U.S. and Colombian civil-society organizations release Protect Colombia’s Peace, a joint report calling on the U.S. and Colombian governments to do more to implement the 2016 peace accord and to protect threatened social leaders. “The U.S. government’s diplomatic efforts in Colombia helped pave the way for peace, and this wise investment should not be wasted,” the report advises.
94 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, all Democrats, send a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on the State Department to do more to encourage Colombia to protect social leaders and to “vigorously implement the peace accords.”
The Kroc Institute of Notre Dame University, which the peace accord gives a formal role in verifying compliance with accord commitments, releases its latest report, covering December 2018 to November 2019. Of 578 different commitments laid out in the accord, Kroc finds that the parties have fulfilled 25 percent completely, 15 percent are on pace for completion, and 36 percent have undergone “minimal” compliance, while work has yet to begin on 24 percent of commitments.
“The report emphasizes that implementation in Colombia is at a crucial point, transitioning from a focus on short-term efforts to medium- and long-term priorities, as well as focusing more on the provisions with a territorial focus.”
Legislators from the ruling Centro Democrático party call a hearing on “the FARC’s non-compliance with the accord,” alleging that only 85 percent of FARC members reported in 2017 are continuing in the process,” and that the FARC has yet to turn over the vast majority of its declared assets. FARC legislators respond that the government was slow to secure assets like real estate, much of which may have fallen into the hands of dissident groups.
At that hearing, Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo—a politician who was a leading voice urging a “no” vote in the October 2016 plebiscite on the peace accord—suggests looking into “whether or not it would be appropriate to make some changes” in the accord’s implementation, without affecting its text.
- The Colombian Presidency issues a decree giving the FARC until July 31 to turn over all of its declared assets, as agreed in the peace accord.
- “What the former FARC announced was around a trillion pesos,” says High Commissioner for Stabilization and Consolidation Emilio Archila. “Of those, 500 billion are goods that have never been possible to use for that purpose because it was things like vaccination campaigns and roads. Of the other 500 billion, what has been possible to monetize are a little more than 3 billion.”
- Maximum FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño alias “Timochenko” publishes an open letter alleging that the government is failing to honor its peace accord commitments and that the process is approaching a “precipice.” Demobilized guerrillas, the FARC leader writes, “now find no other solution other than to abandon the ETCR [former demobilization zones] and seek another place to settle and continue their reincorporation process. They are forcibly displaced.… In the Havana peace accords the Colombian state committed itself to provide the reincorporated guerrillas with [security] guarantees. And to social leaders and opposition leaders, all who participate in politics. It’s absolutely clear that none of that has been complied with.”
- On February 3 the government’s high counselor for stabilization and consolidation, Emilio Archila, dismisses the FARC leader’s communication as “a political letter.” Archila says that Londoño “is mistaken surely in good faith, ignorant, but in good faith,” about the Prosecutor’s Office’s alleged failure to prosecute killings of FARC members. He tells reporters, “The FARC director is wrong to believe that he can impose the way in which the accords should be implemented. The Constitutional Court has been clear that the accords should be implemented during three presidential terms… according to each President’s vision.”
- On January 27, Archila had announced a package of ten protection measures for ex-combatants. These include an attention plan for the majority of ex-fighters who no longer live in the ETCR; increased training in self-protection; more resources for the Prosecutor-General’s Office (Fiscalía); and monthly meetings of agencies responsible for protection to review new threats and response measures.
- Interior Minister Nancy Patricia Gutiérrez criticizes the peace process, which she opposed, in a forum hosted by Semana magazine. “There’s pressure for implementation of the accord with the FARC,” she says. “An accord, that I would personally say, is semi-failed, even though the government has respected the accord’s institutionally. But the FARC as such, they didn’t keep their commitments to those who believed in them.”
- President Duque contradicts Minister Gutierrez, assuring that implementation advances “a little more” every day, and that “peace with legality is going well, it is being executed.”
- Stabilization Advisor Emilio Archila says that the government does have concerns about “the pace with which some of the FARC’s obligations are being fulfilled, like information about child combatants and landmines.”
- FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño tells El Tiempo that Gutiérrez’s comments are “unfortunate, very unfortunate. I could practically tell you that she is putting a tombstone over us when she says that we haven’t complied.”
- President Duque meets with UN Verification Mission Head Carlos Ruiz Massieu to go over the Mission’s findings, as documented in the Secretary-General’s latest report to the Security Council. Duque calls on the Mission to extend its mandate to 2022. It is currently set to expire at the end of 2020.
- Ruiz Massieu says that although “very important advances” had been made in the accord’s implementation, it faced “great challenges.”
- A FARC communiqué rejects President Duque’s claims, following his meeting with Ruiz Massieu, that the government has made significant advances in implementing the peace accord. The process “is going through a critical moment,” according to the ex-guerrillas, who called on the UN verification to exercise “greater neutrality.” The FARC called out the government for referring at all moments to its own “peace with legality” policy instead of to the peace accord.