Jesus Santrich has made a veritable mockery of the Colombian justice system, and the peace process. Don’t believe me? Just ask Humberto de la Calle, the government’s chief negotiator with the FARC, who argues that the damage Santrich has inflicted is “enormous”, adding that Santrich represents, “the greatest enemy of the agreement.”
For many outside of Colombia, the first question they may have is: Who is Jesus Santrich and why is he so important to the ongoing peace process in Colombia today?
Santrich, real name Seuxis Pausias Hernández Solarte, joined the Colombian Communist Party in his youth, and took the name “Jesus Santrich” in honor of a fallen comrade of his. He soon became involved in radical Communist politics in the Caribbean state of Sucre, south of Cartagena.
“I decided to join the FARC because I thought it was the most coherent, most consistent path, the affinity between the Communist Party and the Farc, the ideological affinity, also led me to join their ranks.”
He quickly made a name for himself within the Marxist guerrilla group as one of their chief idealogues.
Santrich, who is legally blind, became a household name in Colombia, and a constant television presence, during the peace dialogues in Havana.
He is also a prominent drug trafficker, who was caught red-handed, after the signing of the peace agreement, conspiring to move 10 tons of cocaine to the United States. No, that is not 10 kilos. 10 tons: 20,000 pounds of cocaine.
One would think that he wouldn’t need the money, given that he is earning a small fortune for his role as “parliamentarian” in Congress: $14.000.000 COP, or around USD $5,000 a month.
The case leaves a particularly bad taste in the mouths of ordinary Colombians. Among their numerous objections to the agreement, was precisely that it would lucratively reward the very people who had spent the better part of five decades raping, robbing, extorting, and murdering the Colombian populace.
For those left-wingers that view the FARC as a legitimate organization, with mass (hidden) popular support, look no further than the most recent Colombian elections, when the FARC party received a miniscule fraction of 1% of the votes, and the FARC’s presidential candidate, Timochenko, was routinely greeted by mobs of angry Colombians on the campaign trail, and was forced to pull out of the race to avoid an embarrassing loss which would have seen him coming in dead last in the 2018 election.
De la Calle, who “heroically” negotiated the agreement, had a very good idea the peace agreement’s popularity with the Colombian people, upon racking up a whopping 2.1% of the vote, or just under 400,000 nationwide in a country of 50 million people.
The Colombian people, let us remember, rejected the FARC-Santos peace agreement, in a democratic referendum, which was conveniently ignored by the Colombian government. Congress made some minor cosmetic “changes” and then decreed that…voi-la…we have a peace agreement (despite the fact that the Colombian people voted against it in a free and fair election).
The Colombian Left constantly reminded us that, yes perhaps it wasn’t a perfect agreement and it may have been a little too generous to the FARC, but it was the best that we could do, because otherwise the FARC would have no incentive to sit down at the negotiating table in Havana in the first place.
Better to buy them off, and hope for the best, right?
Not exactly. Estimates routinely suggest that 35% to 40% of the FARC did not adhere to the terms of the agreement, and has continued in the drug trade…battling other left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, “bacrim”, and the government for control of lucrative drug trafficking routes along the nation’s eastern border with Venezuela, southern border with Ecuador, and northern border with Panama.
With 7,000 soldiers at the time of the signing of the agreement, that means that in the vicinity of 2,500 to 3,000 FARC members are still running organized crime in the country. It looks like the very generous deal that was offered to them was not enough to entice them to leave behind what they know best: extortion and drug trafficking.
Colombia’s Left seems to conveniently forget something: the Santrich case will become a rallying cry for the Uribistas, who will certainly use this case to their advantage. In Colombia, it seems, there are two sets of laws: one for the FARC, and one for everyone else.
The Jesus Santrich case makes a mockery of both the peace process and Colombia’s justice system. Now Santrich is under the protection of Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro…their days of conspiring together in large scale drug trafficking have just begun!