Havana, March 30, 2014
The delegations of the Government and the FARC-EP report that:
Throughout this round of conversations, we have discussed all the aspects of the topic "Solution to the problem of illicit drugs" and managed to agree on several points.
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, site of the peace talks, April 24, 2014
Today we begin round 24 of the peace talks, seeking peace for Colombia under the crossfire of warmongering hostilities.
Fabi?n Ram?rez has a long experience in the struggle for democratic peace with social justice. In this exclusive interview he answers clearly and forcefully on various topics.
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.
?We are simply positioning the irrefutable truth -which can't be covered or hidden anymore- about the dirty role of the CIA and the DEA as motors and generators of the humanitarian calamity caused by the scourge of drug trafficking?
The world is waging the struggle against drugs in the darkness. All efforts are doomed to fail if we don't turn on the light of truth over the foul crime of drug trafficking which is lacerating humanity. Surrounded by this darkness, poor Colombia is entangled and lost in a more complex maze than the one of the Minotaur myth.
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 28, 2014
The war agenda of the Colombian government
The sinister face of the geopolitical alliance between Washington and Bogot? appears once again, after the release of the agenda of the minister of war, Juan Carlos Pinz?n, about his participation in the "High Level Dialogue on security" with the CIA and the Department of State.
Several issues are noteworthy here, and generate more doubt and mistrust about if the Colombian government is sincerely considering internal peace and good relations with its neighbors.
While discussing the post-conflict, apart from maintaining the high rates of military spending, they are requiring more support to increase the war, specifically looking for new subsidies for the so-called Plan 'Sword of Honor 2', which aims at the annihilation of the guerrillas Blocks of the FARC.
It is clear that the government runs a double standard. They have two different agendas to determine the destiny of the country. Apart from Havana's Agenda of peace, the agenda of war continues being plotted, in dark collusion with the US government.
Perhaps in response to the criticism against the prohibitionist, punitive and military treatment of the war on drugs, raised by many academic and scientific sectors around the world, who come to the conclusion that it has failed, President Santos spoke about the need to rethink this policy, which has caused the deepening of the conflict in our country, forced displacement and environmental degradation, among others. However, contrarily to everything that is being discussed today in Havana, in Pinz?n's agenda appears - as a first-order issue - the component of combating drug trafficking within the framework of military counterinsurgency campaigns, including Washington's interventionism.
Being known that the United States only carries out aerial spraying if the countries with presence of illicit crops ask for it, it is the height of submission for the government of Colombia to beg them to continue with the spraying of Monsanto's Agent Orange in our countryside.
Are they definitely planning to ignore the rejection of this criminal fumigation, expressed by rural people through proposals and protests? As he did with the Ecuadorian people affected by fumigation at the border, instead of keep on poisoning Colombia's countryside, the Santos government should also compensate the campesinos affected in our country.
In Pinz?n's war agenda, it is clear once again, that there is unilateralism regarding issues that are being discussed at the Havana peace talks.Aspects of transitional justice, dealing with benefits for army officers who are involved in crimes against humanity and allusions to the future of the insurgency, are addressed at the parallel imperial talks, which in the end seems to be charting the policies and decisions of our counterpart.
If the Bogot? government is so interested in the US blessing, the FARC-EP insist on the participation of a representative of the government of this country in the peace talks.
When talking about peace, the government and its ministry of war must leave ambiguity aside, as well as the hypocritical diplomacy of the good neighbor and act with transparency. It is not right to continue scheming, and not only from Bogota, but also from Washington, against a country like Venezuela, which has diligently and selflessly accompanied the peace process, doing everything that's within their power to achieve the reconciliation of the Colombian people.
How can it be understood that while Foreign Affairs carries out cooperation meetings with Venezuelan authorities, they secretly ask support from Washington to increase the military forces' capacity, with the preposterous claim that in the future there might arise a scenario of confrontation with Venezuela or Nicaragua?
Hopefully the coordination meetings of the defense ministers of the Pacific Alliance - U.S. and Canada - promoted by Colombia, won't end up becoming a kind of neo-colonial strategy, which affects the peace of the neighborhood, recently advocated by the CELAC.
Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP
Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, February 26, 2014
The FARC-EP present six minimum proposals on "Anti-drug policy focused on cleaning up the narco-paramilitary, criminal and mafia-like structures entrenched in the state":
1. Specialized commission to identify narco-paramilitary power.
The drug policy will have one of its axes in identifying narcoparamilitary, criminal and mafia-like structures entrenched in the state, regarding the fact that these structures are an essential factor to the persistence and reproduction of the criminal drug industry. To this end, a specialized, interdisciplinary Commission will be created, involving representatives of the government, the FARC-EP, academia, political parties and political and social movements, and the Armed Forces and Police, which should present within six (6) months a "Report on the influence of narco-paramilitarism on the state and the Colombian society." This Report will contain a diagnosis and a definition of policy guidelines for the structural solution to the phenomenon of narco-paramilitarism in its various shapes and forms, including the current euphemistic name of "criminal gangs" (BACRIM).
