Cablegate: Reconciliation Commission Confirms Peace Process

Published: Thu 29 Sep 2005 08:08 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
292031Z Sep 05
41662 2005-09-29 20:31:00 05BOGOTA9257 Embassy Bogota SECRET//NOFORN This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.\
292031Z Sep 05\
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BOGOTA 009257 \
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/30/2015 \
Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood; reasons 1.4 \
(b) and (d) \
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Summary \
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1. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX discussed the status of the Catholic Church's role in peace \
talks between guerrilla groups and the Colombian government. \
He said he believed both negotiations were on hold ) the ELN \
would not advance during Francisco Galan's parole and the \
FARC consistently had refused all offers to date. He \
commented that the Catholic Church's efforts to serve as \
intermediary had stalled, but it remained committed. \
XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed that imprisoned FARC "ambassador" Rodrigo \
Granda had prostate cancer and was reluctant to seek \
treatment outside of prison because he feared for his life. \
End summary. \
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ELN's Galan on Parole but Little More \
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2. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX met Emboffs on September 22 and \
updated the Catholic Church's role in potential GOC talks \
with guerrillas. According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, the Catholic Church \
is committed to peace with the National Liberation Army (ELN) \
but not optimistic that ELN leader Francisco Galan's \
three-month parole will advance talks. Galan's release is a \
good gesture, but he will spend most of his time shuttling \
between Bogota, Medellin and Cali to talk with civil society, \
he noted. XXXXXXXXXXXX said the Catholic Church decided to \
take a low-profile role in the Galan initiative, believing it \
would not amount to much. He added that the Church remained \
frustrated with the ELN in the wake of its attempt to \
negotiate with Galan in July 2004. The ELN kidnapped the \
Bishop of Yopal while a senior Church delegation was visiting \
with Galan in prison. In XXXXXXXXXXXX's view, this underscored \
that either the ELN was not serious about talks, or \
disorganized and unable to control its fighters. The \
Catholic Church had to forgive, said XXXXXXXXXXXX, but it had \
not forgotten the ELN's actions. \
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Church's Bolo Azul Suggestion Leaked \
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3. (C) All Catholic Church attempts to date to negotiate a \
humanitarian exchange with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of \
Colombia (FARC) had failed, according to XXXXXXXXXXXX. He \
reported that recently the Church had attempted to select a \
prisoner exchange location that would be amenable to the GOC \
and FARC in Valle del Cauca Department. Valle del Cauca \
Governor Angelino Garzon suggested Bolo Azul Village, and \
XXXXXXXXXXXX had planned to keep the suggestion confidential \
until the Constitutional Court ruled on the legality of the \
reelection law. However, the secret reached ex-President \
Samper, who pushed the idea with the Uribe Administration. \
XXXXXXXXXXXX lamented that the Bolo Azul proposal had become \
"Uribefied," political, and therefore unacceptable to the \
FARC. He hoped that the Church could advance another \
proposal in a less politically charged climate in the future. \
4. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX asked whether Emboffs knew about the state \
of FARC "ambassador" Rodrigo Granda's health. He said the \
Church had discovered Granda had prostate cancer and refused \
medical treatment out of fear that he would be killed. The \
Church has asked the GOC for permission to visit Granda as a \
pastoral duty to assess his health. XXXXXXXXXXXX stressed that \
Granda is much more important than the Colombian Government \
knows and promised to keep the Embassy informed. He said the \
GOC had refused to allow the Church to visit FARC prisoner \
Simon Trinidad last year, stating that it did not want to \
create "a Galan for the FARC" referring to the temporarily \
paroled ELN interlocutor Francisco Galan. Nevertheless, \
XXXXXXXXXXXX was hopeful that Archbishop Castro would be allowed \
to visit Granda since he was incarcerated in Castro's \
pastoral district. \
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European Trip Interesting but not Useful \
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5. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX reported that his recent trip to Geneva, the \
Netherlands and Spain had been interesting but had not \
advanced the peace process. He spoke with several European \
officials, UN representatives, and unofficial interlocutors \
who agreed that the GOC's peace process with guerrilla groups \
had stalled. He was impressed by the Europeans' interest in \
the Colombia peace process, but commented that one unofficial \
Swiss representative (Jean Paul Gontard) had offered the FARC \
different incentives to begin a humanitarian exchange and \
received nothing for his efforts. "They (the FARC) have been \
stingy with him," said XXXXXXXXXXXX. \
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