Peace Talks Colombia

por lofredo


Myths of the peace process: FARC

Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, January 23, 2014.
About the peace process: Myths and mythomania

Recent statements made by Juan Manuel Santos in Europe seem more a delirium, full of unnecessary boasts, than the expression of a coherent policy that provides guarantees to make progress in the peace process.

You cannot distort the reality and believe that it is o.k. to escalate war as if there weren’t any peace conversations, or that you can forward a dialogue, pretending that the country is not suffering the ravages of confrontation.

It doesn’t make sense to bask in death, as Santos is doing in Spain, while he is sabotaging joint speeches of reconciliation in Havana, just because the counterpart is striking a military blow. You cannot keep the country on fire and change hundreds of humble soldiers into cannon fodder, while threatening the counterpart by saying that if it attacks a major figure, the process will explode into a thousand pieces. This discrimination between lives that have value and others that don’t, because they simply do not belong to the class of the wealthy, is the most disgusting thing a president can say. A president, who proclaims to be committed to national reconciliation.

The counterpart has talked about the myths of the peace process, using the term pejoratively, in the sense of a false, widespread belief. In the same way, we can clarify that we are not at the Peace Talks as a result of military pressure or on the way to surrender. This is the first myth to disassemble because it confuses causes and courses.

Peace is a strategic aim of the FARC and that’s why we are in Havana. All previous dialogues have been in consideration of that principle. Therefore, Juan Manuel Santos and Felipe Gonzales are wrong if they believe that with a militaristic conception, or the glorification of the criminal Zionist strategy against Palestine, they will convince the world that State terrorism, backed by the military power of the empire, is the key to achieving peace.

Santos should be ashamed to allow, without any hesitation, subordination to the CIA and intervention of foreign powers in the internal conflict in Colombia. Besides the U.S., also British intelligence, the Spain of Felipe Gonzales, and Israel are attacking the FARC and the popular movement. It is unacceptable that the Colombian government recognizes with silly pride that the Southern Command is leading the counterinsurgency war, because this is what he’s saying when he talks about the presence of the NSA (National Security Agency) technology, and the spending of 9,000 million dollars, which is the amount they have invested in coward bombings of FARC camps, apart from the total budget spent on Plan Colombia.

The second government myth is the belief that the peace agenda can be interpreted without taking the preamble into account, which is the spirit of the General Agreement of Havana. The preamble is so important because from it derives the necessary commitment to discuss essential issues such as economic policy and the serious problems of urban poverty and political exclusion.

There is unity and coherence between what the FARC-EP say publicly and what they do in each scenario, including the negotiation table, so the third myth is to think that our discourse in the media is just rhetoric and deception. The proposals for social change, claimed by the people on the streets, are our flags and we will not lower them here at the Peace Talks.

The fourth myth is the belief that there is a democracy in Colombia and that representatives of the establishment are its defenders. What really exists is state terrorism, and therefore our approach to strengthen popular political participation and establish true democracy are not ravings or distractions. Our arguments in defense of the majority are serious, and so we will not cease to insist on solving the essential problems that have caused misery and inequality. Therefore, we agree with Juan Manuel Santos when he says that the partial agreements achieved so far, are almost nothing. It is obvious that the key issues still have to be discussed.

The government has never agreed with the FARC to leave out of discussion the issue of the Armed Forces, their giant apparatus and their doctrine. Thus, the fifth myth is to believe that you can achieve peace without demilitarization of society and State, maintaining inhuman factors as the National Security Doctrine, the conception of the internal enemy and paramilitarism.

On the other hand, it is unthinkable that in a process like the one we’re carrying out, you can overlook the need to restore the social function of property. Hence the sixth myth is the illusion that a stable and lasting peace can be possible without ending big landownership and without curbing foreign ownership of land.

It is important to note that the country doesn’t agree with the fragmented and partial information given on the results of the process. As the agenda states, the parties only agreed to keep internal debates confidential, but not the conclusions. So the seventh myth is to confuse confidentiality with secrecy, to think that the solutions to the war can be reached behind citizens’ backs, and that a countersignature mechanism, that requires the full participation of the sovereign, can be imposed unilaterally restricting it to a cropped and uninformed consultation.

The eighth myth is to think that in a scenario of decades of institutional dirty war, the State can be judge and jury at the same time, and that it can create its own regulations and transitional mechanisms. Moreover, it’s an illusion to think that in a process that should favor the victims, you can avoid the creation of a Commission of Clarification of the truth of the history of Colombia’s internal conflict.

We have never claimed to be angelic figures, but neither can the regime pretend that we are Beelzebub himself and the ruling elites constitute a court of heavenly cherubs. It is a myth to think that the insurgency is to assume primary blame for the results of the confrontation and that the State is not involved in international crimes. We recall that the FARC have not come to Havana to agree to impunity. It should be clear that, by act or omission, the State is ultimately responsible. It won’t achieve anything if it maintains this morbid tendency to distort reality.

Finally, it’s a fact that without comprehensive rural reform and without political participation, ie, without founding essential elements for democracy, you cannot achieve and build peace. But this search in Havana is not so simple, because here it is not a matter of distributing “gratuities”. In the FARC, there are no delegates who can be bought or sold and therefore arguments, political wisdom, and genuine willingness to bring about change and achieve reconciliation are required.

We don’t resign ourselves to see persecution, criminalization and death of many popular and opposition leaders while the peace talks are being held, and to see, in particular, the fragility of the guarantees for Political Participation they have offered us. Witnessing how public resources are being distributed like corruptible “gratuities” to align parliamentarians, judges, officials and heads of political authorities, in such a blatant way, moves us to say that this is not the “democracy” we want and we are looking for.

From Havana we call for a debate on these fundamental issues for the country. And we also call to assert the immense desire for peace that beats in the heart of Colombia. Peace doesn’t belong to parties, presidents or dignitaries; peace is a supreme good that belongs to everybody.

Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP