The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, on Monday began a unilateral cease-fire so as not to disrupt the Andean nation’s June 15 presidential runoff election.
Guerrilla units “are aware of the suspension of offensive actions against the enemy forces and state infrastructure starting (just after) midnight on Monday, June 9, ... until midnight on June 30, 2014,” FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez said Saturday in announcing the cease-fire.
During the first few hours of the cessation of armed activity by the FARC, no attacks have been registered against security forces or infrastructure, according to Colombian authorities.
Both the FARC and the much smaller ELN rebel group observed a cease-fire for the first round of the presidential election on May 25.
But on this occasion, the ELN decided not to join the FARC in observing a cease-fire because it feels that the security forces take advantage of these periods “to gain military advantages against” the guerrillas.
The ELN alleges that when its fighters tried to defend themselves from military operations, the armed forces “hurried to complain that it is the insurgency that is violating its commitment and not keeping its word.”
Colombians will go to the polls next Sunday to decide if incumbent center-right President Juan Manuel Santos will govern for four more years or if rightist Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, the protege of former head of state Alvaro Uribe, will take over the presidency.
The man who governed Colombia from 2002-2010 has become a bitter opponent of Santos - defense minister in Uribe’s administration - over the current president’s decision to enter peace talks with the FARC.