FARC Agreement: Timochenko’s Words – Joint Communique #76

Let this be the last day of the war

Someone once said that the only dreams that become reality are those we pursue. Today more than ever we feel that this statement contains an indisputable truth. In 1964, in the heat of the unequal armed struggle, the assembly of the guerrillas of Marquetalia produced its Agrarian Program. In its introduction, we stated this declaration we now remember:

“We are revolutionaries who fight for a regime change. But we wanted and fought for this change using the least painful way for our people: the peaceful way, the democratic and mass way. That route was closed to us violently with the official fascist pretext of fighting alleged “Independent Republics” and as we are revolutionaries who in one way or another will play the historical role that correspond to us, we had to look to the other way: the revolutionary armed way of struggle for power.”

timo-words-inside-2.jpgToday, 52 years later, the guerrillas of the FARC-EP are sealing with the government of Juan Manuel Santos an Agreement on a Bilateral and Final Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities, an agreement on security guarantees and fight of paramilitarism and another one on decomissioning of weapons, that leave us at the gates of concreting, in a relatively short time, the Final Agreement, which will allow us to finally return to the legal political exercise through peaceful and democratic means.

To propose this before Operation Marquetalia was absurd for the powers and ruling parties at the time; they decided to resort to force and extermination, animated by the conviction that through bombs and guns they could quell the popular clamor. Those were also the heyday of the Cold War and the philosophy of the enemy within, that turned to the police in an occupation army of their own country and their own people.

The dead, blood, devastation and horror that could have been spared to Colombia, if instead of attending the fanatic voices of those who called irresponsibly to war, appealing to the most absurd arguments, those who called for dialogue had been listened to, those calling for a solution proposing agreements on economic and social state presence, while democratizing the political scenario in an environment of tolerance and respect for differences.

The forty-eight marquetalia peasants, through decades, became thousands of women and men in arms who managed to put the Colombian state in serious troubles, but simultaneously never stopped talking about a peace agreement by way of civilized conversations. And several were the attempts painfully frustrated. But they kept trying again and again, and today we see the fruits of their persistence.

Because if something is confirmed by the Presidents of the accompanying and guarantors countries present here today, together with all the high international personalities involved in the ongoing peace process who joined us here, what is about to be sealed is not a capitulation of the insurgency, as some narrow-minded persons wanted, but the product of a serious dialogue between two forces that  clashed for over half a century, none of which could defeat the other.

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Neither the FARC nor the State are defeated forces and therefore the agreement cannot be interpreted by anyone as the product of any imposition of one party to the other. We have discussed at length, sometimes arriving to alleys that seemed to have no end, which could only be overcome thanks to the generous and effective intervention of the guarantor countries, Cuba and Norway, and to the timely and wise formulas suggested by the creativity of the spokesmen of both parties or their diligent advisers.

Those who insist on denying the vital importance of the agreement do immense damage to Colombia, to the life and the hope of its people. An agreement which only for its content identifies the parties at the Negotiation Table, without having merged or surrendered one to the other. We are confident that the Colombian nation, which has suffered the war and its consequences, will turn their back to those who insist in inviting it to the holocaust, who knows with what dark purpose.

We are very close to signing the Final Agreement that will end the conflict and begin the building of a stable and lasting peace. From the outset, we held that the signing of this agreement is the best chance our country will have to set on the road toward social justice and progress, on the basis that the floodgates of true democracy will be opened, so that the social and political opposition movements will enjoy full guarantees.

And for the voice of communities at local, regional and national steps to acquire all its importance and to play a role in public decisions regarding their future. We are certain that this will be a reality that will break through, ending the tradition imposed from above, while ignoring the people’s interests, policies that elected leaders with dubious ballots considered more convenient for them.

There are sealed agreements on this matter and we are close to the definition of some outstanding points. As well as with respect to Comprehensive Rural Reform and illicit crops. On the latter, there has been newly implemented a pilot project of crop substitution in Briceño, Antioquia, which necessarily must be replicated in other areas that suffer this problem. It will not be all rosy, and surely we will have to fight for the agreed to be fully implemented.

