“Many officials in the Obama administration … including Obama himself, have had very positive and supporting things to say about the peace process, and I think that at a political level there has been unequivocal support,” Cynthia J. Arnson, the director of the Latin American Programme at the Wilson Center, a think tank here, told IPS.

“But this round is going to focus on counter-narcotics and drugs, and the Santos government has been one of the governments at the forefront in the region calling for a rethinking of the way counter-narcotics policy is conceived of and implemented,” she said.

Arnson was referring to Santos’ openness to discussing alternatives with the FARC that would not be particularly popular with Washington, which has long funded aerial fumigation of coca crops – the widespread spraying of tens of thousands of coca hectares.

“The end of fumigation is one of the principal demands of the FARC, and the Santos government has shown greater openness to discussing alternatives to the practice,” she said.


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