The first thing to consider when one sees such stubborn attitudes is the ideal scenario in which they are born, which openly opposes the real scenario in which the dialogues are developed and agreements are pacted. In the minds of many of our critics inhabits the idea that a peace process can only take place if the insurgency is going to achieve at the process all the things it fought for with weapons for years.
Yes, the idea of a political solution, of a peaceful and civilized conflict resolution is supported, but contemplated as a banner, as kind of a slogan to shout, to argue that the responsibility for the war rests on the shoulders of the violent ruling class that refuses to talk about peace. As if it were a tactic, political solution should be a kind of ingenious argument for political gain.
With that in mind, whenever the ruling classes, specifically Belisario Betancur, César Gaviria, Andres Pastrana and now Juan Manuel Santos, expressed the possibility of establishing peace talks, the same political sectors as the ones we're referring to now, immediately began looking for reasons to argue that peace talks should not be held. It was a trap, the terrorist oligarchy doesn’t want peace, the only thing worth doing towards it is to defeat it with the use of weapons.
For over thirty years of failed peace processes, we, the FARC, have heard and lived those criticisms from other left wing political sectors. In the eighties, other guerrilla organizations accused Manuel Marulanda and Jacobo Arenas [FARC-EP founders] of having betrayed their ideals for reaching the agreements of La Uribe. In them, even the word demobilization was used, something unprecedented. A fraction of the FARC, led by Javier Delgado and characterized by its advanced degree of decomposition, decided to lead the judgment.
And surprisingly enough, other guerrilla organizations different from the FARC joined Delgado in the so-called National Guerrilla Coordinator. With a discourse in which the FARC guerrillas were labeled as reformists and electoral seeking organization, tired of armed struggle. One doesn’t know if what is happening right now is the repetition of history as tragedy, but the small group of the First Front, also decomposed, became the hero of the day for some sectors.
The statement made by the false First Front of the FARC, not only was spread by the big reactionary press that has always been pro war, but also published on various websites from left wing sectors as if it was the most advanced revolutionary call. The latter completely ignore the statement of the Block Comandante Jorge Briceño of the FARC-EP, which specifies whom and what interests are behind that farce. Again, other guerrilla organizations distribute the statement with jubilation in their territories.
These are sectors that even though they say they do, they really have never truly believed in the possibility of reaching a political solution and therefore rejoice finding some way to run across its realization. It is the same sectors that are now against the agreements signed in Havana, because in them, the revolutionary victory is not signed, not even the co-government of the country at the least, but the sad surrender of some guerrillas in exchange for a pittance.
That's how things look now, but despite the anger felt by these sectors, it must be said that political solution itself is a banner of strategic importance for an armed revolutionary movement such as the FARC. For us, that has never been in doubt and that is why we have stated it since our beginnings. A pact to end the conflict, the violence of the ruling classes against the masses. That alone is an achievement of historic proportions.
A solemn pact, ratified worldwide, in which the Colombian government is committed to opening the doors to full democratic participation of political and social movements of opposition, and to fully guarantee that participation. This is the conquest of the people to their right of independent political action. Countless decades of war were needed -with all its misfortunes- to achieve this conquest. Whoever does not see its importance is naive.
A revolution is much more satisfactory, the seizure of power by a popular uprising led by a guerrilla leaders, who would deny it. But the question to be asked at this point and time, is if the material conditions for a triumphant uprising to occur exists. No one here is giving up on revolution, but rather putting our feet on the ground, in the sense that without organized people, a revolution is impossible.
It has been impossible, and 52 continuous years of war have shown it, to reach the necessary levels of organization and the popular uprising by means of armed struggle. Despite all the heroism that can be attributed, war is an open bleeding wound for an indefinite period of time, and it represents enormous costs and severe suffering to the Colombian people. If it can be ended while enhancing the struggle of the impoverished majority, then we welcome the peace agreements.
The agreed on the matter of justice is simple. There will be amnesty and pardon for all political crimes and the related offences, including within the latter all those designed to finance the armed struggle. For crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by either party in war, justice will be applied by a special court, which will be sanctioned according to the degree of truth that the accused contribute to the process.
If the court sanctions that there was a committed crime and that the defendant declared with complete truth -which also means an important form of reparation towards the victims and who also have the right to intervene in the process- sanctions of an alternative nature, other than deprivation of liberty, will be applied. If it sanctions that truth was declared, but not upfront, rather down in the process, the sentence is five to eight years in prison, and if it sanctions that no truth was declared, the penalty is up to twenty years in prison.
This is where many of the critics against the agreement tear their hair out. The FARC argue that we have never committed crimes against humanity or war crimes. But if any of our units, for some reason, appeared involved in them, we have no alternative but to recognize it, providing all the necessary elements of truth. And these include the context of the war, the cruel dynamics of its nature, and its actual conditions.
We are revolutionaries and we do not fear the full truth. That fact apparently frightens a number of sectors that criticize us and who accuse us of having agreed to recognize all of our crimes and submit ourselves to State judges and their revenge. This only shows their length of ignorance on regards of the agreement on Special Jurisdiction for Peace. They should read and carefully study the agreements before formulating reckless and absurd judgments.
Other or the same critics say that we have surrendered for having agreed on the decommissioning of arms. We ask, is it possible perhaps to sign the end of the conflict and the transformation of the FARC into a political force, if at the same time we continue armed struggle? Political solution requires the renunciation of the use of weapons. Whatever said to the contrary is a mere fantasy alien to political realism.
Political solution to the armed conflict means that it ends. There will be no more death for political reasons on either side. This is why there is a parallel agreement on security guarantees and fight against paramilitarism and its successor organizations. This is something that is very serious. We are not abandoning arms in the midst of paramilitary terror, the State is obliged to the world community to remove it and prevent its revival.
It’s not like FARC guerrilla combatants will have to hand over their weapon and then go home to try and make a living out of scratch, much less will each combatant have to defend themselves as however they can from State or paramilitary terror. Our aim is to remain united, cohesive as a political and social force, to which the State will have to guarantee life and all collective and individual rights. To fight politically for and with the people.
Weapons and confrontation are means, not ends, as apparently some think. They serve in specific contexts. But they may result useless in other conditions. Political solution is to find these new conditions and institutionalizing them. We have gained a lot in that direction, and we can achieve even more towards the Final Agreement. Based on the realistic understanding that we are having talks with our class enemies and not with ourselves in a classroom.
Havana, July 16, 2016.