Five years have passed since former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the then commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Rodrigo Londoño, signed the ‘Agreement for the Definitive Termination of the Conflict’. This definitive step towards the path of disarmament and peace has been furrowed by historical social debts that are expressed in violence, protests and claims for the failure of the Government to comply with the agreement.
This Wednesday, to commemorate its fifth anniversary, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, participates in an act that has the presence of President Iván Duque, politicians, signatories of the agreement and victims of the conflict together with the members of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), the Truth Commission and the Search Unit for Persons given as Missing (UPBD). There, these entities will deliver a general report on their management in recent years.
“We can confidently affirm that the implementation of the peace process is taking deep roots. The fifth anniversary is a testimony of the commitment of the parties but also of the State institutions and the vibrant Colombian civil society ”: António Guterres pic.twitter.com/qd4A18MELA
– Special Jurisdiction for Peace (@JEP_Colombia) November 24, 2021
In this five-year period, realities that were impossible to imagine in Colombia in past decades have crystallized. On the one hand, the defunct FARC began their political life within Congress, from the hand of the Comunes party, which emerged in 2017 under the name of Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común (FARC). The extinct armed group that was born in the sixties of the last century, now reincorporated to civil life, advanced on points of the agreement such as the ceasefire and hostilities.
On the other hand, the JEP, which became operational in June 2018, has been the in charge of trying those responsible for the crimes committed during the armed conflict “to satisfy the victims’ rights to justice, offer them truth and contribute to their reparation”, as established in its definition.
The ex-guerrillas speak
The senator and ex-commander of the FARC Carlos Antonio Lozada recently affirmed in a meeting at the Externado University, in the Colombian capital, that the fact that the State has signed the Peace Agreement “means that it recognizes that there are sectors that do not have spaces to political participation “.
Lozada referred to a topic that national and international social organizations usually address: the exclusion by the government and repression of the security forces, which was denounced in the anti-government protests of recent years. “That brutality with which we have seen that the State responds to the mobilization, it is evident that it is put on the order of the day.”
In his opinion, they are necessary “structural and background transformations“and the Peace Agreement” is the gateway “to solve problems such as security.
For his part, the president of the Communes Party, Rodrigo Londoño, asserted that to “end the exercises of violence in Colombia it is necessary to fully implement in its spirit the Peace Agreement. The Agreement was not for the FARC, the Agreement is to provide a solution to the country’s structural problems. ”
The figures of the post Agreement
When taking stock, some analysts have spoken of the “bittersweet” taste that these years have left behind. Issues such as comprehensive rural reform, security guarantees for ex-combatants and social fighters, the end of stigmatization against former guerrillas, and the State’s action in areas where different illegal armed groups and drug traffickers dispute territorial control continue to be on the table. .
To review these post-agreement debts more clearly, it is necessary to know the figures that show how violence continues to affect Colombians and the work of the political and justice organizations that emerged in these years.
Hectares of coca planted
Despite the great efforts that the Colombian Government claims to make to eradicate coca crops, the numbers are still disappointing amidst the indications of the need for a reformulation of the anti-drug policy in the South American country that is not based solely on the armed response of the State.
In the middle of the year, the US Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) reported that there was an increase in the hectares of coca planted in Colombia, which went from 212,000 in 2019 to 245,000 in 2020. However, the Casa de Nariño responded that these figures contrasted with those reported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which established that they had been reduced from 154,000 in 2019 to 143,000 last year.
For its part, the Colombian Government reported that last year there was a record of 130,000 hectares of coca eradicated manually and almost 580 metric tons of cocaine and cocaine base seized. Some sectors, including the Communes party, have spoken of the need to comply with the government’s program of crop substitution as a way of offering alternatives to peasants.
Assassination of ex-combatants
Until the beginning of November, 290 ex-guerrillas have been killed since the signing of the Peace Agreement, according to Comunes, while so far this year, the figure has reached 43, according to the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz) .
For its part, the JEP maintains that 296 signatories of the Peace Agreement were assassinated and that there have been 67 attempted homicides and 21 forced disappearances.
