Colombia's delayed yes to peace
In Colombia, it is said -and reality reaffirms it- that what is important takes forever, including the Peace Agreement of a war that was born with the Republic, more t
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In Colombia, it is said -and reality reaffirms it- that what is important takes forever, including the Peace Agreement of a war that was born with the Republic, more than 200 years ago.
The product of a praised betrayal by President Juan Manuel Santos to his mentor, former President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, the Peace Agreement signed on September 26, 2016 demobilized and socially reintegrated 13,000 guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
While 50 million Colombians dreamed of a promising future in calm, Uribe and his far-right party, the then-majority Democratic Center (CD), gritted their teeth and vowed total annihilation of what had been agreed.
In an excess of legalism, Santos submitted the Agreement to a plebiscite in which a Yes or No vote would be cast, depending on whether the agreement was supported or denied.
The war of the CD, supported by Protestants and allied parties, was terrible, so much so, that absurd speeches were spread, such as the one that, in the agreement, some clause claiming gender equity, actually intended to promote child homosexuality.
The result was astonishing: 50.2 percent of Colombians voted No to peace.
European and American countries, guarantors of the negotiation process, felt relief when the guerrillas said that, although the people had voted against the validation of the process, they, loyal, would respect the whole Agreement.
In August 2018, another putative son of Uribe, the ignorant, inexperienced, incapable, fickle, submissive and clueless Iván Duque, assumed the Presidency, and, incidentally, the partisan commitment to annihilate - shatter, was the slogan - the Agreement.
And during the four years of his government, which ends on August 7, Duque and the CD laid all kinds of traps, in order to ensure that not even the memory of the pact would remain. Only the pressure of the guarantor countries, and to some extent of the United States, prevented it from dying moldy in the last drawer of the presidential desk.
Four years later, a new electoral campaign began. The CD repeated tactics that had worked before. And on May 29, when Uribe thought he had a trump card with Fico, as some disparagingly, and others affectionately, call the former mayor of Medellin Federico Gutierrez, he was left without an option. Another ex-mayor, the almost octogenarian Rodolfo Hernandez, with a foul language and no idea of governing, a right-winger and an exacerbated populist, defeated him and entered to dispute, in the second round, the Presidency, with the veteran Gustavo Petro, ex-urban guerrilla and ex-mayor of Bogota.
On June 19, Petro won with 11.2 million votes, 700,000 more than Hernandez, with whom he had only one programmatic point of coincidence: to give a free hand to the Peace Agreement with the FARC.
In his triumphal speech, Petro emphasized the fulfillment of the pact, which includes the recovery and return to their owners of large tracts of land taken from peasants and settlers by paramilitary armies linked to politicians mostly from the CD and usufructuaries, by themselves or through front men, of the benefits generated by those stolen lands.
Thus, five years later, a pact reached after decades of war and thousands and thousands of victims, was finally able to find, on the part of the State, the fulfillment of the commitments that the government made an effort to deny.
Five years for peace are, really, five eternities.