25 April 2014
Havana, Cuba - Comandantes Andr?s Par?s and Jes?s Santrich, members of the Central High Command of the FARC-EP, had a short exchange with the media before they entered the building where the peace talks are being held.
Havana, Cuba - The FARC-EP talked about the historical truth of the conflict and of the substitution of illicit crops, emphasizing the fact that the positions of the different social organizations present at the Agrarian Summit coincide with its proposals and demands.
Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, March 6, 2014
In development of the general guidelines of the "Anti-drug policy for sovereignty and good living conditions for the rural poor", the FARC-EP present three minimum proposals about
Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, March 30, 2014
The 22nd round of Peace Talks has come to an end in Havana. Without any doubt, there has been progress and the achievements allow to assume that the obstacles on the path of reconciliation are being removed to the extent that the most urgent demands of the poor are expressed in the agreements: their fundamental rights, the determination to realize a Comprehensive Rural Reform that really provides the rural communities access to land, territorial rights, political participation without persecution, repression and death, in conditions of dignity and democracy, overcoming the structural causes of poverty and inequality as underlying causes of the political, social and armed conflict.
It is a fact that the achievements make us optimistic, always based on realism, but with the determination to do everything possible to reach this high purpose.
The debate and agreements about the third point of discussion, the problem of the Illicit Use of Drugs have been written on several pages of agreements, including, among other matters, the conclusions on the substitution of the illicit use of crops. The agreement should place the peasants, indigenous and Afro-communities (linked to the crops) in the foreground, as victims of a phenomenon which undoubtedly and fundamentally has to be fought in the marketing area, scenario in which the financial capital plays a leading role.
Definitely, the peasantry and other cultivating rural communities, consumers and the smaller segments of the illegal markets - including drug couriers and small vendors - are just victims and the criminalization and repressive and punitive treatment against them should stop. A new policy must be implemented, because "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world" as expressed in several reports on drugs, developed at the behest of the United Nations and other international bodies, adding that urgent fundamental reforms in regard to national and international policies of drug control are needed.
We have followed these guideline on our way to the agreements, even admitting that it is time to begin the transformation of the global policies of drug prohibition; it is time to replace the drug policies and strategies based on political ideology and convenience; to overcome them with responsible economic policies and strategies based on science, health, security and respect for human rights. Appropriate benchmarks for evaluation should be implemented, dedicated to the interpretation and the revision of international conventions, in order to adapt them to a solid experimentation with harm reduction, decriminalization and legal regulatory policies.
But this road requires the exercise of sovereignty, if we're talking about real peace, the peace of social justice, and not the peace of the tombs, the dream of those who admit - without any embarrasment - their interventionism disguised as "support" provided by the South Command, or who believe that using military force against the poor shows "forcefulness" and "vitality", while they are proud of the relationship of humiliating subordination now called "relationship between equals".
In the case of Colombia, it's time to listen to the communities. From them, the FARC, in order to elaborate its minimum proposals, collected the most significant initiatives, which we now see repeated in the important conclusions of the Agrarian, Ethnic and Popular Summit. Their positions coincide with the viewpoints of the most advanced sectors of the academic and scientific community which investigate the struggle against illicit drugs and drug trafficking.
These demands are an example of patriotic interest in what the future of the country and the construction of a more just society should be. Therefore, to meet them is to open the way to true democracy and peace as a synthesis right of coexistence in conditions of dignity and freedom. That is why the FARC-EP welcomes the increasing prominence of the Popular Movement in defining Colombia's destiny, exalts their demands and makes a strong call to restore the collective memory, to establish a Commission of Truth about the History of the Conflict and the ones who are responsible for it; to compensate the victims, building a commitment of justice, reparation and the obligation of non-repetition; to advance a constitutional process that - with everyone's help - will gather the necessary elements to shape the desired Peace Treaty, in order to reach the stable and lasting peace the country needs.
As a result of these reflections, hoping that this opportunity for dialogue we are now carrying out won't dilute in another frustration, and with all the faith in the potential of people to achieve the changes that the country needs, we will now read the following open letter to former President Ernesto Samper Pizano:
Ernesto Samper Pizano,
We have learned, here in Havana, about your request to include in the list of prisoners, who eventually will be sent to Colombia by the U.S. government, the names of Sim?n Trinidad and Sonia, guerrilla fighters of the FARC, deprived of their freedom for political reasons, in U.S. prisons.
Let us, Mr. Samper, acknowledge your generosity, your humanitarian awareness and consistent commitment to peace in Colombia. You've always had a firm and resolute position, based on humanitarian principles and civilized habits, in favor of the exchange of prisoners as consequence of the conflict.
