The Colombian government and the FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People’s Army, in Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia--Ejercito del Pueblo) have been at war for 52 years.
This week a peace agreement represents the first time that Colombia will be at peace since 1948, and includes comprehensive agreements that encompass many aspects of Colombian life. The following is an account of the negotiations and the agreement from the head of the peace delegation of the FARC-EP.
We have closed today in Havana, Cuba, the most desired peace agreement of Colombia.
Land, democracy, victims, politics without arms, implementation of agreements with international monitoring, are, among others, the elements of an agreement that will have to be be changed, more sooner than later, by the primary constituent into a solid legislation, guaranteeing the future of dignity for all.
We can proclaim that the war with arms ends and the debate of ideas begins. We confess that we have concluded the most beautiful of all battles: laying the foundations for peace and coexistence.
The peace agreement is not a point of arrival but a starting point for a multiethnic and multicultural people, united under the banner of inclusion, to be the sculptor of change and social transformation claimed by a majority.
Today we are handing over to the Colombian people the transforming power we have been building for over half a century of rebellion, so that with it, and with the strength of the union, the people can begin to build the society of the future, our collective dream, a sanctuary dedicated to democracy, social justice, sovereignty and relations of brotherhood and respect with everyone.
We have signed commitments on the six points that make up the Agenda of the General Agreement:
Agreement “Towards a new Colombian countryside: Comprehensive Rural Reform,” which seeks the transformation of the conditions of misery and inequality prevailing in the agricultural areas of our country, providing plans and programs for good living conditions and development, starting from the entitlement of lands in hands of rural communities.
Agreement “Political participation: democratic opening for peace”, in which the emphasis lays on the elimination of exclusion, beginning from the expansion of democracy that will allow broad citizen participation in defining the country’s destiny.
Agreement “Solution to the problem of illicit drugs”, which designs a new policy to fight against illicitly used drugs, taking into account its social connotations and providing an approach with emphasis on human rights that overcomes the shortcomings of the failed “war on drugs”.
Agreement on Victims, consisting of a “Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition”, a “Special Jurisdiction for Peace”, a Unit for the search of persons missing in the context and due to the conflict, plans for comprehensive reparation, land restitution measures and guarantees of non-repetition, among others.
Agreements on point End of Conflict: “1. the Bilateral and final ceasefire and cessation of hostilities; 2. Decomissioning of weapons; 3. Monitoring and Verification Mechanism launched by the United Nations through the deployment of observers from countries of CELAC; 4. Agreements were defined on security guarantees and dismantling of the phenomenon of paramilitarism creating a research unit and through the dismantling of criminal organizations, including those that have been considered successors of paramilitarism and their support networks ..., not with a non warmongering vision, but with a vision instead of finding solutions to avoid further bloodshed and pain, and, as a fifth aspect, the latest agreed were agreements on the Reincorporation of the FARC-EP into civilian life - in economic, social and political terms, which, starting from a pardon and the broadest political amnesty, will open the door to our party to become a legal political movement in the new social scenario that will emerge from the whole of the peace agreements.
We also have an Agreement on Implementation, verification and countersignature, which provides guarantees for planning, funding and budget, and for the creation of regulatory changes that will allow the implementation of the commitments.
During the assessment of each point, in parallel, the Gender Subcommission worked on the analysis of all the texts agreed and the issues under debate, providing inputs that paved the way to full vindication of the human being.
We have fulfilled the task. In the coming days we will be in Colombia, holding the National Guerilla Conference, our highest body of authority, to which we must subordinate, to submit to its verdict the political work represented by the Special Agreement for Peace in Havana.
We confess that it has been a tough task, full of difficulties, with lights and shadows perhaps, but addressed with a heart full of love for the motherland and the poor in Colombia. We are convinced that we have faithfully interpreted the feelings of our comrades in arms and ideas, who always fought in the spirit of finding a political solution of the conflict, and above all, of the possibility of a fair country, without those ugly abyss which today stand between development and poverty.
