On August 29, Colombians awoke to find a video of alias ‘Iván Márquez’, former peace negotiator in Havana, alongside two other commanders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revoluciónarias de Colombia, FARC) announcing their return to arms.
The hard-hitting yet unsurprising news reverberated across the country in the form of statements and interviews from government official, politicians, academics, and civil society actors. The ‘Defend the Peace’ Movement (Defendamos la Paz, DLP) released the most encompassing statement categorically rejecting this new call to arms and confirming their perseverant commitment to the full implementation of the peace accords.
The statement firmly rejects the dissident group’s action to abandon the peace accords, as well as any justification to a return to violence. DLP emphasizes that this in no way should overshadow the historic accomplishments of the peace accord or those who remain committed to it, like the 10,000 demobilized combatants who “require complete support and backing from the State.” To the political factions that oppose peace, DLP assures them Colombia has changed and they will not succeed in baiting them into war.
Read the full statement translated below:
The Peace Process Continues
Statement from Defend the Peace
In the face of the announcement made today by Iván Márquez, former negotiator of the Havana Accords, the Defend the Peace movement voices its position:
1. We reject the failure to comply with the Final Accords by Ivan Marquez and those who have abandoned the process. Our decision is and will continue to be the protection of peace. No justification, no excuse, no argument can be considered valid towards the creation of groups that use armed violence and want to a return us to war.
2. What has been accomplished through so much effort and sacrifice deepens our commitment with every passing day. The feats achieved after the signing of the Final Agreement have been historic and should not be denied or minimized, as the opposition to this process has wanted to do. These advancements are undisputable in the accomplishments of implementation, as much as in the humanitarian and democratic effects of the process. The more than 10,000 people that have laid down their weapons, formed a new political party, and undergone numerous processes of social and economic reintegration are part of an undeniable reality. Those complying with the accords require complete support and backing from the State.
3. This difficult time is being used by political figures interested in doing away with Peace and sending us back to the past in order to justify their political narrative of war. To them, we say that this country has changed and that the voices clamoring for peace grow louder and more numerous every day. Which is why we will continue in our determination to defend the implementation of the accord.
4. We call upon the country and the government to persevere earnestly in the development of the peace process. To reaffirm, today more than ever, the necessity to implement the Final Agreement comprehensively. To build territorial peace in the areas of the country where the absence of the Final Agreement and its social components, like the persistent absence of integral State institutions, increase the chance of violence returning.
Bogotá D.C., August 29, 2019.
Read the original Spanish statement here.