during the talks.

The talks that began last month in Norway are the first since 2002.

Colombian government officials say they want to reach an agreement with the rebels in a matter of months, not years.

Negotiators are reported to be focusing on a five-point agenda -- land reform, the potential political rights of the rebel group once a peace agenda is signed, the illegal drug trade, disarmament, and compensation for conflict victims.

Posted by: Fred 2012-11-20