2. Cleaning of the branches of the state and dismantling of narco-paramilitary influence.
The results of the "Report on the influence of narco (...)" will serve as a basis for the implementation of a policy of cleaning the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the state, on national, departmental and municipal levels. Real and effective dismantlement of narco-paramilitary power in these areas should be ensured. In addition to the recovery of state legitimacy, overcoming the narco-paramilitary structures entrenched in these branches leads to the loss of its influence and control over the design and implementation of public policy in the most varied fields of economic, social and cultural development, as well as in crime policy and justice. And especially concerning specific configurations of security and defense policy.
3. Purification of the supervisory bodies and the electoral organization of the state and elimination of narco-paramilitary influence.
The "Report on the influence of narco-paramilitarism (...)" should also lead to the purification of the supervisory bodies of the State, particularly the Inpector General's Office, as well as the electoral organization, including the National Electoral Council and the National Registry Office. The effective measures of the Public Ministry, already clean, taken against all public officials committed with the phenomenon of narco-paramilitarism would be a contribution to a true democratic organization of society.Cleaning up electoral organization is a necessary move towards the elimination of narco-paramilitary political power, largely based on the capture of the political and representative system.
Moreover, the effective dismantling of narco-paramilitarism also includes the cleaning of Public Notaries, regarding the fact that Public Notaries, managed by individuals, have become an important factor in the institutionalization of the narco-paramilitary economy, particularly in the dispossession of lands.
4. Clean up the military forces and the police, as well as the intelligence services, and dismantle the narco-paramilitary influence.
In response to multiple investigations and studies, all publicly known, which demonstrate the historical articulation and coordination of narco-paramilitarism with military forces, the police and state intelligence services, as well as the results that the "Report on the influence of narco-paramilitarism (...)" the purification of these forces and services will be started. The persistence of the already mentioned structural links are an insuperable barrier of narco-paramilitary power, to the extent that they provide a political, economic and social control over the territory based on the exercise of violence, which is the basis of reproduction of the criminal drug industry, and of the enlistment of territories to promote new and lucrative business with land and natural resources, and access public resources.
5. Identify and dismantle narco-paramilitary territorial power.
The efforts to dismantle narco-paramilitary power entrenched in state structures, their branches and bodies, will become fruitless if not accompanied by measures and actions aimed at eliminating their territorial power. It is necessary to identify local criminal and mafia-like structures, their specific features, as well as the elites that are engaged and directly participating in narco-paramilitary territorial power. However, it's is not enough to move towards the eradication of such power. To achieve this, the political willingness of the state is requiered, as well as forceful measures and actions, in addition to its real and effective prosecution. All this should be accompanied by the corresponding designs of crime policy.
6. Special measures and actions against corruption produced by narco-paramilitarism.
The criminals and mafia networks have created corrupt companies, which are infiltrated in all state institutions. They are mainly supported by drug capital, used to finance political parties and electoral campaigns. Being so, it doesn't only affect the legislature at different levels, but also government positions. From these positions an important part of public procurement is being captured and, through them, budget resources. In the same way, the promotion of new business, coming up from territorial control, is legalized and guaranteed. Eradicate narco-paramilitary power implies, therefore, the implementation of specific measures to combat corruption originated in drug capitals, including the monitoring of these capitals throughout the economic cycle, which will be a special chapter of the crime policy of the state.
Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP
Government should dismantle narco-paramilitary structures
"Anti-drug policy should be focused on the dismantling of narco-paramilitary, criminal and mafia-like structures, entrenched in the state"
Havana, Cuba - With these words, Comandante Jes?s Santrich started reading the FARC-EP communique on the eighth minimum proposal in the framework of the discussion about illicit drugs. To read complete communiqu?, click here
The insurgency stressed the need for a specialized commission, which could study formulas in order to dismantle the criminal industry of drugtrafficking. The commission should present a report on the influence of narco-paramilitarism on the Colombian state and society.
The state's supervisory bodies should be cleaned up, especially the Inpector General's Office, the National Electoral Council, Public Notaries and the National Registry Office.
The FARC-EP also demanded cleaning the structures of the military forces, the police and the intelligency services, because of their relationship with narco-paramilitarism. Local criminal structures and elites should be identified and dismantled, too; this can only be done with a clear political willingness from the state.
The journalists again asked questions to the comandante of the insurgency, first about the state council, which supported the destitution of former mayor Gustavo Petro.
Santrich stressed that these were the "guarantees" of colombian democracy; he affirmed that a a lot of aspects of it should be changed and that a collective reflection is necessary. He claimed for a National Constituent Assembly in order to implement the necessary institutional changes in order to achieve a real democracy.
A second question was about the involvement of the FARC-EP in the business of drug-trafficking. According to the journalist, the FARC are put into circulation more than 1.3 billion pesos anually in drug-trafficking.
Jes?s Santrich explained about the enormous (media) manipulation involved in the issue of drug-trafficking, which has always been an instrument to demonize the guerrilla forces:
"There is a huge propaganda machinery, aimed at discrediting the insurgency. That's why we have insisted on a truth commission - which should be installed as soon as possible - to investigate about victims, but also about all these issues that have been surrounded by lies"