The First Steps on the Path to Peace

Although in fact the most important is the silence of weapons, made official last August 29, the real effect of the bilateral agreement will be seen from now on with the demobilization of rebels, the redress of victims, the sanction of serious crimes and the commitments made by the Government in terms of illegal drugs

By: Marina Menéndez Quintero

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2016-09-28 | 16:44:57 EST
Photo: Semana TresZoom

Colombia is bracing for another important day in the accomplishment of peace, formally adopted by President Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of FARC-EP Timoleón Jiménez, when both signed the Final Agreement for the End of the Conflict and the Construction of a Lasting and Stable Peace, adopted in Havana on August 24 after almost four years of talks.

Next Sunday the plebiscite with the postulates included in the Agreement will be summited to the Colombian people’s approval, a referendum which is expected to find popular support and will go through twists and turns as they entail changes in political and institutional matters.

 Although in fact the most important is the silence of weapons, made official last August 29, a date from which no death have been reported, the real effect of the bilateral agreement will be seen from now on with the demobilization of rebels, the redress of victims, the sanction of serious crimes not considered as part of the war and the commitments made by the Government in terms of illegal drugs, and the Comprehensive Rural Reform, which is affirmed to contribute to the structural transformation of the field, creating favorable conditions for the well-being of the rural population.

The significance of the Agreement to be submitted to the Colombians’ approval is rooted in that premise and it has a good precedent in the unanimous support given to the document by the 10th FARC-EP National Conference offering the rebels the possibility to give up weapons and choose the political struggle instead.

In the Final Declaration of the meeting, which took place between September 17 to 23 the insurgence endorsed its commitment with the Agreement which is considered to have great potentials for what is called great political transition towards the transformation of the Colombian society.

For that reason, the decision was announced to initiate the preparations for the transition of its political-military structure towards the change of the Colombian society for its real transformation into a political party, whose foundational congress will take place in May 2017, as agreed.

As for the plebiscite, the Government seems to advance speedily for its implementation securing the triumph of Yes. The efforts in this regard include the publication of the agreement, until the transfer of the needed material for the referendum is complete, which according to reports were sent to different destinations in the last few days.

Steps have also been made for the running of verification mechanisms with the participation of the UN and whose staff has been arriving in Colombia. Its work will be essential in the complex process of demobilization and disarmament.

This September 27 was expected to see the act in which the Commission of Implementation, Follow-up and Verification in the development of the Final Agreement of Peace and Settlement of Differences will be installed, as published in a communiqué issued last September 16, as well as the deployment of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism to take place between October 6 and 10.

For that time will be started the transfer of the insurgence to the 20 Transitory Zones of Normalization and the seven Transitory Points of Normalization, where the guerrillas will hand over the weapons, which should be in the hands of UN in 180 days.

The starting date of all this process was set on Monday, when the official Agreement will be subscribed.

Fiesta for the Yes against the enemies of peace...   

A good example of support to the peace postulates was the gathering of 15 000 people at Bolívar square in Bogotá to celebrate with a concert the signing of the agreement by the leaders of the Government and FARC-EP.

This was really celebrated in the entire Colombia while the ceremony was taking place in Cartagena de Indias, but in the capital there were hundreds or maybe thousands the attendants to the Fiesta for Yes, who were dressed in white with balloons in their hands, which they let fly to heaven, according to reports.

Amid the support the peace Agreement is awaking among the majority of the population weary of the conflict, its enemies tried to be noticed with demonstrations reported by Colombian newspaper El Tiempo on its website, when 2 000 people were said to support right-wing former President Álvaro Uribe, leader of the Central Democratic Party; a man who failed in his attempt to put an end to the conflict via the military crushing of the guerrilla. Maybe the last of the most recent Colombian presidents who did not consider a pacific solution for the conflict.

His followers will vote No next Sunday, but the win is expected for those who alongside the Government and the FARC-EP welcomed the ceremony held this Monday in Cartagena de Indias and claim that the war is over.

Translated by ESTI

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