watching the various shades of the blue sea and its changing appearances due to the friction of the strong breeze, the eye gets excited and surprised when looking at the landscape of Matanzas, its beautiful bay, its river, its unique architecture and bridges where smiling children are jumping.
Dozens of boats sail in different directions, driven by the breath of the winds, as if they had attached to its stern one of those engines that in Colombia we use to move through the great rivers, whose memory makes the streams here looking small. The size of the boats, their white sails and course tell us of a dreamy fishing village.
Like the one in which Santiago was living, Santiago, the old man who spent 84 days without catching a fish that deserved recognition and that each dawn went to sea in his boat dreaming of fish something notable. I speak of the story that earned Ernest Hemingway a Pulitzer Prize and eventually turned him into an idol of all Cubans. A hymn to human tenacity, said someone, and I share this opinion.
Never a fisherman had caught a swordfish eighteen feet long, like the one he caught after a titanic and lonely struggle. After securing it to the side of his boat, he headed back to his village, imagining the general admiration and the advantage he would take of his work. But then sharks appeared, attracted by the trickle of blood left by the harpon.
The night battle of the old man against those sharks attacking with furious bites his precious treasure, seems to me the appropriate comparison with the peace process in Havana, a long saga that began more than thirty years ago, and which is on the threshold of a Final Agreement, also a victim of rabid stubborn lunges trying to prevent its safe arrival home.
There are plenty of shellfish and malicious interpretations about the Colombian conflict. All aim to ignore two crucial historical realities: the enormous economic and social inequality dominant in the country and the profoundly elitist, intolerant, undemocratic and violent character of the political regime. Address them properly enabled the road to peace.
Although with different criteria on how to address these two big issues, it is undeniable that the General Agreement of August 2012 fixed his attention on them. The issue of land and illicit crops, political openness and guarantees, victims and justice occupied more than three years in debates. It will not be paradise, but finally we got walking.
More and more Colombians have joined this dream, increasingly more conscious of the opportunity involved for the future of all to put an end to this long fratricidal conflict. And the international community, accompanying and guarantor countries. Envoys from the US and the European Union. The United Nations and its Security Council. The issue is serious.
While John Kerry, US Secretary of State, go to Havana to meet separately with the delegations of the two negotiating parties, and the Secretary General of the United Nations respectfully write to the Commander of the FARC, voices remain in Colombia claiming that although the process is bilateral is not between two equal parties.
Therefore they do not abandon their aspiration to subdue the insurgency to the untouchables state powers. The General Agreement proclaims otherwise. The third point of the Agenda, End of conflict, describes it as a comprehensive and simultaneous process that involves seven major issues, which will start its development with the signing of the Agreement in an agreed reasonable period of time.
Whoever looks in a unprejudiced way the mentioned seven major issues, will conclude that these are complex issues, which can not require on one hand that one of the parties abandon arms and return to civilian life, while on the other doesn't materialising the corresponding commitments. Keeping weapons does not interest us, preserving life does.
Deadlines cannot be opened for one of the parties and fixed, precise and firm for the other. So they must be prudential, working to develop comprehensive agreements simultaneously. Does anyone still believes that paramilitarism, personal attacks and delivery of daily hatreds, are not real threat to the unarmed insurgency and the popular movement?
The myth of armed proselytism, of guerrilla in arms doing policy across the country, is nothing more than a malicious caricature propagated without calculating the damage. Of course the link between politics and weapons must stop forever in Colombia, no more state terror, no more hatred, no more paramilitarism, no more strikes and marches against peace.
Or it is that all this is not armed proselytism? Peace talks began to put a definitive end to violence and weapons in politics. The insurgency would not agree with the national government, with accompanying countries and guarantors, with the entire international community as a witness, agreements it does not think to implement. We have no foolish nor suicidal tendency.
It is surprising that the figure of unprotected Colombians in Caguan is invoked, when outside the demilitarized zone, throughout the national territory, paramilitarism, with open military complicity, flooded the country in blood with their crimes and massacres. Horrors such as occurred in the Catatumbo occurred in the protected Colombia, the one they have never wanted to see.
Agreements involve verification and the United Nations is already moving in that direction, with representation of both the State and the insurgency. Nobody refuses. The President however insinuates this in his public statement, as if he still had the desire of make us surrender, demobilize and humble. Something inappropriate for those who have dignity.
The Colombian government demanded as a requisite for talks full discretion on the discussions going on at the negotiation table. We maintained it. We could for example show that is not true the absolute negation of Dr. De La Calle on what happened in the Technical Subcommittee, but we are not interested in deepen contradictions, what we want is approximate, reach agreements.
Therefore we don't leak classified information to the press to develop articles and features on the issues under discussion, in order to create a unfavourable environment around our interlocutors. It's not about that. We want peace, we fight for it, we want to sign a final agreement as soon as possible. That requires restraint, wisdom, responsibility.
We know that butchers predatory sharks will persevere in their work and it may be impossible to agree solutions pleasing all Colombians. Some people do not want them. But it is enough that a vast majority is inclined to support peace and the final agreements. It is with them we must unite now, the whole Colombia deserves it.
The recent and flattering news of the start of the public phase of peace talks with the ELN, is without a doubt a voice of encouragement and hope for all concerned in the end of the long armed conflict in Colombia. The stars align again and this great opportunity cannot be thrown away.
We will achieve this, Santos, we are sure of this.
COMMANDER OF THE CENTRAL HIGH COMMAND OF THE FARC-EP