Friday, May 22, 2015

FARC Suspends Cease-Fire With Colombia After Bombing Raid
FARC-Colombian talks in Cuba.
Move is new challenge for government, rebel officials trying to negotiate an end to conflict at Havana talks

May 22, 2015 1:14 p.m. ET

BOGOTÁ—The country’s largest rebel group suspended its unilateral cease-fire Friday, just hours after Colombian war planes killed 26 guerrillas in a bombing run.

The FARC’s decision, coupled with a military bombing campaign against the rebels, means a new challenge for government officials and rebel commanders who are trying to negotiate an end to this country’s long conflict in talks in Cuba.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, in a statement, blamed President Juan Manuel Santos for what the group called his incoherence in engaging rebel commanders in talks in Havana while at the same time battling the organization in the field.

“It wasn’t in our perspective to suspend the unilateral and indefinite cease-fire proclaimed Dec. 20, 2014, as a humanitarian gesture,” the rebels said. “But the Santos government’s incoherence has achieved that.”

Mr. Santos, who has made achieving peace a pillar of his government, has been under pressure since the rebels violated their own cease-fire one night in April, killing 11 soldiers in their encampment and souring many Colombians on peace negotiations.

That strike, roundly condemned by the Colombian public, was also a blow to the president. A poll conducted for Semana magazine and other leading media here soon after showed that optimism for the talks had fallen to 29%, dropping 13 points from a November survey. Mr. Santos’s approval rating also fell to 29%, down from 43% a year before.

The FARC’s announcement on Friday was met with scorn by those who oppose the talks, most notably former President Álvaro Uribe. “Here there is a peace process without ethics, without morals,” he said.

Write to Juan Forero at

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