To the comrades held in prisons and jails in the country and across borders, goes our message of love with the hope to soon have them with us building the New Colombia envisioned by our founding fathers.
To the people of Colombia goes our embrace with all the strength of our heart to reaffirm that the guerrilla struggle that was staged in all parts of the national territory had no reason other than the dignity of human life, under the universal law that attends all peoples of the world to take up arms against injustice and oppression. Unfortunately, in every war, but especially in the long term ones, mistakes are made and these unintentionally affect the population. With the signing of the peace agreement, which implies a commitment to non repetition, we hope to definitively eliminate the risk of weapons being turned against citizens.
Peace is for everyone and embraces all strata of our society calling them to reflection, solidarity, and it tells us that it is possible to take the country forward. To the sector of society surviving in the catacombs of despair, neglect and official neglect, we say that it is possible, relying on the inner strength and determination that we all carry inside, to rise from misery and poverty. While we live, everything is possible, and much better if we do it with organization. There are the young people of Colombia, always generous, from cloisters and universities willing to help in the collective search for solutions to social problems.
To the peasants, men and women full of humility and purity, looking into the groove through their work and sweat for the food sovereignty of Colombia, we offer a trench of struggle in the Comprehensive Rural Reform agreed. To the Afro communities in Colombia, the indigenous peoples: we invite you to look within the geography of all agreed the differential ethnic approach, won with your own struggle. To women, we tell them that we will enforce the gender approach that breathes through the Special Peace Agreement.
It will not be possible to stop the powerful force of change originated in the dreams and hopes of a people claiming their rights. Nothing can lead us astray. The people of Colombia demand answers to their concerns and the government should provide them with tangible actions.
There will be international monitoring on the commitments of both parties, not only of the guerrillas, as some would like, but also of the Government’s commitments on fundamental issues of the end of conflict, such as the reincorporation in political, economic and social terms, on safety guarantees, and on the transition of guerrillas into a legal political movement.
We have great expectation about the development of the commitment to institutional reforms and adjustments needed to meet the challenges of peace-building. To do this, we believe, the GREAT NATIONAL POLITICAL PACT should gain ground, after the plebiscite, proposed by the parties, to which we invite the forces of the nation so that in this new space we can all think about a new framework for political and social coexistence that will guarantee tranquility to future generations.
We will ultimately have peace if the agreements are respected. The people must become the main guarantor of implementation. The Special Peace Agreement and the people must be as sea and wave, where the agreements are the sea and the people are the persistent wave demanding compliance.
On behalf of the FARC I turn to the nations of the world asking the peoples and governments for their solidarity, their support in every way so that the longest conflict on the continent will become a reference point and an issue of the past that should not be repeated by anyone.
To the Government of the United States that for so long supported the war of the State against the guerrillas and against social nonconformity, we ask to continue supporting the Colombian efforts to restore peace in a diaphanous way, always waiting for humanitarian gestures from Washington, matching the kindness which characterizes the majority of the American people, friends of harmony and solidarity. We are waiting for Simon Trinidad.
We hope that the ELN will find a way towards peace so that peace would be complete as it would really involve all Colombians.
Finally, the FARC expresses its deepest appreciation to the government led by General Raul Castro Ruz and the people of Cuba, everything he has done for the peace of Colombia, eternal gratitude to Marti’s homeland.
Thanks also to the Kingdom and the people of Norway for its generous contribution and its support as guarantor to the efforts of reconciliation in our country. Our appreciation and affection go to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, for its permanent assistance to her sister Colombia, in the realization of the peace agreement. Thanks Nicolas Maduro to continue the work entrusted to you by President Chavez.
And thank to President Michelle Bachelet and the people of Chile for their extraordinary support to a peace that, they know only too well, is essential to consolidate peace on the continent.
Let us pay tribute to the fallen in this long fratricidal confrontation. Families, mothers, widows, brothers, children and friends, our condolences for the mourning and sadness of war.
Let us join hands and our voices to shout NEVER, NEVER AGAIN.
From the Havana conclave, white smoke has emerged.
Habemus Pacem, we have peace. Viva Colombia! Long live peace!