The chosen stage was Ciudad Bolívar, in the south of the capital, on a sunny afternoon and animated by the music of Reincidentes Bogotá, joy committed to change.
Indeed, the vocalist of this group is a militant of the new party, and his commitment goes much further. His name is Manuel Garzón, and besides being part of the list of candidates to the House of Representatives for Bogota, headed by our old friend and comrade Byron Yepes, he is the accusing lawyer of Santiago Uribe.
Those who spoke that day, besides Byron, whose first name is Jairo González Mora, son of the agrarian leader Gerardo González, were our head of list to the Senate Iván Márquez, the candidate for the Vice Presidency, Imelda Daza, who has the virtue to send shivers down listeners’ spine both for her powerful voice and the feeling she transmits, and of course, Timo, or Rodrigo Londoño.
That we expected a greater influx of public, it is true. Although it was not as little as our adversaries would have liked, to rejoice with our loneliness. What is certain is that we broke the ice, for the first time in 53 years, the FARC spoke in a popular sector, in a political campaign.
And that has an extraordinary significance. Not only because of the accumulated history, but because a face is put to fear, openly, with confidence and optimism. There were many people outside, as they say, following the act from the iron barrier, not sure if fully enter. You know what holds them back is the fear of retaliation.
And not on our part. They fear being killed, persecuted for showing sympathy to our cause. That, precisely, is what we have to overcome, in the midst of a series of hostilities. That curiously do not seem to come from the public force. The Police and the Army are willing to cooperate in everything related to the safety of the new movement.
Anyway it is necessary to throw ourselves into the water. It was what we saw last Saturday. There was a noticeable assistance from the Communists, who followed the development of the event with interest. And also from different organizations, such as the campaign for the freedom of Simón Trinidad, with their shirts, banners and slogans. There was also a lot of youth.
People who do not hesitate to wear a shirt that says FARC and carries the logo of the red rose. That raises to the wind flags with the slogan “Timo for President”. Who sings, shouts slogans and applauds excited the candidates. The common people, they call themselves, they also say we are the party of the rose, and they repeat it with energy, while they smile with happiness.
That dawn, an urban ELN commando had carried out an attack against a CAI in Barranquilla, with a balance of five dead and more than forty injured. Pure oxygen for the extreme right, which does not hesitate to use such behaviour against the left as a whole and particularly against the FARC.
It is a pity that these events happen, just when from different scenarios you hear voices calling for peace talks and a ceasefire between the ELN and the Government. Actions like that do not arise sympathy, people in Colombia are weary of war, of bloodthirsty violence, the consequences speak for themselves.
The ELN alleges the Government's breaches of the previous cease-fire, but insists on dialoguing simultaneously with the attacks. Figures are compared, 19 dead guerrillas, 7 policemen, etc. The Government suspends the talks and orders to intensify the fire. Chocó is bombed. Some say a camp, others say an indigenous community.
The troop ensures that the injured indigenous girl and Afro-descendant are guerrillas. The ELN say they are civilians, the ONIC affirms that the indigenous woman was recruited by force, General Mejía adds that the ELN forcibly recruits desperate children and Venezuelans. In short, a tower of Babel and an escalation of violence that will not produce revolutions nor democratic openings.
They say that in Arauca, old FARC deserters, who now appear as dissidents and who threaten to kill the candidates of the new party, were endorsed by the ELN to act. Who knows.
Once I heard Gabino affirm that after 50 years of fighting with arms, it had not been possible to change the country and it was therefore convenient to look for other ways.
Many may think is naive and others stubborn treason, but it is clear that the only viable way to improve the country is the one chosen by the FARC, a Peace Agreement and a new way of making politics.
Doing so requires much more value than waging war.