These deaths, classified as systematic, have even occurred within spaces where ex-combatants have rejoined civilian life. Given this, different organizations have asked the State greater protection for ex-combatants to guarantee their lives, because they are also victims of the illegal armed groups that have retaken the areas left by the FARC.
From Comunes they have asked the Colombian State to “show concrete results” and “present a comprehensive program and financed security guarantees for ex-combatants, vulnerable communities, especially women and ethnic groups. “
Murdered social leaders and massacres
In addition to these red numbers, in the South American country the murder of social leaders continues, whose work in the communities is seen as a threat to armed groups, local politicians or companies that exploit natural and mineral resources.
In the same way, it seems that the massacres, violent practices of previous decades, have regained strength in the last two years. Until November 14, there had been 88 kills of this type that left 313 victims, according to Indepaz.
The recognition of these murders has caused controversy among the Government, which considers them as a consequence of settling accounts between drug trafficking groups, and among those who warn about the increase in violence in areas where there is state abandonment.
Regarding the displaced, who have also been a social debt inherited from the years of violence, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that between January and June 2021 the number of victims of mass displacement increased 191%, compared to the same period in 2020.
Only between July, August and September of this year there were 21 cases of forced displacement, which forced 15,644 people to abandon their homes, according to the Ombudsman’s Office.
From 1985 to December 2020, more than 8.1 million people have been displaced from their homes due to the armed conflict in Colombia.
Although the incorporation into the political life of the extinct FARC was one of the great achievements of the Peace Agreement, its permanence in that arena as an option away from the traditional Colombian parties continues to be a challenge given the little weight it has had among the electorate.
As established in the agreements, the Communes Party will have ten seats in Congress for the periods 2018-2022 and 2022-2026. From there, they will have to be measured with other political groupings to obtain them.
Some of its members have expressed their dissatisfaction with the central line of the party because they feel abandoned and without a voice within it. Therefore, some think that there could be a separation in your bosom, despite the fact that there is very little time left for the registration of candidates for the lists of the Senate and House of Representatives, with a view to the elections next year.
On the other hand, the leader of Commons refers to the breach of the agreements as a cause of the stigmatization that weighs on that group, which prevents it from having weight in national political life. “It is a difficult and complex element to overcome, after all the history we have,” he said in an interview with El Tiempo.
At the ceremony on Wednesday, the president of the JEP, Eduardo Cifuentes, stated that compliance with the Peace Agreement “requires ensuring the lives of former FARC combatants as well as the victims.”
When taking the floor, the president of the JEP (@EcifuentesMu) pointed out that “compliance with the Peace Agreement requires ensuring the lives of the ex-combatants of the Farc as well as the victims and people who attend the JEP.” pic.twitter.com/ll4Hc4sQQO
– Special Jurisdiction for Peace (@JEP_Colombia) November 24, 2021
He added that the charges and sentences in the first years “will offer the truth that the country and the victims demand. Never again can you aspire to come to power through violence“.
In his words, “restorative justice” seeks the “path of reconciliation”, the “fight against impunity for the worst crimes” and the “search for truth.”
The UN Secretary General expressed his recognition of transitional justice that has achieved “historic indictments for war crimes and unprecedented acknowledgments of responsibility.”
Currently, the JEP has seven macro-cases open that represent the most serious events of the Colombian armed conflict:
Hostage taking and other serious deprivation of liberty committed by the FARC-EP Territorial situation of Ricaurte, Tumaco and Barbacoas (Nariño) Deaths illegitimately presented as combat casualties Territorial situation of the Urabá region Northern Cauca situation and the south of Valle del Cauca. Victimization of members of the Patriotic Union. Recruitment and use of girls and boys in the conflict.
Since it was created, and until February of this year, 12,738 people underwent the JEP. Of this total, 9,787 were members of the FARC; 2,813 from the public force; 126 were state agents and 12 made up the social protest.
If you found it interesting, share it with your friends