agreement for peace in Colombia reached in Havana
Government and guerrilla
movement reach understanding on issue of political
President Santos calls for talks
to continue and accelerate
IT took close to five months, but
the agreement on political participation reached
November 6 between the government of Juan Manuel
Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia-Army of the People (FARC-EP) constitutes a
significant step toward ending half a century of
From left to
right: Humberto de la Calle,
head of the government delegation;
the Norwegian guarantor, Dag Nylander;
the Cuban guarantor, Rodolfo Benítez;
and the leader of the guerrilla delegation,
Iván Márquez. (Reuters)
In a joint communiqué issued at
Havana’s International Convention Center, the
parties detailed the scope of the consensus reached
on Point 2 of the six-point agenda.
The key issues on which agreement
was reached are rights and guarantees for the
exercise of political opposition in general and, in
particular for the new movements which will emerge
after the end of the conflict.
In the same way democratic
mechanisms were agreed for citizens’ participation
and the inclusion within politics of all sectors,
including the most vulnerable.
They clarified, however, that what
has been agreed to date is part of a broader
agreement which they hope to finalize shortly. The
text quotes the principle governing the talks: "Nothing
is agreed until everything is agreed." In other
words, particular advances are linked to securing
Although partial, the success on
this second point, after the historic agreement
reached in May on the agrarian issue, advances the
Havana effort to an as yet unprecedented terrain in
a large number of previous peace talks between the
government and the country’s largest guerrilla
One has to go back to the
negotiations with Belisaro Betancur in the 1980’s,
which reached their maximum development with the
signed of the La Uribe Agreement, fundamentally
based on the political issue and the laying down of
From the experience emerged the
Unión Patriótica (UP) Party, comprising demobilized
guerrillas, which was dissolved with the mass
extermination of its members, to a total oscillating
between 1,000 and 4,000.
Iván Márquez, head of the FARC-EP
delegation, even reached the Congress of the
Republic after laying down his arms but, like many
others, had to return to the guerrilla movement
given the risk to his life.
Without any doubt, the bloody
history of the UP hangs over the current talks.
Precisely one of the agreements made public November
6 was the creation of an integral system of security
for the exercise of politics on the basis of respect
for life and the freedom of thought and opinion.
The repercussion extends to a future
FARC-EP integrated into national political life. In
fact, it is proposed to convene a forum in Colombia
with a view toward creating an opposition statute, a
long-held desire for clearly laying down the rules
of the game.
Other aspects on which advances have
been made during this round are the recognition of
the need for "institutional changes" to the
electoral system, as well as concrete measures to "guarantee
and promote a culture of reconciliation, coexistence
and tolerance," a sensitive issue for a nation
marked by violence.
Equally innovative and interesting
is the approach made to the problem of the political
participation in regions most affected by the armed
conflict, which historically have lived on the
margins of what takes place in Bogotá. For these
regions, a special system is proposed to increase
their presence in the Chamber of Representatives.
Colombia and a large part of the
world have been following the peace talks in Havana
and finally, new and concrete results have emerged
from the 16th round of talks. At their own pace, it
has been demonstrated that the negotiations are
moving forward, and that peace is at least closer
than it was a year ago.
PRESIDENT Juan Manuel Santos
addressed the country from Bogotá and reiterated
that he is convinced peace is possible and that the
talks will not break down at a time when progress is
"It would be irresponsible to
sacrifice the greatest opportunity for peace we have
had for political calculations or questions of
time," he said, adding that this is the time to "continue
and accelerate" the process.
The head of the government’s
delegation, former Vice President Humberto de la
Calle, commented in Havana that an agreement on
political participation would open the road to
definitively establishing peace after the end of the
"We are therefore seeking
reconciliation, that politics be free of
intimidation and violence. Never again politics and
arms together," he said.
LEADER of the FARC-EP delegation
Comandante Iván Márquez, emphasized the need to
respect life and divergent political positions in
"Colombia is living a springtime of
dreams of justice; above all, the most humble, the
dispossessed, have taken to the streets to tell the
rulers that they can no longer be ignored," he
Márquez acknowledged the
significance of the agreement with the government on
the issue of political participation, but added that
peace depends on other factors, such as an end to
corruption and interference by mafias which have
captured state power.
STATEMENT BY CUBAN GUARANTOR
WE salute the important results
achieved by the government of Colombia and the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Army of the
People (FARC-EP) on Point 2, referring to Political
Participation, on the agenda of the peace talks
taking place in Havana.
These agreements, added to those
announced this past May 26 in relation to Point 1
concerning the Integral Agrarian Development Policy,
constitute a new advance in the efforts to attain
peace in Colombia.
In its condition as a guarantor of
the peace talks in conjunction with Norway, Cuba
will continue contributing, as far as possible, to
the achievement of a Final Agreement for the
termination of the conflict and the construction of
a stable and enduring peace in Colombia.