A breakdown of the FARC’s current unilateral “indefinite” cease-fire and renewed fighting and destruction would undercut confidence in the Colombian peace process. Potential saboteurs could also up-end the peace talks.
But some non-violent things that may risk to undercut confidence and support in the peace process are statements or signing ceremonies—even if well-intentioned, aimed to accelerate the peace process, and initially well-received by the public and international community—purporting completion and substantiation on agreements, but which are subsequently shown to have loose ends, imprecisions, voids or differences of interpretation not made clear to the public at the beginning. This can turn into a boomerang by being perceived or misperceived as attempts at “smoke and mirrors” or “false advertising”—even if they are not intended that way—and as over-anxiousness to show peace process results as the clock inexorably clicks toward the end of the final Santos presidential administration.
Whether it be unfair or not, we are seeing this now to some extent in some reactions to the Colombian government and FARC peace delegations touting December 15, 2015, that the agreement on victims’/justice (i.e., Sistema Integral de Verdad, Justicia, Reparacion and No Repeticion) was this time “completed”—not partially completed. But a careful reading of that 63-page document and its 75 items–which President Santos didn’t want to fully publicly disclose before the October 25, 2015 regional elections, saying that he first wanted to polish it, but perhaps privately worried that its publication before the elections could hurt what turned out to be big gains for his political coalition—shows that there appear to be still some voids and imprecise, contradictory, not clear or not determined parts, with caveats for these to be determined and resolved later. This evidently kicked these apparent lagoons, contradictions, undecided or unfleshed-out items down the road into the next negotiating “point’/category “End of Conflict” or elsewhere.
Also, what could undermine confidence (and already has long dashed it in Uribista and some other circles) is a perception (unfair or not) that Pres Santos is giving away too much, if not the entire farm, to the FARC. Pres. Santos vehemently denies this. Though critics ask, What has the FARC really ceded on to date, from what has been made public? Pres. Santos would note as very important, for example, that the FARC has acknowledged that it has caused victims (critics would respond citing the FARC as saying that “errors” happened and not admitting premeditated malice), that the FARC has agreed to contribute to reparation of victims (critics would respond that the FARC says it doesn’t have much money), that the FARC is helping in de-mining already (critics would call that not a concession, but something that would have to be done eventually, anyway), that the FARC is fulfilling its current unilateral “indefinite” cease-fire (critics would say that the FARC continues extortion, drug-involvement or other criminal activity in its cease-fire), that the FARC has accepted a “transitional justice” format (which critics see as window-dressing giving impunity to the FARC and other actors in the conflict wrapped in the banner of “justice”) and that the FARC has recently announced to no longer recruit minors of age (critics would say that it shouldn’t have been done in the first place.)