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En Español: Colombia tries to find peace through Havana conversations


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Photo by Mark Koester
Photo by Mark Koester

Ed. note: The English translation of this article is available below.

By Maria Camila Vera and Carlo Acevedo

Desde la década de los ochenta, varios han sido los intentos frustrados de firmar acuerdos de paz con las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc), el grupo guerrillero más grande del país. El conflicto que parecía interminable cambió de cara al comienzo de la década actual, con las nuevas conversaciones en La Habana, Cuba, entre el gobierno de Juan Manuel Santos y el grupo guerrillero.

¿De qué se habló en La Habana?

Reforma agraria: Al iniciar como una organización campesina, en 1964, las Farc marcó este punto con prioridad en su agenda. El gobierno se comprometió a facilitar el acceso a la tierra a campesinos para trabajar el campo y cambiar gradualmente el modelo de seguridad alimentaria (importación de productos para abastecer la demanda) por uno de soberanía (la producción interna será capaz de abastecer su propia demanda). También se acordaron reformas tributarias para favorecer asociaciones campesinas, mejoras en la infraestructura de las áreas rurales y un plan territorial de desarrollo.

Participación política: Para participar legalmente en la política nacional, las Farc necesitarán un estatuto de oposición que le garantice acceso a la información oficial y a la ciudadanía a través de los medios de comunicación del Estado. Por su parte, el grupo guerrillero propuso fundar movimientos sociales que puedan auditar proyectos y funcionarios públicos. Finalmente, , para evitar la posibilidad de fraude en futuras elecciones, se llevará a cabo una reforma electoral una vez firmados los acuerdos.

Cese al fuego: El proceso de desarme de las Farc debe iniciar 60 días después de la firma final de los acuerdos y será verificado por el Comité de Seguridad de la ONU. Los frentes guerrilleros que hagan parte del proceso estarán en zonas desmilitarizadas vigiladas por un anillo de seguridad de un kilómetro a la redonda que garantizará la seguridad de la población civil y los ex combatientes, pues se teme la persecución política por parte de grupos de extrema derecha. Las armas que entreguen las Farc serán fundidas para hacer tres monumentos en conmemoración de la firma de la paz.

Drogas y narcotráfico: Como fuente principal de recursos para las Farc, la guerrilla se ha comprometido a abandonar el narcotráfico y proveer información sobre rutas, cultivos ilícitos y agentes implicados. También se acordó un programa de reemplazo de cultivos en tres etapas: erradicación voluntaria, erradicación manual forzosa y, como última alternativa, una controvertida fumigación con glifosato. El acuerdo recoge un cambio en la legislación colombiana sobre el consumo de drogas, que será considerado en el futuro un tema de salud pública.

Justicia y víctimas: Este es el punto que más divide a los colombianos, pues propone amnistía o penas alternativas para los guerrilleros desmovilizados. Las Farc deberán ser parte activa del proceso de restitución de víctimas, que incluye la petición de perdón público por sucesos específicos, reparaciones psicosociales colectivas, acompañamiento en el retorno a familias desplazadas y compensación material. También se creará una Comisión de la Verdad, encargada de esclarecer la historia del conflicto y remarcar las repetidas violaciones a los derechos humanos.

Refrendación: Los acuerdos serán ratificados por el pueblo colombiano en un referéndum diseñado en La Habana y aprobado por la Corte Constitucional y el Congreso el próximo 2 de oct.

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Since the eighties, there have been several unsuccessful attempts to reach a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the largest guerilla organization in the country. The seemingly interminable conflict changed its face at the beginning of the current decade, with the new conversations in Havana, Cuba, between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the band of guerrillas.

What was talked about in Havana?

Agrarian reform: Beginning as a farmer’s organization in 1964, the FARC marked this point as a priority item on their agenda. The government promised to facilitate access to land for farmers to work the fields and gradually change the national model of food security (importation of products to fulfill demand) to one of food sovereignty (internal production able to fulfill its own demand). Also agreed upon were tax reforms to favor farm associations, infrastructure improvements for rural areas and a territorial development plan.

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Political participation: To legally participate in national politics, the FARC will need opposition status, which guarantees them access to official information and to the public through the State media. For their part, the guerrillas proposed to fund social movements which will be able to audit public projects and employees. Lastly, to avoid the potential for fraud in future elections, once the treaty is signed electoral reforms will be passed.

Ceasefire: The disarming process for the FARC must begin 60 days after the final signing of the treaty and will be verified by the United Nations Security Council. The guerrilla fronts that are part of the process will be in demilitarized zones patrolled by a security ring with a one kilometer radius which will guarantee the safety of both the civilian and ex-combatant populations, as political persecution is feared by far-right groups. The weapons turned in by the FARC will be melted down to make three monuments in commemoration of the signing of the peace treaty

Drugs and trafficking: As a principal source of resources for the FARC, the guerrillas have pledged to abandon drug trafficking and provide information about their routes, illicit crops and involved agents. They have also agreed to a program for replacing the crops in three steps: voluntary eradication, forced manual eradication and, as a final, controversial alternative, spraying of glyphosate. The treaty includes a change in Colombian legislation regarding the use of drugs, which will in the future be considered a public health issue.

Justice and victims: This is the most divisive point for Colombians, whether to propose amnesty or alternative punishments for the demobilized guerrillas. The FARC should be an active part of the restitution process for victims, which includes the petition for a public pardon for specific events, collective psychosocial reparations, assistance in the return of displaced families and material compensation. A Truth Commission will also be created, charged with clarifying the history of the conflict and highlighting the repeated violations of human rights.

Ratification: The treaty will be ratified on Oct. 2 by the Colombian people in a referendum designed in Havana and approved by the Constitutional Court and the Congress.

Translation by Spenser Santos. Maria Camila Vera is an MFA Graduate and Colombian journalist. Carlo Acevedo is an MFA student and a Colombian economist. This article was originally published in Little Village issue 206.


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