We hope that your request, externalized in a forum on human rights, awakes in the Colombian government the same sensitivity that has led you to undertake this initiative. Without any doubt, it will redound to the benefit of the peace all Colombian people long for.
Since the beginning of the peace talks, we have asked the governments which are in the position to make the decision, to allow the presence of Sim?n Trinidad in Havana. He was designated by the FARC as one of the plenipotentiaries of peace, to contribute with his well-known wisdom and common sense to the construction of the agreement to end the protracted conflict in Colombia.
We are sure that the U.S. authorities understand that the accomplishment of this request, inspired by their decision to release dozens of prisoners at Guant?namo, will constitute an extraordinary and long-awaited gesture from the US government to peace in Colombia.
Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP
Havana, Cuba - Pablo Catatumbo (see picture), spokesman of the FARC-EP, declared today that:
"Without any doubt, any initiative that aims at promoting the peace process and the search for a political solution is welcome".
Written by: Fidel Rond?n, member of the Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP
Regarding the fourth item on the General Agreement for the termination of the conflict and the construction of a stable and lasting peace, "the solution to the problem of illicit drugs", which is being discussed at the Havana peace talks at a slow pace, it is worth reviewing the recent past about how little or how much has been done by the FARC-EP to influence the choice made by Colombian peasants: growing coca (mainly), marijuana and poppy to survive.
Press conference end of round, Havana, Cuba, March 6, 2014
We want to close this round, informing the country that today the FARC-EP presented a set of new initiatives to its counterpart at the table. With these initiatives, we complete a total of 50 minimum proposals that demonstrate our global vision, analysis and ideas, which we believe can contribute to solving the problem of illicit use of drugs in Colombia.
In addressing the three major aspects of this fourth item on the Agenda of the General Agreement of Havana, third in discussion, we have said, with solid arguments, that the first thing to do is to draw up a new policy, with a profoundly human content. We should understand the phenomenon as a social problem that cannot be dealt with through prohibitionist measures, simple interdiction, punitive - repressive or military - reactions. This implies that Colombia should start a new path, a new strategy in the struggle against the illicit uses of coca, marijuana and poppy, a new strategy in the treatment of consumption and the public health problems they entail. We should definitively eradicate the problem of drug trafficking or marketing, which is the strong and dangerous link and main cause of the economic and social calamities that the problem entails.
We express this because it is demonstrated that in Colombia the so-called war on drugs, which has served to disguise the performance of counter-insurgency operations, increase repression against impoverished communities in the countryside and increase the confrontation, has failed.
Some people, from state institutions or from other -supposedly quite rational- places, insist on saying that the policies focused on forced eradication and aerial spraying, have achieved the reduction of coca cultivation by up to 50%, and that is the irrefutable proof that there has been no failure in such practices. But, we wonder: At what cost? How many lives have been sacrificed, how many massacres and mass graves have been spread throughout the territory, how much land, water sources, how much biodiversity has been poisoned, generating enormous environmental disasters? Definitely, the incalcualable damage and the enormous deepening of the humanitarian crisis, caused by this criticized policy, only served to find out that the hectares of illicit use today produce five to six times more than before and that the levels and export prices for the benefit of financial capital, which profits from it especially, oscillate between stability and increase.
It is necessary to speak truthfully to Colombia on this subject, which is used to stigmatize not only the insurgency, but above all, the farmers who grow these crops, and the consumers, who ultimately are the victims of a transnational phenomenon. Central capitalism is the main consumer, distributor and generator of inputs and instruments of violence, and is therefore primarily responsible.
With these reflections, and collecting community initiatives as we did with the previous items of the agenda, the FARC-EP have presented 50 minimum proposals, completed today with a package of ideas concerning the persecution of big business involved with drug trafficking, money laundering, the responsibility of the states of central capitalism and the need for a comprehensive policy to solve the problem.
May we remind you that the National Program for the substitution of the illicit uses of coca, poppy or marijuana crops is part of these initiatives. In turn, this Program is inspired by the Plan of crop substitution, proposed by Comandante Manuel Marulanda V?lez, in June 2000 in the town of Cartagena del Chair?. Moreover, all these initiatives are conceived within a clear and precise conceptual framework, based on a startup document, called: "Contours of a discussion. View on a solution to the problem of illicit drugs", which was accompanied by six major reflections on the war on drugs. With all this, we deployed a universe of proposals for the three sub-points of the item of illicit drugs. These proposals were limited to 10 general topics listed below:
1. Comprehensive, sovereign, democratic and participatory anti-drug policy, aimed at the rural poor and the consumers.
2. Structural conditions for overcoming illicit uses of coca, marijuana and poppy.
3. Recognition and encouragement to food, medicinal, therapeutic, craft, industrial and cultural uses of the coca, poppy and marijuana crops.
