These are the profiles of the five negotiators who have been appointed by Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos to lead peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The former vice president and ex-minister of state is a 66-year-old lawyer and politician that was born in Manzanares of the northwest Caldas department. Of liberal affiliation, De la Calle has had an impressive political career. He studied law in the University of Caldas and specialized in international law. Several of the prominent positions he has held include judge of the Supreme Court, Minister of Government under Cesar Gaviria, Vice President under Ernesto Samper, Colombian ambassador in Spain, and Interior Minister under Andres Pastrana between 2000 and 2001. De la Calle has now been designated as head of the negotiating team in talks with the FARC.
The Presidential Security Adviser was announced as the Peace Commissioner by Santos, confirming that he would be the voice of the government in the table of negotiations with the FARC. The philosopher from Bogota was vice-minister of Defense and was in charge of the first phase of “exploratory negotiations.” He had already been working as plenipotentiary when he finalized talks in Cuba. Jaramillo has been an adviser in human rights during the first term of Alvaro Uribe, and drafted the document of the democratic security policy. He was in the government until 2004, and then went on to direct the foundation “Ideas for the Peace,” in which he continued with themes of the armed conflict and security. He was also vice-minister for human rights and international points for the Defense Ministry.
The internationally awarded former general Oscar Naranjo was director of the National Police. After retiring he was designated as adviser in security for the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. During his 35 years with the National Police, Naranjo was commander of several departments as well as commander of Special Operations and the Directorate of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. He was also a part of operations in which authorities took down important drug trafficking leaders, such as Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha and Pablo Escobar. Naranjo will be an important voice in the theme of drug trafficking during the table of negotiations.
As ex-commissioner of peace and ex-minister of the environment, Pearl took part in the first phase of the peace process as plenipotentiary along with Jaramillo. The economist from Bogota promoted and defended the criticized Justice and Peace process during the government of Alvaro Uribe, and realized the demobilization of paramilitary group ERPAC. Along with Piedad Cordoba, he participated in the the liberation of kidnapped persons. Pearl also had a lot of influence during exploratory meetings with FARC leaders in Cuba.
Since 1996, Villegas has been head of the National Industrial Association. The lawyer and socio economist is also President of Colombia’s Business Association. He was vice-minister and acting foreign minister, and held positions as a governor and senator. He has participated in dialogue processes in the National Council of Peace as well as conversations with the ELN in Cuba and Costa Rica.
General Mora was commander of the army between 1998 and 2002, during the government of Andres Pastrana. During this time, he participated in the failed peace process. Santos praised Mora’s role in the military and perceives him as an asset during current negotiations.
Santos, the president’s brother, helped in the construction of the first phase of the process, will also be involved “in the background” of the table of negotiation, the president said.