This past June 27th, a total of 7,132 weapons were handed over by the FARC terrorist organization to the UN mission in Colombia in charge of overseeing implementation of their landmark agreement with the Colombian government. Notwithstanding this milestone achieved by the government, many critics are not satisfied with the numbers.
There are several reasons for criticism. First, there were inconsistent numbers provided by the government with respect to the number of arms that the FARC has, and specifically by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. Some accounts, for example, indicate that more than 10,000 rifles were acquired by the FARC from Vladimiro Montesinos, through the Peruvian government, when Alberto Fujimori was still president in the 90’s.
Ex-President and current Senator Álvaro Uribe Vélez from the “Centro Democrático” political party, reminisced about a statement that the President Juan Manuel Santos issued early this same year, when he said that that FARC had 14,000 weapons. This statement is derived from FARC’s own literature, dictating that every soldier must have both a rifle and a grenade. With 7,000 soldiers, there should be a minimum of 14,000 small arms.
However, President Santos described these accusations to be “excuses” not to celebrate what he has termed to be historic news. He also claimed that when he served a Minister of Defense, thousands of weapons were also confiscated, as well as several caches, by police and military forces. But his statements have not dampened the criticism.
The uncertainty revolving around this process of peace has been striking. Nevertheless, the government’s own Sergio Jaramillo has acknowledged that there are still more than 900 hidden FARC caches throughout the Colombian territory. Iván Cepeda, Senator from “El Polo Democrático” party, said today that finding and seizing these caches could very well be the actions needed to regain the trust from the people.