Historic agreement in Colombia: ‘Let this be the last day of the war’

People celebrate the agreement between Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, and Colombia's government, in Bogota, Colombia, Thursday, June 23, 2016.

People celebrate the agreement between Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, and Colombia’s government, in Bogota, Colombia, Thursday, June 23, 2016.

After nearly four years of talks, on Thursday, June 23, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) and the Colombian government signed an agreement in Havana regarding the details of a Definitive and Bilateral Cessation of Hostilities, Laying Down of Weapons and Guarantees of Security. It is expected that, in a few months, the final agreement on the six basis points discussed at the conversation table will be consolidated and signed by both parties. Following is the FARC statement on the progress made.

Thursday’s ceremony gave much hope to masses of people who, since the 1940s, have lived through abject violence produced by a state policy aimed to repress the excluded masses’ desire for freedom and justice. This bleeding Colombia is now entering a very complex stage, where popular forces, revolutionaries, paramilitaries and rightist forces coexist, along with the Colombian state and the representatives of transnational interests with their military capabilities, particularly the U.S. (which has seven military bases in that country), the European Union and Israel.

The international importance of this agreement was reflected in the participation of heads of government of nearly a dozen countries, including President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela and Raul Castro of Cuba (host of the negotiations) and representatives of the United Nations, the European Union and the Latin American regional organizations CELAC [Community of Latin American and Caribbean States] and CEPAL [United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean].

Below are excerpts from the statement of the Secretariat of the FARC-EP on the agreement:

‘Let this be the last day of the war’

In 1964, in the midst of the heat of an unequal armed struggle, the assembly of the guerrillas of Marquetalia produced its agrarian program, in whose introduction is the following statement to which we refer today: We are revolutionaries who fight for a change of the regime. But we wanted and fought for this change using the least painful way for our people: the peaceful and mass democratic struggle. That road was violently closed to us with the official fascist pretext that they were combating so-called Independent Republics, and since we are revolutionaries who one way or another will play our historical role, we had to find another way: the path of armed revolution to struggle for state power.

Today, 52 years later, the members of the FARC-EP are concluding with the government of Juan Manuel Santos a bilateral and definitive agreement for a ceasefire and an end to hostilities, an accord with security guarantees and to combat paramilitary forces, and another on the laying down of weapons that leave us at the threshold of concretizing the Final Agreement in a relatively short time; this will allow us to finally return to legal political participation using peaceful and democratic means. …

The 48 peasants from Marquetalia over decades grew to be thousands of women and men in arms who put the Colombian state in serious trouble, but who simultaneously never stopped talking about a peace agreement reached through civilized conversations. Several attempts to reach this agreement were painfully frustrated. But they continued trying again and again, and today we see the fruits of their persistence.

Because if something is attested to by the presidents of the accompanying and guarantor countries present here today, along with all the high-level international individuals immersed in the peace process underway and who accompany us here, what is about to be sealed is not a capitulation of the insurgency, as some obtuse elements wished, but the product of a serious dialogue between two forces that clashed for over half a century, in which neither could defeat the other. …

We are very close to signing the Final Agreement that will end the conflict and begin building a stable and lasting peace. From the beginning we argued that the signing of this agreement is the best chance our country will have to build the road toward social justice and progress, on the basis that the gates of true democracy will be opened, so that opposition social and political movements can enjoy full guarantees. …

There are agreements reached on this matter, and some remaining questions are close to being defined. And also concerning Comprehensive Rural Reform and crops used for illicit purposes. …

It will not be all rosy, and certainly there will have to be struggle so that what is signed is complied with. …

The Final Agreement will be the key to turn the lock, but it will require constant organization and mobilization of the people to guarantee compliance. …

The agreement on security guarantees and to combat paramilitarism must be a reality in deeds; otherwise it runs the risk of turning the final result of the process into a historical failure. It is very painful and cannot be tolerated any longer that at this point such elements continue murdering with full freedom. …

There has also been an agreement reached regarding Laying Down Arms. … Of course, we in the FARC will be politically active, that is our reason for existing, but using legal and peaceful means, with the same rights and guarantees of the other parties.

The Colombian government will have to enforce the agreement that no Colombian will be prosecuted because of their ideas or political practices. That the perverse practice of including in the order of battle of the armed forces the names of the leaders of social movements and of the political opposition will have to permanently disappear from the homeland. That once the final agreement is signed, the military war apparatus and its antiquated security doctrine will disappear. …

We need that an effective and definite reconciliation materializes in our country. No more violence and the craving for violence. This requires a patient and intense effort of outreach, education and awareness of what was agreed on in Havana, so that the people of Colombia are clear about its valuable and positive content. And so they know what they can and should claim from the state. So that they unite and organize to achieve it. Only in that way we will build a New Colombia. …

We know that nothing will be achieved easily or quickly. We understand that the main beneficiaries of our efforts will be future generations. Therefore we extend our hand to the youth. They are the ones to build the new country and therefore the ones called upon to defend peace and reconciliation, to promote a new type of political activity, for the consolidation of civility and a wider democracy.

The FARC have always been optimists. Even in the most difficult moments we always believed that peace was possible. … We hope to conclude within a reasonable period another ceremony, the signing of the Final Agreement. Let this be the last day of the war.

The full text in Spanish can be read in pazfarc-ep.org.

(Photo: teleSUR)

(Photo: teleSUR)

Simple Share Buttons

Share this
Simple Share Buttons