More than four years have passed since the signing of the peace agreement between the FARC-EP guerrillas and the Colombian government led by Juan Manuel Santos. Despite the simplistic reductionism, the lies and the furious attacks of Uribism against the Accord, analyzes with a deep social scientific rigor, like that of the Kroc Institute of Notre-Dame University, warned from the outset. start on the scope, depth and relevance of the commitments made. between the guerrillas and the executive.
In fact, it was conceived as the most comprehensive peace agreement in the past 30 years and actors such as the European Union, the United Nations and the International Criminal Court have not hesitated to support it.
The delivery of arms by former guerrillas and their mass demobilization in favor of a process of reintegration into civilian life was accompanied by mechanisms for political participation and alternative judicial treatment. However, in many cases opponents of the Accord have quickly, and in a manner as fallacious as it is mysterious, interpreted the Agreements as offers and favors in exchange for the delivery of arms.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The political participation of the FARC-EP, in reality, implied the recognition of the exclusive prerogative of democracy and the institutions of the rule of law to channel conflicts through the ballot box.
In addition, whatever its weight on the government of Iván Duque, – the main saboteur of respect for what has been agreed – the Agreement also provided for mechanisms which reinforced the rights of truth, justice, reparation and -repetition for the victims and a whole social fabric beset by decades of violence.
Two key events
In recent days, there have been two events that have put the ex-guerrilla, from Marquetalia, in front of the mirror of reality.
First of all, the second national assembly of the heir to the FARC-EP party took place. During the first national congress, which hosted the founding of the Revolutionary Alternative Force of Colombia (FARC), clearly erratic assumptions were presented. Maintaining an acronym that in reality is a burden on memory and democratic coexistence in Colombia was combined with ideological and programmatic assumptions that were deeply outdated and outdated for what Colombian society demands in the 21st century.
These decisions are largely due to the leadership of the more Orthodox faction, led by “Iván Márquez” and “Jesús Santrich”, who ultimately took the “easy route” back to armed activity in 2019.
Result of all this, the results of the FARC elections speak for themselves: a little more than 52,000 votes, or 0.34% of the total votes in the senatorial elections, and a no more flattering result in the departmental and municipal elections at the end of 2019.
In other words, political and social reality showed the deep rejection of the FARC in Colombian society, recalling that the more than six million citizens who supported the Accord in the referendum of October 2016 were in no way case of fervent supporters of a political project of the ex-guerrilla in the polls.
The second national meeting, postponed for a year because of the pandemic, leaves with it the change of the name of the party which now adopts the name of “Comunes”. It also leaves a strategy that will become visible and a political sense, as ambivalent as it is weak, to consolidate.
General election 2022
Elections will be held next year and there is no reason to believe that the redefined party will stand for election. On the contrary, it will seek to enter into a framework of alliances which, until now, with a few exceptions, have not been consolidated. This is because for any group extinct guerrilla support is a subtract amount.
Without new faces, new speeches, new contributions and a new program, the heir to the FARC-EP party is in serious danger of falling into irrepressible ostracism. And sooner or later your political project will simply disappear.
On the other hand, even these days there has been a formal accusation that thousands of victims in Colombia were waiting. In other words, the official indictment of the Special Peace Prosecutor for the very serious crimes of deprivation of liberty and hostage-taking in the context of the conflict.
This case, which began in October 2018, contemplates more than 20,000 kidnappings that coincide with the time of the guerrilla’s greatest peak and fighting capacity, between 1998 and 2002. Thus, and using the principle of responsibility commanders, former commanders and a prominent political party leaders would be affected.
If the case is successful, the Accord provides for alternative prison terms of five to eight years for members of the Secretariat, which was then the guerrilla’s supreme body. Among them Rodrigo Londoño (“Tymoshenko”), pastor Alape, Jorge Torres (“Pablo Catatumbo”) or Milton de Jesús Toncel (“Joaquín Gómez”).
In conclusion, it is simply a matter of understanding that the Peace Agreement needs time, resources and political will. This has been said ad nauseam by names whose commitment to peace is inevitable, like the heads of the government’s negotiating team, Humberto de la Calle and Sergio Jaramillo, or Juan Manuel Santos himself.
However, despite the resistance of the current government, the fact that the ex-guerrilla can participate in politics or be judged by an instrument such as the Special Jurisdiction for Peace are elements whose magnitude, in itself, justifies the moral superiority to prefer an imperfect. agreement to continue with an armed conflict of immeasurable violence.
What is most regrettable is that this comes at a time of deteriorating security and public order, massive violence against social leaders and ex-guerrillas, and deep resentment and social polarity. In any case, the FARC ended up facing the mirror of their actions and responsibilities and, without a doubt, this is the greatest greatness of peacebuilding.
Spanish translation by Maria Isabel Santos Lima