On Friday, May 22, the FARC announced the end of its unilateral ceasefire with the Colombian government. The end of the ceasefire was announced after an air raid in Guapi, Cauca Department, killed 26 of the FARC guerrillas.
The FARC declared the ceasefire in December of 2014, and have been urging the government to do the same ever since. The Colombian government did suspend their bombing campaign in March, but resumed it in April after an attack in Cauca killed 10 Colombian soldiers. The 29th Front, the FARC branch in Cauca, has been the target of a sustained campaign by the Colombian government to combat drug trafficking and illegal mining.
When announcing the end of the ceasefire, the FARC spokesman said, “It was not in our plans to suspend the unilateral and indefinite ceasefire proclaimed on December 20, 2014 as a humanitarian gesture of de-escalation of the conflict, but the inconsistency of the Santos government has done so.” The FARC will resume strikes on infrastructure and military targets in Colombia.
The end of the ceasefire occurred only hours after the beginning of the 37th round of peace talks in Havana, Cuba. The talks have been going on since November, 2012, with the FARC regularly accusing the Colombian government of “incoherence,” and of course blaming them for any setbacks. That said, the FARC may have started a unilateral ceasefire in December, but they have not backed off any of their illegal activities (to include drug trafficking, illegal mining, and extortion) since, which has strengthened Colombian public opinion in favor of continuing to fight them. However, in spite of the bloodshed, both the FARC and the Colombian government insist they are still committed to the peace talks.