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Because as in the title of one of the novels by Colombian writer Alvaro Salom Becerra, it’s never for the benefit of the people. The Final Agreement will be the key to turn the lock, but it will require constant organizing and mobilizing of the people for its implementation. The official insistence on ZIDRES despite the agreement in Havana is proof of this, as well as the recent Police Code, which clashes with the political participation agreement signed at the negotiation Table.

The agreement on security guarantees and fighting paramilitarism must become a reality shown by facts, in order to not drive the final result of the historical process to failure. It hurts deeply and it is intolerable that at this point such structures continue assassinating freely, as happened between the 11th and 13th of this month in Barrancabermeja with four young people, that the ESMAD continue mashing Colombians who take to the streets to protest with justice and that the abusive judiciary continues to order illegal detentions as in the case of Carlos Arturo Velandia.

We have also reached an agreement on Decomissioning of Weapons, which highlights the sum of inventions with which the people of our country are tried to be deceived, when saying that after the agreements, the FARC intends to continue armed and doing politics. The country will be able to learn this from today. Of course the FARC will do politics, that is our reason for being, but with legal and peaceful means, with the same rights and guarantees of the other parties.

The Colombian State will have to enforce that no Colombian will be persecuted because of his/her ideas or political practices, the perverse habit of including in the order of battle of the armed forces the names of the leaders of social movements and political opposition will have to disappear permanently in our nation. Once signed the final agreement, the military war apparatus and the antiquated security doctrine will disappear.

The Colombian armed forces, grown massively in the course of the war, skilled in counterinsurgency and special actions, are called forward to play an important role in the interest of peace, reconciliation and development. They were our opponents, but from now on we have to be allied forces for the good of Colombia. Its infrastructure and resources can be of service to the communities and their needs, without detracting from their ability to fulfill the constitutional role of garrisoning the borders.

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Moreover, the role of communities must also represent an opportunity to start solving the serious conflict that exists in the cities. Unemployment, insecurity, lack of public services, slaveries such as daily paid and sexual exploitation, micro-trafficking, crime and gangs associated with the mafia and paramilitary groups, require immediate attention. Rural peace should mean a participatory transformation of cities.

We need that in our country is effectively produced a final reconciliation. Enough of violence and raves for it. It requires a patient and intense outreach, education and awareness of what has been agreed in Havana, for the people of Colombia to be aware of its valuable and positive content. And so they know that they can and should claim the state. To join and organize for it. Only then we will build a New Colombia.

The FARC-EP completed last 27 May, 52 years of guerrilla resistance and today we see the dream of peace much closer than ever. We work for the unity of the democratic and popular movement in our country, without sectarianism and hegemonic positions, seeking the confluence of all the dissatisfaction with the current pattern of things, in order to generate profound changes in Colombian life, thinking always in the interest of the majority.

War has cost hundreds of billions of dollars to our country. In fact the exaggerated military budget has had a permanent justification in the existence of the armed conflict. A country at peace no longer requires such arguments and may spend a good portion of those resources to healthier and more productive pursuits. It is not true that there is no money for peace, nor that everything has to be international aid. Simply we have to change priorities.

We know that nothing will be achieved easily or quickly. We understand that the main beneficiaries of our efforts will be future generations. So we extend our hand to the youth. They are the ones called to build the new country and therefore called to the defense of peace and reconciliation, to promote a new type of political activity, the consolidation of civility and wider democracy.

The FARC has always been optimistic. Even in the most difficult moments we always believed that peace was possible. And we decided to try it as many times as necessary. And we were right. The Agreement on a Bilateral and Final Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities is read by everyone as the end of the armed conflict in Colombia. So be it. We are confident we will be holding, within a reasonable time, another ceremony, the signing of the Final Agreement. Let this be the last day of the war.

FARC-EP

Joint Communique #76

(This is joint Communiqué 76, a summary of the agreement signed on the 23rd of June 2016 in Havana, Cuba. Soon, the full agreements will be published on this website.)

