The bombing was carried out by air forces of the mentioned regimes who indiscriminately bombed the entire town causing a still unknown number of deaths. This event was also portrayed in a painting made by Pablo Picasso named Gernika.
In reference to this tragic story in 2005 the Gernika awards for Peace and Reconciliation were established by diverse organizations and local authorities in order to make public the appreciation of the contribution to the Peace Building and promoting reconciliation, Human Rights and Social Justice
The Commander-in-chief of the FARC-EP received the Gernika Peace and Reconciliation award on its 2017 edition which is also the 80th anniversary of the bombardment to Gernika. The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos also received this award. The following is the speech given by Timoleón Jiménez:
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The horror of the bombing of Gernika eighty years ago has become a universal chant of the condemnation of war and the destruction it entails.
Today, this mournful event is commemorated with a spirit of peace and reconciliation, of which the granting of this award in 2012 to the former German president, Roman Herzog is a particular example, for it was him who twenty years ago, in the exercise of his position, recognized the responsibility of his country in the tragedy occurred in 1937.
Today, together with the dedicated photographer and journalist Gervasio Sánchez, the President of Colombia, through his delegate: the High Commissioner for Peace Sergio Jaramillo, and I, who also had to appoint a representative: the Spanish jurist Enrique Santiago , since the authorities of my country did not give me the passport to personally be there, as I wished, in order to receive the prestigious Peace and Reconciliation Award in its 2017 version, for having managed to reach the signing of the agreement that has put an end to the armed conflict that has affected our country for more than half a century.
The jury composed of representatives of the Gernika-Lumo City Council, the first mayor of the German city of Pforzheim, the Gernika Gogoratuz Foundation, the House of Culture, and the Peace Museum, considered my name based on my collaboration to the signing of Peace in order to continue my activity by political means.
I must say, first of all, that I receive this award, not in a personal capacity, but in recognition of our organization: the REVOLUTIONARY ARMED FORCES OF COLOMBIA – PEOPLE’S ARMY, FARC-EP, and the Colombian people who for decades called out and worked for the political solution of the conflict in our country.
I dare to say that the FARC-EP did much more than collaborate in the signing of peace, insofar as the peaceful, civilized and dialogued termination of the internal confrontation of our country was a banner of struggle of our organization from the very beginning of our uprising. Almost twenty years had to elapse before the Colombian State agreed to initiate for the first time some kind of conversation aimed at peace, and then to spend more than thirty years of frustrated processes with different governments -in the midst of a serious conflagration- to finally reach the dream of a final agreement.
A Final Agreement for the Termination of the Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace, whose very terms show the democratic, economic and social reality of Colombia, which in no way coincides with the image that, from power, is transmitted to the exterior. A Comprehensive Rural Reform that seeks to reduce the exaggerated concentration of land ownership of a privileged sector, while taking the population out of the backwardness and poverty of the country-side through the State's commitment to provide roads, electricity, housing, health, education and opportunities for progress through development plans.
A chapter on political participation that opens for the first time the floodgates of democracy to organizations, parties and political and social movements of opposition with full guarantees to the right of living, integrity and freedom of its members; the commitment is to end political violence forever, also to end with paramilitarism and crime as mechanisms of national, regional or local domination; an obligation that the Colombian State promises to take seriously, amid the wave of murders and threats against social and popular leaders in various regions of the country.
The agreement also contemplates a treatment other than that of war and repression to peasants that grow coca, poppy or marijuana, and who are forced to resort to this illegal activity by necessity in order to support their families in the most remote regions of the country. There will be illicit crop substitution programs with full State support for families engaged in such activity, in order to enable them to produce food in decent conditions. In this way the chain of drug trafficking will be broken by its weakest link, the hundreds of thousands of peasants who dont count with any possibility of progress.
The FARC will effectively move from being a movement in arms to a political party in legality, which will have words as its only weapon. In fact, the Bilateral and Final Cease of Fire and of Hostilities is being fulfilled while we are deposing our weapons, which will remain in the hands of the United Nations for its transformation into three historical monuments, one at the headquarters of the UN, another in Havana and a third in Bogotá. We have faithfully fulfilled each of our commitments and we expect from the national government its commitment with the agreed, without pretexts and delays as it has unfortunately been occurring in several cases.
We are here to talk about peace and reconciliation, the enforced purpose in our country to leave behind war in a definite manner and jointly undertake the building of a new nation, where hatreds and retaliations have no place. It was with that spirit that we started the talks and after five years of discussions we signed the Final Agreement. We consider that, just as Vizcaya did, it is urgent for the eyes of the world to be fixed in Colombia, not only to guarantee compliance with the agreement, but also to warn about the pernicious influences and undertakings of far right political sectors that against all rationality and justice, openly oppose the Havana Accords, and promise to revoke them if they win next year's elections. That cannot be allowed.
More than eight million Colombians were affected by the long confrontation, the overwhelming majority were victims of violent dispossession of their rural properties in favor of a disastrous agroindustry and agro-fuel business project. Death and injury, forced disappearance, arbitrary deprivation of liberty, and many other forms of victimization can never be repeated. Therefore, the agreement contemplates a Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition, which honors victims and their rights in the most complete way possible, based on the right that they and all Colombians have to know the truth of what happened and receive satisfactions.
Thank you Gernika, thanks to the Basque country, thank you Spain. It is beautiful to receive this congratulations embrace from the other side of the Atlantic, from that Europe that has suffered the war and its horrors in their own flesh. Gabriela Mistral already sang it in her poem to the tree of Gernika, “The wounded, the thrown, and those who died halfway out, we all return, all, to the tree, to the arena”. Here we are, reconciled, dreaming of a world ruled by peace and love rather than by greed and intolerance.
Gernika, April 26, 2017.