Between Heaven and Hell
- Declaration of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia- People’s Army (FARC-EP), June 7, 2013 –
The dialogues in Havana are in limbo because of the man who wants to go down in history as the president who made peace in Colombia.
Echoes of the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s just protest over [President Juan Manuel] Santos receiving the opposition leader Capriles in Nariño Palace are reverberating loudly.
Not a few believe that the visit to Bogota of Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States, was the origin of Santos’ outburst. And they link it to a plan of Washington headed up by a Trojan horse named the “Pacific Alliance” which, managed by Washington, aims to destabilize and derail popular governments like those of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Uruguay, among others. What would prompt Santos to announce Colombia’s fanciful entry into NATO? To threaten Venezuela, Brazil?
Don’t believe those who attribute the president’s behaviour to ingenuousness, because Santos is no fool. As a statesman he is obliged to measure the effect of his actions.
Juan Manuel Santos knew his provocation against the legitimate government of Venezuela would go off like a firecracker on the dialogue table in Havana, because the issue of Venezuela, the companion and facilitator of the process, is a very sensitive one to the FARC, who see the Venezuelans as the main generators of confidence, and consequently, the main drivers of the peace process.
For all these reasons and because it comes precisely when the enthusiasm for peace planted its flag on the Everest of Colombians’ reconciliation, encouraged by the partial agreement on the land issue — the heart of the conflict, Santos’ invitation to Capriles has been so perplexing. The attitude of Santos deflated the optimism, the atmosphere conducive to peace that had been built with such effort in Havana. It all boils down to the fact that were it not for Venezuela the peace talks in the Cuban capital would not be taking place.
It is contradictory, abysmally contradictory, to aspire to go down in history as the president who made peace, while at the same time launching a string of attacks against peace. The cold blooded murder of Alfonso Cano, the commander and champion of reconciliation, is now an indelible stain. On the other hand no one can understand why the government rejects the necessary bilateral ceasefire proposed by the FARC since the beginning of the talks, if what we are dealing with is stopping the war. During the last six months the Minister of Defence has acted like a sectarian sniper against the process, giving the impression that there is no unity of purpose on the part of the government. And even the President himself does not miss an opportunity to discredit his counterparts with unfounded accusations and threats to break off [the dialogues].
There are other elements as well affecting the dialogue and the construction of an agreement like the government’s annoying cracking of the whip over time and rhythm. What is the rush? To precipitate a bad deal, a botched peace? The progression of such a momentous agreement should not be interfered with either by the timing of an election or legislative deadlines. Parallel with the sessions at the table someone is orchestrating a media campaign from on high, spreading with a certain perfidy the notion of the guerrilla as victimizer on one side and on the other, the State as an angel, fluttering innocently with no historical responsibility for the institutional violence and terrorism.
A government that really wants peace is not always drawing the red lines of its intransigence, of its non-negotiables, but rather acts with magnanimity to facilitate understanding. Where is the goodwill, where the good judgment? What can be seen here is a big inconsistency. And also great stinginess when one’s defence is based on stubborn arguments [and] outrageous privileges. These attitudes contribute little to building an atmosphere of peace. So what are the dialogues for?
Understand that this is not a process of submission, but of peacebuilding. It is not about incorporating the insurgency into the current political system, as it is, without any changes to favour the excluded majorities. Then what would the fight have been for? The best epilogue of this war must be sealed with structural changes of a political, economic and social nature that will give rise to overcoming poverty and inequality.
We must defend this peace process, this hope. After decades of military confrontation we should combine our wills resolutely, everyone, the government, the FARC guerrillas and the social and political organizations of the country, to reach the yearned for reconciliation with social justice. What do Uribe and FEDEGAN [Colombian Cattlemen's Federation] matter if we are resolved to achieve peace.
Secretariat of the General Staff of the FARC-EP
Mountains of Colombia, June 7, 2013