Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sergio Jaramillo, the Colombian Government's Brilliant Guerilla Negotiator

Mr. Jaramillo is an unlikely FARC foe. He speaks German, Russian, French and English with an Oxbridge accent, a product of a decade studying philology and classical languages at Oxford, Cambridge and Heidelberg universities. During the Havana talks, he wore a white linen jacket; the guerrillas wore T-shirts. He once reprimanded Mr. Santos [the brother of the Colombian President and an advisor] for not wearing socks, saying it was unbecoming for a Colombian-state delegate. "That's so fifth rate," Mr. Santos said Mr. Jaramillo told him.

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In 2006, he was named deputy defense minister under President Santos. He worked to improve the human rights record of the army, long accused of helping paramilitary groups massacre suspected guerrilla sympathizers. Mr. Jaramillo's advocacy led the military to adopt new and clear operational rules. MarĂ­a Victoria Llorente, who now runs Mr. Jaramillo's old think-tank, said Mr. Jaramillo was obsessed with professionalizing the country's armed forces and saw an emphasis on human rights as key to doing so.

"He has a very Anglo-Saxon view of this," she said. "Rules of engagement and codes of conduct are very important to him."

-from today's WSJ.

Very "Anglo-Saxon?"  Mr. Jaramillo would probably say "very Classical."

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