|The President uses in a thousand ways the banner of a civilized solution to the armed conflict. He is eager to figure in history as the man who made peace. He even attacks the declared defenders of a military solution. He agreed an Agenda with the insurgency as a starting point for definitive conversations. He boasts about the progress that has been made and he talks about perseverance. He even promotes the post conflict in other countries.
However, his attitude and his deeds are much more revealing than his words. He seems to be obsessed by one idea, to make the insurgency surrender, and force it to disarm, demobilize and surrender its weapons. For him, this is the only result that will be able to lead us to peace. This way, the Conversation Table represents, for the national government, the scenario that will facilitate an organized way of admitting the FARC-EP’s defeat.
They don’t express it openly, but at this stage it is impossible to hide. Time reveals what is hidden underwater. Just examine the behavior and words of both President Santos and Mr. De La Calle, regarding the two most recent cases of the FARC-EP actions in Arauca with the two soldiers and in Chocó with the General, to dispel any doubt.
The President always repeated the Israeli slogan ‘talk as if there were no war and make war as if there were no dialogues’. Negotiate in the midst of the conflict has been his permanent position from the first approaches on. His ‘rules of the game’ were that nothing happened in the battlefields should affect the course of the talks. He even imposed that the talks in Havana would be uninterrupted.
This way, the possibilities of freezing or suspending the talks were excluded from the start in the General Agreement. This didn’t exclude his right to order the military high command, at least once or twice a week in his speeches, to intensify military operations against the FARC with all their strength and power. The President has never ceased to proclaim himself as our first enemy, the one that has most hit us, who has managed to kill fifty comandantes of all kinds.
So there was nothing he could say about the FARC military action against units of the National Army who were exercising their war activities in their areas of operations. But he decided to do so, ordering the suspension of the process and flagrantly violating not only their own rules, but also the terms of the General Agreement. The war is applauded if it is waged by the state, but it is reprehensible when performed by the adversary. A one-sided law.
Put the fast release of the POWs as a condition for re-starting a process that has been suspended arbitrarily, is like kidnapping the peace process. And what he replies to his critics, who highlight the importance of agreeing a bilateral cease-fire to avoid this kind of things, shows that the peace process is nothing more than a mere instrument for a final war strategy.
To the FARC’s positive response, which undoubtedly marks a milestone in our conduct in such situations, the national government replies with absolute irrationality. Our spokespeople in Havana met with envoys of Santos and the guarantor countries, in a gesture that few people appreciate if you consider the unilateral suspension of the talks by the government, and the procedures and protocols for the releases were established quickly.
But, at the same time, the government has ordered an unprecedented military operation that doesn’t even stop to materialize the agreement between the two parties. The militarization of the Atrato area, the overflights, the bombing and the strafing intensify. They insist on a rescue by force, perhaps precipitating a disaster that no one would want to happen. The regime is showing its real face. We shouldn’t fool ourselves, Santos hasn’t changed his mind.
As happens with the Table and the Process, Santos agrees with the protocols, but insists on seizing the prisoners by force, objectively hindering the fulfillment of the protocols. Again, he violates the agreements. The reality didn’t obey the rules of the game defended by the government. The President, with this suspension, knocked the board where we were playing the game and destroyed confidence. Things won’t be resumed just like that; we will have to make several considerations.
How difficult, how complicated it is to convince the Colombian State, its government, the ruling classes, that the half-century conflict that we seek to end with this process has some causes that originated and sustain it. And among these causes, ignoring a little bit the inequality and rampant injustice in the country, the most notable is political intolerance, the persecution against those who pose alternatives to the current regime.
The official violence, by military, police or paramilitary means, is at the base of our armed uprising. We are convinced that this war would never have been produced if crime and prosecution had not been systematically carried out against representatives of the opposition to the oligarchic regime. The state’s attempt to eliminate disconformity has been so intense and so systematic that it became legitimate to appeal to the arms to do politics.
This is what the FARC focusses on in this peace process. Let’s dismantle all forms of political violence in our country; by the state and the insurgency.
Let’s recognize all responsibilities before the world, the nation and the victims. Let’s do everything possible to compensate the latter. Let’s definitely open the doors to the exercise of political opposition for everybody, with full guarantees, excluding none, in a peaceful and legal way.
Even today, they insist again on gestures of peace, on forceful gestures that show our desire for reconciliation. As if it didn’t mean anything to receive the envoy of the President after he had publicly insulted us and suspended the peace process in open violation of the agreement. As if it didn’t mean anything to have continued the talks even though the President ordered the murder of our Comandante Alfonso Cano.
Gestures of peace. What is becoming unsustainable, is that the President continues talking about killing and killing, while he acts with hysteria when we respond with dignity. Be serious, Santos.
Comandante Timoleón Jiménez is the head of the National Secretariat of the FARC-EP and its Central High Command.