The delegations of the National Government and the FARC-EP want to announce that we have reached agreement on the following points:

1. Agreement on ”Bilateral and Final Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and Decommissioning of Weapons”

2. Agreement on “Security guarantees and fight against criminal organizations responsible for homicides and massacres or that attempt against human rights defenders, social movements or political movements, including the criminal organizations that have been labelled successors of paramilitary groups and their support networks, and the prosecution of criminal conducts that threaten the implementation of the agreements and the construction of peace”

3. Agreement on ”countersignature”

I. Agreement on Bilateral and Final Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and Decommissioning of Weapons

1. Commitments

The National Government and the FARC-EP express their commitment to contribute to the emergence of a new culture that proscribes the use of weapons in the exercise of politics and work together to achieve a national consensus in which all political, economic and social sectors engage in an exercise of politics in which the values of democracy, the free interchange of ideas and civilized debate prevail; in which there is no room for intolerance and persecution for political reasons. This commitment is part of the guarantees of non-repetition of the events that contributed to the armed conflict between Colombians for political reasons.

Finally, the National Government and the FARC-EP are committed to compliance with the agreed here in matters of a Bilateral and Final Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and Decommissioning of Weapons, for which they will develop a roadmap containing mutual commitments so that within 180 days after the signing of the Final Agreement, the process of decommissioning of weapons has completed.

2. Objective

This Agreement on Bilateral and Final Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and Decommissioning of Weapons seeks a definitive termination of offensive actions between the Public Force and the FARC-EP, and in general of hostilities and any action provided for in the Rules that Govern the CFHBD, including the affectations of the population, and thus create conditions for the start of the implementation of the Final Agreement and the Decommissioning of Weapons and prepare the institutions and the country for the Reincorporation of the FARC-EP into civil life.

3. Monitoring and Verification

We agreed to create a mechanism for monitoring and verification which will be a tripartite mechanism, comprising representatives of the National Government (Armed Forces), of the FARC-EP, and an international component consisting of a political mission with unarmed UN observers, mainly composed by observers from member countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

The International Component chairs all the instances of MM&V and is in charge of settling controversies, present recommendations and write reports.

Regarding the Decommissioning of Weapons, the International Component will verify it under the terms and with due guarantees outlined in the protocols of the Agreement.

4. Positioning of the Units on the Ground

Starting from day D+1, the Public Force will reorganize the location of the troops to facilitate the displacement of the structures from the FARC-EP to these Areas and for the compliance of the Agreement on Ceasefire and Decommissioning of Weapons.

On its behalf, starting from day D+5, the different missions, commissions and Tactical Combat Units (TCU) of the fronts of the FARC-EP will displace towards to those previously agreed Areas, following the routes of displacement established by mutual agreement between the National Government and the FARC-EP.

5. Transitory Areas of Normalization (hereinafter “Areas”).

The National Government and the FARC-EP agreed to establish 23 Transitory Areas of Normalisation and 8 camps.

The Transitory Areas of Normalisation are intended to ensure the Bilateral and Final Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and Decommissioning of Weapons and to start the process of preparation for the Reincorporation into civilian life of the structures of the FARC-EP in economic, political and social aspects, according to their interests.

These Areas are territorial, temporal and transitory. Each Area will feature Local Monitoring Teams. They will be easily accessible by road or river; its limits correspond to those of the village in which they are located; they may be extended or reduced by mutual agreement depending on the size of the village, they will have a reasonable extension that allows monitoring and verification and compliance with the objectives of the Areas, setting as a reference geographical features or characteristics of the terrain.

The combatants of the FARC-EP will only leave the camps unarmed and in civilian clothes.

The National Government and the FARC-EP undertake to implement this Agreement without any limitation on the normal functioning of the civil unarmed authorities, of the development of the economic, political and social activities in the regions, of the life of the communities, of the exercise of their rights; as well as of the community, social and political organizations that have a presence in the territories.

(Unarmed) civil authorities who have a presence in the Areas remain and continue functioning there, without undermining the agreed in the Bilateral and Final Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities. Areas can not be used for political demonstrations.

The members of the FARC-EP who, under the amnesty law have been benefited with their release, and wish to do so, may integrate these areas to continue the process of reincorporation into civilian life. To this end, within the Areas there will be organised places where they can stay, outside the camps.

During the term of the Agreement on CFHBD and DW, the FARC-EP will designate a group of 60 of its members (men and women) who may travel at the national level in compliance with tasks related to the Peace Agreement.

