Published on : 25/11/2021 – 02:48
Five years ago, the Colombian authorities and the former Farc guerrillas sealed a historic peace agreement. The signatories met for the first time on Wednesday in Bogota to celebrate this anniversary and renew their commitments.
Five years ago, one of the most cruel and longest conflicts in Latin America ended: Colombia commemorated on Wednesday November 24 the historic agreement which allowed the return to peace and the disarmament of the Marxist guerrillas. of the Farc.
In a renewed act of reconciliation, the signatories of the 2016 accord symbolically gathered in Bogota for the first time in five years and reaffirmed their commitment before representatives of the international community and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Side by side, the former president (2010-2018) and Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos and the former Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) Rodrigo Londoño, each in their own way, praised the progress of the “peace train”.
“Ask for forgiveness”
The presence of the current president Ivan Duque, who was for a long time an opponent of the 2016 agreement because he considered it too favorable to the Farc, added to the force of the ceremony organized in the premises of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP ), a tribunal created to do justice to the nine million victims of the conflict: killed (260,000), mutilated, missing and displaced.
“We insist on asking forgiveness from the victims of our actions during the conflict, we understand their pain a little more every day and that fills us with sadness and shame,” said Rodrigo Londoño, better known by his war name of “Tymoshenko. “. “Nothing and nobody can shake our conviction that the path we have taken is the right one”, assured the one who was at the head of nearly 13,000 combatants, now demobilized and who are trying to reintegrate into civilian life. . Almost 300 of them have nevertheless been murdered since 2016.
Former President Juan Manuel Santos, the man who managed to convince the Farc to sit down at the negotiating table, drew up a “positive” assessment of the five years of the agreement signed with Rodrigo Londoño, which ” has respected its commitments “. “The peace train that so many people wanted to derail or stop continues to advance,” he said, expressing in passing his “satisfaction” to see that the current president Duque, one of his greatest political opponents, or he too “boarded this train”.
Emblematic image of this anniversary, Juan Manuel Santos and Rodrigo Londoño, relaxed and smiling, tasted together at the end of the day, at the end of the ceremonies, a beer brewed and produced by ex-guerrilla fighters.
“Risks to peace”
With the 2016 agreement, the Farc guerrilla, a movement of peasants who took up arms in the 1960s, in the midst of the Cold War, became a legal political party (under the name “Comunes”) with guaranteed representation in the region. parliament, but without real influence at the ballot box.
The agreement signed five years ago provided for political and agrarian reforms – the land issue is a key to the conflict – which in theory should be implemented by 2031. If it has significantly reduced violence , many armed groups continue to rage in the country, including Farc dissidents who have taken up arms again, who have exploited the void left in the mountains by the departure of the former guerrillas. These groups, numbering nearly 10,000 members, live off drug trafficking and illegal mining, contributing to deforestation.
The head of the United Nations again warned, as he had done the day before, against the “risks to peace” posed by “armed groups linked to drug trafficking”. “It is not too late to reverse this trend by concentrating all efforts (…) in the places where the violence is the most intense”, stressed Antonio Guterres, renewing the “full support” of the UN.
For his part, after calling for a minute’s silence and enumerating his government’s actions in favor of peace, President Duque called for a “total truth” and “not a tailor-made truth” for the victims of the conflict. “All of us here want to see effective, rapid and real justice,” insisted the conservative president.
A frequent target of the Colombian right, the JEP is preparing to hand down its first sentences against the former Farc command for more than 21,000 kidnappings. It also has to try soldiers for the executions of some 6,400 civilians.