4. Substitution of the illicit uses of coca, marijuana and poppy crops and alternative development programs.
5. Immediate suspension of aerial spraying with glyphosate and comprehensive reparation of victims.
6. Demilitarization of anti-drug policy, no intervention from the USA or other subjects of central capitalism, and decriminalization of the rural poor.
7. Addressing the consumption of psychoactive drugs as a public health problem and decriminalization of the consumers.
8. Anti-drug policy focused on the dismantling of the narco-paramilitary, criminal and mafia-like structures enthroned in the State.
9. Anti-drug policy focused on the persecution of the capitals that are involved in the economic process of drug trafficking.
10. Responsibility of the States of central capitalism, regional commitments and requirements for the implementation of a global anti-drug policy.
We have put all the cards on the table from our side, always advocating for the involvement of social and popular organizations in the discussions, for they should be afforded the opportunity to participate and make decisions. The FARC-EP is asking the government now to present its vision and its concrete proposals for a solution to all items, so that the results will be a solution to the huge problems of poverty and inequality that pushed a great part of the rural population to resort to illegal economies in order to survive.
Unfortunately, we also have to deal with the enemies of a political solution to the social and armed conflict: senior government officials, who never cease to sabotage efforts which promote understanding among Colombians, without having heard so far any presidential counterclaim.
Minister Pinz?n demanded some of our spokespersons to speak out on the reality of drug trafficking in the FARC, pretending he isn't aware of the fact that we have sufficiently stated our truths. Moreover, among our proposals, and we reiterate it here, is the requirement to establish an independent Commission specialized in the truth about the transnational capitalist enterprise of drug trafficking. In this way, we could find the arguments and conclusions that put all those who are really responsible for a scourge in which the institutions represented by the Minister are smeared to the core, in place.
This individual, the one who lost his agenda on his trip to Washington, lackey of the CIA, seems to be in charge of shooting every day against the purpose of establishing the peace Colombians claim for. He should speak to the country about the reality of the current corruption scandals the Armed Forces are going through, of which he is part, and also talk about his own scandals related to business deals which favor providers of the Ministry of Defense, from which he receives benefits, gifts, bargains, apartments and hair gel. What was he doing when Colonel Robinson Gonz?lez del R?o, for years, in front of his nose, was supplying weapons to narco-paramilitary groups? In a decent government, such an official would have already been removed from office, there is no doubt about it.
Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP
Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, February 25, 2014
Anti-drug policy for sovereignty and good living conditions for the rural poor
The consumption of psychoactive drugs as a public health problem and decriminalization of consumers.
In development of the general guidelines of the "Anti-drug policy for the sovereignty and good living conditions for the rural poor", the FARC-EP present eight minimum proposals for the seventh item: "The consumption of psychoactive drugs as a public health problem and decriminalization of consumers":
1. Recognition of the consumption of psychoactive drugs as a public health problem
2. Democratic and participatory design and implementation of policies against the consumption of psychoactive drugs
3. Centrality of state responsibility regarding the consumption of psychoactive drugs
4. Prevention of the consumption of psychoactive drugs
5. Therapeutic, rehabilitative treatment for and harm reduction of the consumption of psychoactive drugs
6. State funding of policies against the use of psychoactive drugs
7. Structural reforms to social security in health
8. State regulation and de-penalization of the use of psychoactive drugs
7.1. Recognition of the use of psychoactive drugs as a public health problem
The consumption of psychoactive drugs will be recognized as a public health problem, explained essentially by structural causes of the economic, political, social and cultural logic of capitalism. By poverty, unemployment, discrimination and social exclusion and by the absence of perspectives for life, especially for young people. Scientific and academic research will be encouraged to develop an assessment on the current status and tendencies of consumption and promote specialized knowledge of the problem to allow its comprehensive approach through public policy. For this purpose, an interdisciplinary Mission of experts will be established, which should produce a "Report on the status and tendencies regarding the use of psychoactive drugs".
7.2. Democratic and participatory design and implementation of policies against the consumption of psychoactive drugs
A "National Policy Council against the use of psychoactive drugs" with representatives of state institutions, scientific institutions and specialized centers, therapeutic communities and consumer organizations will be formed. Its main function is to provide democratic and participatory design of public policy in this area, with a public health and human rights approach as well as the results of the "Report on the status and tendencies regarding the use of psychoactive drugs." Public policy will favor prevention, therapeutic treatment, rehabilitation, harm reduction and regulation of consumption. It will consider specific issues and needs according to age, gender, socioeconomic status and geographic location.