Likewise, for each Area, the FARC-EP will designate a group of 10 of its members who may travel at the municipal and departmental levels in compliance with tasks related to the Peace Agreement. For these displacements, the members of the FARC-EP will have security measures agreed with the National Government.

There will be no civilians allowed to be in or enter the camps.

During the term of the Areas, civilians are not allowed to carry and possess any weapons within these Areas.

In case there’s some fact or circumstance that requires the presence of the National Police or any other armed state authority within the areas, this will be informed to the Mechanism for Monitoring and Verification, to coordinate the entry in accordance with the protocols agreed by the National government and the FARC-EP.

The location of the camps within the Areas will be in such a way that the Mechanism for Monitoring and Verification will be able to exercise its functions.

Developing the process of preparation for reincorporation into civilian life of its combatants, the FARC-EP, in coordination with the National Government, will be able to carry out within the Areas all kinds of training for members of the FARC-EP in productive labours, leveling in primary, secondary or technical basic education, according to their own interests, activities in order to obtain identity cards and other activities to prepare the reincorporation and other activities necessary to facilitate the transition to the legality of the FARC-EP.

6. Security Zone

Around each area, a security zone will be established, where there won’t be any units of the security forces nor troops of the FARC-EP, with the exception of the monitoring and verification teams accompanied by police security when circumstances require so. The width of the Safety Zone will be 1 kilometer around each area.

7. Security

The National Government and the FARC-EP will define some security protocols together, which will allow, in a comprehensive manner, to minimize potential threats that may affect or violate persons and property committed in the Bilateral and Final Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and Decommissioning of Weapons.

The implemented security conditions will ensure the protection of the monitoring and verification team, members of the FARC-EP, delegates of the National Government, the Public Force and others involved in the process. Likewise, for the coordination of movements and units on the ground.

The National Government through the Public Force will continue to ensure the conditions of coexistence and security of the civilian population during this process.

8. Decommissioning of Weapons (DW).

this is a technical, traceable and verifiable procedure, through which the UN will receive all the weaponry of the FARC-EP to be destined to the construction of 3 monuments, agreed between the National Government and the FARC-EP.

The Decommissioning of Weapons by the FARC-EP will be developed in two stages, called Control of Weapons and Decommissioning of weapons, comprising the following technical procedures: registration, identification, monitoring and verification of tenure, collection, storage, removal and final destiny.

9. Procedure

With the signing of the Final Agreement begins the process of Decommissioning of Weapons of the FARC-EP, including the transport of weapons to the areas, the destruction of unstable weapons, and the collection and storage in containers of individual weapons sequentially and in three phases as follows: Phase 1: D+90, 30%; Phase 2: D+120, 30%; and 3 Phase: D+150, remaining 40%, according to the roadmap (schedule of events) agreed by the National Government and the FARC-EP that guides the process of End of Conflict after the signing of the Final Agreement.

The FARC-EP contributes by various means, including provision of information, with cleaning and decontamination of the areas affected by landmines (MAP), improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnance (UXO) and explosive remnants of war (REG) in general, taking into account the agreed in points 4 and 5 and what will be agreed on the point of Reincorporation into civil life, regarding the participation of the FARC-EP in mine-clearing actions.

To ensure effective control of the weapons in each Area, a single point of storage shall be determined, in one of the camps, where the containers will be located under the permanent monitoring and verification of the International Component of the Mechanism of Monitoring and Verification, according to the protocols concluded between the National Government and the FARC-EP.

Received weapons on D+150, at the latest on D+180, the extraction of weapons by the United Nations will end, in accordance with the procedures agreed for this matter and it will certify compliance with this process, informing so to the National government and public opinion.

On D-Day+180, the operation of these Areas and the Bilateral and Final Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities will be ended.

The Mechanism of Monitoring and Verification shall certify each stage of the process of Decommissioning of weapons described above.

Finally, on the basis of the agreement we announced today and in the framework of Resolution 2261, the National Government and the FARC-EP request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to put into operation all the necessary preparations for the deployment of the Special Political Mission, so that it can advance in the implementation of this agreement.

