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In Cuba, U.S. envoy works to end the world’s longest ongoing guerilla war

In Cuba, U.S. envoy works to end the world’s longest ongoing guerilla war

At his first meeting with Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces in February, Bernard Aronson began with a joke. “Maybe you were expecting Miss Universe?” he asked, referring to the Colombian winner of the international beauty contest just a few weeks before.

“Well, you’ll have to settle for me,” Aronson told the six guerrilla representatives gathered around a diplomat’s swimming pool in Havana. They laughed, he laughed and the ice was broken.

Since then, Aronson has met regularly with representatives of the FARC — the group’s Spanish acronym — as the Obama administration’s special envoy to peace negotiations between the guerrillas and the Colombian government. He is due to return to Cuba, after testimony at a House hearing, this week.

It is a strange role for the representative of a country that has designated the FARC an international terrorist organization and that has spent billions over the past two decades supporting Colombia’s war against it. A number of senior FARC leaders were extradited to this country and are now serving sentences for drug trafficking, murder and other crimes; dozens are the subject of outstanding extradition requests, some of them reportedly among the Havana negotiators.

Source: In Cuba, U.S. envoy works to end the world’s longest ongoing guerilla war – The Washington Post