The FARC on Tuesday ratified Juvenal Ovidio Ricardo Palmera, alias “Simon Trinidad,” as a negotiator with the Colombian government and the largest guerrilla group during peace talks which will begin in Norway in the first half of October.
In a letter beginning, “brother, your revolutionary conviction proves all the baseness of capitalism,” the FARC said to Trinidad, ”it is a healthy pride of the fighters of popular rights to ratify your inclusion on the team of the FARC People’s Army so you officially become a part of the dialogue.” The communication was signed by the FARC People’s Army “in the mountains of Colombia.”
Trinidad was the financial manager of the country’s largest guerrilla group FARC, and was the first guerrilla to be extradited to the U.S. in 2004. He is now serving a 60-year sentence in the country for conspiracy and kidnapping.
The FARC had announced at the start of September that they were naming Simon Trinidad as one of their negotiators, however Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that they had to be “realistic.”
“The process has to realistic and this is very important for there are things that we can do and others we can’t,” said the president.
It is unclear how the guerrilla will exercise his role as a negotiator and the FARC missive only said “the ways to realize your contribution to this project will be discussed in the talks.”
On a FARC blog written in September, Trinidad is quoted as saying “tell the FARC and the government that I am willing to do whatever is in my power to help.”
However according to the blog the “guerrilla said that people should not be concerned about how he is going to participate because he is isolated in a maximum security prison in Colorado.”
Trinidad, who holds a postgraduate degree in finance from Harvard University in the U.S., participated in the 1998-2002 failed peace process when the Colombian government granted a demilitarized zone the size of Switzerland to the FARC guerrillas which they used to strengthen their forces.