FARC-EP: The Need for Guarantees for the Safety of the Opposition

Cabezote 2016 English

Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, April 2, 2016

With deep concern, the Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP rejects the attempt of aggression against the spokeswoman of the Social and Political Movement Marcha Patriótica and warrior for Peace PIEDAD CÓRDOBA RUIZ, on April 1 in the city of Quibdó, crowning a threatening paramilitary offensive across the country.

(Read: Attack against Piedad Córdoba in Quibdó)

The increase in paramilitary actions against civilians and unarmed political and social leaders overshadows the substantial progress of processes and dialogues with insurgencies as well as the desire for peace by all Colombians.

Amid the absence of effective responses by the National Government, the paramilitary phenomenon – far from being dismantled as required by a peace agreement – is today dominating the country; its activities and victimisations have increased with more than 35% compared to 2015, as reported by human rights organisations. We are attending a re-edition in slow-motion of a genuine political genocide, in which the Colombian State doesn’t even manage to identify and capture those responsible.

We are not facing any confusion. The frightening figures do not allow it. Under the government of President Santos and after three years of peace processes, 1,687 defenders of human rights were threatened, at least 346 were killed and 206 were attacked, 131 were arbitrarily arrested and 16 were disappeared. While the government intends to deny its existence with convoluted euphemisms, paramilitary gangs show significant territorial control in vast rural and urban areas, they govern at ease legal and illegal markets and maintain political spokespersons.

We can’t wait for action any longer. The dream of peace is impossible if these dangerous threats to life and other fundamental rights of Colombians remain. We demand the national government to clarify who are behind this paramilitary apparatus and to take immediate measures to guarantee the exercise of politics without weapons to all of us, to be able to advance firmly towards the necessary national reconciliation.

The Agreement for the Dismantling of Paramilitarism, still being discussed at the Table in Havana, requires to be signed and implemented urgently. Likewise, we call on the international community to contribute effectively to stop the bleeding and the anxiety produced by paramilitarism in the Colombian people and to effectively monitor this phenomenon and the growing complaints in the country.

For Piedad and all compañeros and compañeras victims of paramilitarism, our sincere and firm solidarity. We call not to give up in the common struggle for genuine democratic guarantees and political solution to the conflict, with the assurance that with the support of everyone, against barbarism and death, peace will overcome. We are with you Piedad.