Jesus Santrich, former peace negotiator for the FARC-EP, poet, painter, musician and a popular voice for peace, has been re-arrested on a trumped-up drug charge out of the Southern District of New York. The charges are largely seen as an attempt by the United States, in league with sectors of the Colombian oligarchy, to derail the peace accord between the FARC-EP and the Colombian government.
The Special Peace Jurisdiction (JEP – a court that was instituted by the Colombian Peace Agreement) ruled that Santrich could not be extradited to the United States due to many irregularities in the case, including insufficient proof, and ordered his immediate release. Santrich was about to be released from La Picota prison when the Colombian Attorney General had him re- arrested based on ‘new’ evidence provided by the United States to the Colombian Attorney’s General’s Office. Santrich was drugged by officials, reportedly tried to commit suicide by slitting his wrists when he heard that he was going to be extradited and was flown off in a helicopter to the attorney general’s jail called the “Bunker.” Santrich suffered a cardiac and pulmonary arrest and is in a delicate state in a hospital.
This arrest comes at a time when the peace agreement, after nearly 500 social leaders and 130 ex-guerrillas have been assassinated by right-wing paramilitary forces, has been near collapse. As well as the assassination, the government has failed to carry out its obligations under the peace accord to invest in social sectors, protect political and social leaders, and to release political prisoners, among other issues. With the order from the JEP releasing Santrich, it momentarily appeared that the peace agreement had some life, but this illusion came crashing down with the re-arrest of Santrich.
Ivan Marquez, former lead negotiator for the FARC-EP at the Havana Peace Dialogues, sent a message to the people of Colombia. “The world is a witness to the indignant insult of the liberation and the recapture of Santrich by the Attorney General. With this dirty attitude the Prosecution, Uribism [the politics of former fascist president Uribe], and the embassy of the gringos have handed out the saddest death certificate for Peace.”
Freedom Road Socialist Organization demands the immediate release of Jesus Santrich and demands that the Colombian authorities take all necessary measures to protect his life and well-being. Freedom Road Socialist Organization further demands that the Colombian government fulfill its obligations under the peace accords and that the United States government cease its interference into the internal affairs of Colombia.