II. Agreement on “Security guarantees and fight against criminal organizations responsible for homicides and massacres or that attempt against human rights defenders, social movements or political movements, including the criminal organizations that have been labelled successors of paramilitary groups and their support networks, and the prosecution of criminal conducts that threaten the implementation of the agreements and the construction of peace”

This agreement is intended to provide protection and security to all inhabitants of the national territory; measures to protect communities, social and human rights movements and organizations in the territories; guarantees for political movements and parties to do politics, especially those engaged in opposition, the political movement arising from the transit of the FARC-EP to legal political activity and members of the FARC-EP in process of reincorporation into civil life.

It further contemplates the implementation of the necessary measures to intensify effectively and comprehensively actions against organizations and criminal conducts under this agreement that threaten the peace-building measures. The agreement also includes measures to clarify the phenomenon of paramilitarism, complementing the already agreed in point 5.

The agreement on security guarantees is based on the following principles:

1. Respect, guarantee, protection and promotion of human rights.

2. Ensure the legitimate monopoly of force and the use of weapons by the State throughout the territory

3. Strengthening the administration of justice

4. Ensure the monopoly of taxes by the Treasury

5. Territorial and differential approach

6. Gender approach

7. Coordination and institutional co-responsibility

8. Citizen Participation

9. Accountability

10. Guarantees of Non Repetition

To meet these objectives, the National Government and the FARC-EP undertake:

· The National Government will ensure the implementation of the necessary measures to effectively strengthen actions against criminal organizations and conducts under this agreement that threaten peace-building. It also will ensure the protection of communities in the territories, make sure that any link between politics and use of arms is broken, and that the principles governing democratic society are followed.

· The FARC-EP in turn undertakes to contribute effectively to the construction and consolidation of peace, in everything that is within their capacities, to promote the contents of the agreements and the respect for fundamental rights.

The measures for security and protection provided for in the agreement have been built on five main pillars with a dimensional approach:

1. A National Political Pact and from the regions with the political parties and movements, business associations, organized society and, in general, the living forces of the nation, to never use weapons in politics or promote violent organizations like paramilitarism again. This pact will seek national reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.

2. A National Security Guarantees Commission that will be chaired by the President of the Republic and will aim to design and monitor public and criminal policy regarding the dismantling of any organization or conduct referred to in this agreement. The Commission also will harmonize these policies to ensure their implementation.

3. A Special Investigation Unit within the Attorney General’s Office for the dismantling of criminal organizations and their support networks, which have been labelled successors of paramilitarism, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 74 of the agreement on a Special Jurisdiction for Peace. This Unit will have a special unit of the judicial police with experts in various fields.

4. In development of the agreed in point 2 “Political Participation”, the creation of the Comprehensive Security System for the Exercise of Politics, which will develop a guarantee model of citizens’ rights and protection for political parties and movements, including the movement or political party arising from the transit of the FARC-EP to civil life, social organizations, human rights organisations and the communities in the territories. The system includes the creation in the National Protection Unit of a mixed body of protection for members of the FARC-EP in the process of reintegration into civil life.

5. A Comprehensive Security and Protection Program for communities and organizations in the territories, that will seek the definition and adoption of comprehensive protection measures for organizations, groups and communities in the territories.

The agreement also includes the following additional measures:

· The design and implementation of a policy of submission to justice for organizations under this agreement.

· The activation of an elite corps of the National Police as a tool to dismantle the criminal organizations under this agreement.

· Instrument for the prevention and monitoring of criminal organizations: this is a system of anticipation and prevention for quick reaction, aimed at ensuring better identification of threats in the territories and an action with a higher impact of the Public Force to contain these threats.

· Measures to prevent and fight against corruption: aimed at strengthening institutional transparency.

III. Agreement on “countersignature”

The government of Colombia and the FARC-EP, to settle differences emerged to date on the aforementioned subject, today, developing the agenda of the General Agreement for the End of the Conflict, have agreed to accept, as a formula of convergence, the decision that will be taken by the Constitutional Court on the scope of Statutory Bill No. 156 of 2015 House, Senate, 94 of 2015, in the spirit so far announced and to that extent we accept the mechanism of popular participation indicated by the Court and in the terms set by the high court.

FARC-EP