Bombs Explode in Colombian CapitalJuly 7, 2015 in Uncategorized
Two small bombs exploded in the offices of Porvenir, a private pension fund in Bogota, Columbia’s capital on Thursday, injuring eight people. Defence Secretary Luis Carlos Villegas has described the incidents as acts of terrorism, but has refrained from assigning blame to any particular group. No one has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the explosions, but there has been on-going speculation that the country’s largest rebel movement, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), was behind the attack. Bogota’s police commander, General Humberto Guatibonza, has been unable to confirm or deny these allegations, saying only that investigators are still in the process of interviewing witnesses and examining footage captured on nearby security cameras.
The explosions have come at a time of increased tension between the government and the rebel group, who have recently launched a number of high profile attacks on Columbian infrastructure projects. After implementing a unilateral ceasefire in December last year, 11 members of FARC were killed by government forces in an ambush in April, resulting in the resumption of hostilities. Since then, both sides have launched a series of attacks on one another, throwing into jeopardy the two and a half year long peace talks that have been taking place in Cuba. In addition to its suspected involvement in the Bogota bombings, FARC has, over the past few weeks, bombed several oil pipelines, causing thousands of litres of crude oil to run into nearby rivers, causing an environmental disaster that experts believe will take decades to resolve. Because of this, the Colombian government’s chief negotiator has said that unless FARC shows greater commitment to the peace process, the government may pull out altogether, thereby condemning the Colombian people to a bloody civil war with no foreseeable end.
In response, rebel commander Pastor Alape, a member of the FARC negotiating team in Cuba, said on Sunday that both sides needed to take steps to “deepen the de-escalation of the armed conflict.” He called on President Santos to make “strong gestures…to prove that (he) will become a president of peace.” FARC insists that the Colombian government should agreed to bilateral ceasefire, a move which, until recently, President Santos has entirely rejected. However, the government may be prepared to consider entering into such an agreement if FARC is ready to 1) accept judicial responsibility for any acts of violence perpetrated by its members and 2) renounce its illicit activities including extortion and the drug trade.