7.3. Centrality of state responsibility regarding the consumption of psychoactive drugs
Notwithstanding the democratic and participatory nature of the policies against the use of psychoactive drugs, the centrality of state responsibility to address the problem will be recognized. This involves the commitment of using resources for social investment and undertaking measures to overcome the structural causes of consumption. It also involves the adaptation of the social security system so that it can meet the requirements resulting from the recognition of the problem of consumption as a public health issue. It also includes punitive measures against big networks that commercialize psychoactive substances, as well as their main beneficiaries. A differential treatment, including rehabilitation and economic alternatives for those who are involved in the so-called micro-trafficking, should be offered.
7.4. Prevention of the consumption of psychoactive drugs
The policy of preventing consumption of psychoactive drugs will focus on children and young people, without neglecting other population groups. Special prevention programs will be developed and implemented in educational institutions at different levels, involving the whole of the educational communities. Such programs will be extended to the urban centers and rural areas, with active participation of the organized communities and the definition of areas to prioritize if necessary. Prevention will be based on educational and informational campaigns to prevent consumption and mitigate the risks for the existing users, and to promote healthy lifestyles. In this aspect, free provision and guarantees of permanent state offers regarding cultural, sporting and recreational alternatives, occupy a central place, as well as the provision of employment options and alternatives.
7.5. Therapeutic, rehabilitative treatment and harm reduction of the consumption of psychoactive drugs
The consumer of psychoactive drugs will be recognized as a subject with rights. The state has a responsibility with them, given their addiction. Free access to therapeutic treatment, rehabilitation and harm reduction will be guaranteed to the consumers. In furtherance of this purpose, the corresponding resources will be made available in order to significantly increase the state's provision and support the existing centers. Similarly, information regarding acces to treatment and rehabilitation within the health system will be widely disseminated. Monitoring and control over rehabilitation centers will be improved in order to ensure the quality of therapeutic treatments. Such centers will undergo permanent specialized assessments. Free outpatient care centers for drug addicts will be created.For chronic users and those who decide to keep on consuming, there will be programs focused on risk and harm reduction, including detoxification and recovery of self-esteem.
7.6. State funding of policies against the use of psychoactive drugs
Public policy of research, prevention, therapeutic treatment, rehabilitation and harm reduction, as well as the regulation of the consumption of psychoactive drugs, will be funded by the state, without undermining the contributions from different sectors of society. The funding will guarantee the sustainability of public policy in the medium and long term. To this end, a special Fund will be established, with resources from the national budget and seizures of The National Department of Anti-narcotics.
7.7. Structural reforms to social security in health
The real guarantee for the treatment of consumption of psychoactive drugs as a public health problem that emphasizes prevention and enables therapeutic treatment, rehabilitation and harm reduction, from the perspective of human rights, is a structural and deep reform of the social security system. This should involve an appropriate institutional redesign, which effectively embodies the right to health and well-being of the population, based on the principles of universality, gratuity, equity and de-commodification. A necessary condition for such reform is the immediate dismantling of financial intermediation and privatization, as well as strengthening the state public health system and, in particular, the public hospital and ambulatory care network.
7.8. State regulation and de-penalization of the use of psychoactive drugs
Public policy will be based on the overcoming prohibition and decriminalization of consumption. This implies giving priority to measures and actions aimed at the gradual and differentiated regulation of consumption, including legalization, attending their impacts and uses. To this end, relevant specialist studies will be undertaken, considering the type of drug and international experiences, and the rights of consumers. These will be treated as victims of the criminal transnational enterprise of drug trafficking; stigmatization and persecution will be outlawed, and de-penalization of consumption will be ensured, which involves the implementation of reforms in criminal law.
Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP
JOINT COMMUNIQUE 32
Havana, February 13, 2014
The delegations of the Government and the FARC-EP report that:
We have worked steadily throughout this round of talks and have begun to construct agreements on the item "Solution to the problem of illicit drugs", specifically on the first sub-point, "Programs for crop substitution. Comprehensive development plans with community participation in the design, implementation and evaluation of substitution programs and environmental recovery of the areas affected by these crops".
Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, February 7, 2014
Demilitarization of anti-drug policy, non-interventionism and decriminalization of the rural poor
In development of the general guidelines of the "Anti-drug policy for sovereignty and good living conditions of the rural poor", the FARC-EP present the following four minimum proposals for the sixth point