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Issue #1734      June 8, 2016

Peace for future generations in our hands

Statement: 52 years of struggle for peace in Colombia

We celebrate this anniversary at a crucial point for the life of our nation, when we stand at the threshold of reaching a definitive peace agreement with the national government. After five decades and two years since war began, finally reason seems to impose itself on the belligerent moods that unlashed the tragedy.

The peasants integrating the agrarian movement in Marquetalia, in the south of the department of Colima, knowing beforehand about the huge military operation which was coming against them, wrote dozens of letters to the Congress of the Republic, the churches, political parties, companies, national and foreign personalities, calling on them to stop the decision that will condemn them to the loss of their tranquillity, their families, goods, jobs, their life.

They were asking that the Colombian government give them support, roads, credits, schools, health centres, guarantees to enable them to make politics, instead of bullets and bombs, troops and planes. They were not asking for a huge amount of money. Nor for rights that were not recognised in the Constitution and the laws. However the voice of those who called them bandits and wanted their annihilation, prevailed.

After the community general assembly it was decided that the families settled in the region would leave with the little they could take with them, in a painful exodus that was repeating itself after many years of violence. Forty-eight peasants, men and women, decided to stay there, poorly armed and alone against the world, to wait for the aggressors and fight them in an unequal resistance they swore would end up changing the face of Colombia.

The National Army occupied and raised the flag on the very place where, before being destroyed by bombs, existed the old farm of Marquetalia. However that group of men and women survived and converted themselves into an invincible guerrilla force that was spreading its influence over the whole territory of Colombia. The just cause their weapons represented have found an echo in thousands of Colombians that day after day were supporting it and joining its ranks.

The Colombian armed forces, constantly advised by the Pentagon, resolved to use every war tactic in a desperate effort to annihilate the growing struggle. Instigated by the national security doctrine inspiring its actions, and trained by Escuela de las Americas, they opted to consider as the enemy within, all those not conforming and reclaiming their rights in political and social struggle.

The conflict became the perfect excuse for the regime to persecute trade unions and the peasants, Indigenous peoples, workers, popular, social, democratic and opposition movements, sinking the country in a massive dirty war that included crimes including massacres, disappearances, torture, forced displacement, exile, judicial frame-ups, prison and terror.

Death, tears and fear haunted the country for decades, opposing the guerrilla call for a political solution to put an end to the conflict in a civilised manner. The people, including thousands of children of the nation saw their lives brought to an end or faced illness and hunger in the jungles, or died at the hand of official agents or paramilitary groups.

Bounties worth millions were offered for the heads of the rebel leaders and many of them were assassinated, always with the approval of mainstream media and those who advocated terror as the only path. Despite all that, every day young people, both males and females, were joining the guerrillas, with commitment and with good will, to replace the dead comrades, and warm their spirit in the heat of the struggle.

FARC-EP is and always has been a political organisation

It would have been more humane and cheap to talk in order to end the painful drama of the nation. But always interests and tempers were interposed to stop or sabotage. However, after half a century of horrors, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) in Havana peace consultations stand for a Final Peace Agreement though the country’s leaders still persist in calling for more bombings and inciting the population to persist in a war with no future.

The FARC-EP, with the authority given to us by our long resistance and the fact of having survived to defend our truths, firmly believe that at this point in time the whole of Colombia should join the beautiful dream of peace and reconciliation. Never before have the government and the guerrillas been so close to the signature of a bilateral and permanent ceasefire and the end of hostilities as we are now. This means that the happy smile of future generations is in our hands.

We face the challenge and commitment to build a different country together, a country in which the wellbeing of all human beings would be above any craving for profit, in which natural and common resources would be at the service of the general development of all the people. A country in which opportunities for the disadvantaged are real. A country in which law and justice prevail.

The agreements reached so far at the Negotiations Table are the keys to a better future for Colombia. The countryside must be converted into an important economic engine. Illicit crops and the need to resort to them must be put behind us. Victims will see their rights satisfied and truth and justice will be established after the dark night of war. Full democracy must be a fact on national soil.

It is with these purposes that we have talked during five years of dialogues and the formulas to ensure we are ready. It is true that some important aspects are still to be agreed, but we dream optimistically, seeing that every day more citizens join in the effort for peace, that the two parties will soon find conciliatory positions. The final definition is to be found on the near horizon of some weeks or months. No human power can prevent that.

After 52 years of confrontation, the FARC-EP will become a legal and disarmed political movement in a country where tolerance and guarantees for the political opponent must be full. We will join our voices and efforts to all of those who dream of a just and sovereign nation, in order to be part of the unstoppable torrent that will make Colombia an example for America and the world.

We swore we will overcome … and we will overcome!

Central High Command of the National Secretariat of the FARC-EP

Next article – Dingo

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