Colombia: The Silence of the Real Enemies of Peace


From the darkest of caves, violent attacks emerge against the possibility of reaching the end of the armed conflict in Colombia, that is, from violence in rural and urban areas, from piles of corpses, from the wounded and mutilated, the murdered by paramilitarism, the dispossessed of their land, the forcibly displaced persons, the prisoners, the disappeared, the exiled and the threatened. It’s incredible, but the shouting of those opposed to peace are deafening.

And they do so appealing to the most far-fetched arguments, coated with an aura of alleged dignity and false patriotism, in order to capture the unwary in pro of their delirious positions. No slander seems to be enough, what this is about is to raise obstacles, to defame, to dress those who dream of a Colombia without political persecution, and those who in one way or another have chosen to build agreements that put an end to such madness, with shame and disgust.

Shamefully, they make sure that their furious attacks don’t seem to be aimed against peace, but rather the opposite. They say that they hoist and act in pro of the banner of peace for Colombia, which – they state – cannot be confused at any time with the peace wanted by the FARC or by that new-found demon called Juan Manuel Santos [President of Colombia]. So they chose a target which in their opinion clears them from any suspicion: they shoot against voting yes in the plebiscite.

When promoting to vote no, they take the consequences of war away from the debate, they make the issue appear as a trap in the procedure of implementation of agreements. They don’t even refer to these [the agreements] anymore, because it is not politically correct to be against the peasants, indigenous, black communities and women having land, credit, technical assistance, road infrastructure, energy, water, communications, education, health and housing.

They don’t even mention them because they know that it is a beloved dream of millions of dispossessed Colombians. They prefer to attack the yes-vote in the plebiscite, without mentioning that the agreements contemplate the expedition of a Statute for the political opposition, the rights to protest, organization and mobilization for those who think differently, a profound reform in the rotten Colombian electoral system and full guarantees for social movements of opposition.

How to tell people to vote against that? How to face a debate about the right of communities to express their opinion regarding territorial development plans for their regions? Will they dare to explain to the until now invisible Colombian population why it is bad to meet and discuss economic and social projects in order to escape their conditions of poverty, abandonment and misery?

It’s a risk that they don’t want to be exposed to. It is easier to just magically fade away the democratic and progressive potential contained in the agreements, to talk about the most absurd nightmares that voting yes in the plebiscite would represent. That the FARC would get the opportunity to talk about 21st-century socialism, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the benefits of Castro-Chavism, and that those things should be avoided at all cost.

They don’t tell the peasants who have been condemned to poverty and State neglect, that a general agreement for joint eradication of illicit crops has been reached, that in addition to the benefits expressed in the point on land titles and others, substitution and development plans are guaranteed, which will contribute to raising living standards and to end the military treatment that for decades has been given to such a serious social problem.

How can they tell people to vote against that? To vote against the freedom of so many women and gullible people who due to their necessities ended up as blind drug couriers for the drug cartels? How to convince the large number of social and political leaders imprisoned due to the criminalization of protest that it’s absolutely inconvenient for them to regain their freedom? Would they vote no if they or their families were to know that that’s what the agreements say?

Its best to appeal to the dirtiest distraction, to poison the people with the story that voting yes is to establish communism in Colombia, to leave it without police and military security, to give carte blanche to the guerrilla militias in the cities, to invade the country with Cuban troops, to hand over the indigenous reserves and strategic resources to the terrorists. How to tell them that if the agreements are implemented, there will be truth commissions that will investigate the worst crimes committed during the war?

How to tell people that if the agreements are applied, there will be courts with exceptional powers investigating and punishing atrocities and war crimes committed by either party in the development of the conflict? That it’s finally very likely for all the sponsors of violence and terror that has plagued Colombia for decades to be called to respond for their actions? Are they willing to tell that to the people? Or does that rather frighten them?

They don’t do it, because what they’re actually interested in, is in their own personal tranquility, to continue to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth, to continue to buy elections and to devour the public budget with their patronage networks of corruption. They don’t want the peace agreements to be enforced, because the political opposition and minorities would have access to the media, there is the risk that too many truths would come to light.

They manipulate the opinion saying that with the agreements, Timoshenko and his combatants would resolve their legal problems, jump to politics and ensure their fortunes. So they request to vote no, because the guerrillas lie, because they haven’t signed the agreements, because it postpones the decommissioning of the weapons until these are enforced, because it hasn’t given the list of its members, because they haven’t locked themselves into the cells where they should be imprisoned for years. “Here comes the wolf!” they shrewdly cry.

The problem of Colombia is not the plebiscite, of which the content of the judgment made by the Constitutional Court is not even known completely. The problem of Colombia is that there is a caste entrenched in power, linked to the dirtiest business and the most blatant corruption, with dire networks in all institutions, used to solve all problems through violence, war and crime. And which enriches itself every day with it.

A caste that by daring to call Juan Manuel Santos and his government a communist and servant of the FARC, have shown no compunction about doing whatever it pleases with the millions of nonconformists in Colombia. It happens to be that with the agreements reached in Havana, the opportunity to end these putrid practices is foreseen for the first time in decades, so those who live and feed off of it are horrified. So they’ve come out to lie and scandalize. These are the ones we should say no to.