In the name of FARC and on behalf of the guerrillas we extend our most cordial welcome to the organizations, countries, and agencies that accompany the peace process in Colombia. We are confident that your good work will strengthen the guarantees for compliance with the agreements as well as the success of their implementation.
We want to highlight the importance of international support for these peace agreements. The accompanying countries were present since the exploratory phase and had it not been for them the agreement would not have been possible. Indeed, there has been a desire for peace from both the government and the FARC-EP. At the height of the negotiations, the international accompaniment was the driving force and a bridge that helped us reach the shore of understanding. Negotiating here, moving things there, but always ensuring the reaching of the peace.
If this accompaniment was important during the agreements it is fundamental for its implementation. We see international accompaniment as a wise adviser that will help us advance whenever there are failures threatening to stall the process.
You will present your work plan to the CSIVI*, based on the same autonomy and independence that has characterized your work up until now. The plan of work must be matched with a roadmap for international accompaniment presented by the government identifying the needs in each of the points of the agreement and thus creating the plan of work for the required programs, plans and projects.
We value the contributions of the international community in helping to finance the implementation of the peace agreement. Not the amounts offered but more so its gesture. The resources provided are like a quickly passing mist that caresses Colombia's expectations. They are insufficient and meager. For example, what are 90 million euros offered by the European Union or the 100 million dollars offered by the United Nations? A single productive project can easily surpass these two figures. With this we do not mean to undervalue the solidarity effort of these prestigious international institutions, which we will never tire of thanking, but we must raise this as an objective problem of implementing the agreement.
This reality, in which the contributions are far from what is needed for the post-agreement, forces us to seek urgent solutions. It would not be necessary to talk about any of this considering that the arrangement for financing the agreements, through projects, is here in Colombia, and considering that the national budget exceeds 80 billion dollars.
The agreement cannot be reduced to a pack of promises stamped in 310 pages swept away by the wind and forgetfulness. Passing the peace agreements into law or into a Legislative Act is not enough. There has to be a concrete route to the materialisation of the agreement. The population, and the guerrilla who are now transitioning into a legal political party, should be able to feel a palpable transformation.
Uruguay's former president, Pepe Mujica, recently stated in Cali that "military expenditures are inflated. Spending money on security is a disgrace when it should be spent, for example, on education and culture."
To finance the requirements of peace will require, on the one hand, a fiscal effort similar to the one that had been used to try and win the war militarily; and on the other hand, through the support from society as a whole, but especially from the private sector.
In fiscal matters, we should not conceive the financing of the bilateral agreement to be about increasing the taxes on the middle class and the poor. There needs to be a political agreement to restructure public spending gradually and in the short-term so that spending on security and defense meets international averages. Resources can be redirected towards the bilateral agreement in the years to follow until we can reach close to $5.5 billion dollars a year.
Along with the former, the investment commitments from the private sector are very important. The cost of the bilateral agreement is not only the cost of reintegrating the FARC into society. The Havana agreements are for Colombian society as a whole and not only for the FARC.
The FARC-EP have committed to peace and to the Colombian people; therefore, we will spare no effort and will work hand in hand with you on this project. We would like to accompany you all individually as well as in the work commissions for each item within the international accompaniment (established in section 6.4.2. of the final agreement). You can count on us and our disposition like we have counted on you.
It is time to begin the international accompaniment to verify compliance to the agreement and the fulfilment of the implementation of Havana’s Final Accord. This is a cardinal point for the advancement of the peace process. We all want this process to progress in accordance to our timetables but we need the parallel fulfillment of commitments. Neither party should impose conditions on the other. We must instead have unobstructed advances in both directions. We are all fulfilling our promises made under the honorable Pacta Sunt Servanda.
The crux of the process is its financing. We must focus on breaches of the agreement because they are the stick in the wheel that prevents our march forward towards the consolidation of peace and coexistence. We have signaled a route, a path towards a solution which is the utilization of resources in the national budget. The Colombian state must be generous and generate the conditions that will surround this process with confidence. We need guarantees of security - legal, physical and socioeconomic - for all guerrillas and for the people because we do not want to reproduce the negative experiences of other processes due to laziness or lack of foresight.
We still see many delays and hesitation on behalf of the Colombian state to implement the Amnesty Law which was approved three months ago. The law suspends arrest warrants against guerrilla fighters who will conduct pedagogical peace teachings on a national and regional level. Why not take advantage of the commitments initiated by the zonal protocols and transition points of normalization to connect, not only with the guerillas, but with the rural communities that have long been forgotten by the state. To bring water where it is needed. To create roads. To bring education and healthcare that will permit the Colombian state to pay their debt to society.
Brothers and sisters: we agree that the signing of the Final Peace Agreement initiates the implementation of all agreed points as set out in item 6 which deals with the implementation, verification, and endorsement. The task for us all is to ensure the state and advancement of implementation, identify setbacks and breaches, and to effectively monitor the implementation of the agreements.
It would be timely and useful for the Colombian state and the FARC to request the United Nations’ Special Political Verification Mission follow-up on the reintegration of the FARC and the implementation of protection measures for personal and collective security. It is time for the Colombian state to send a request to the Secretary-General requesting such support.
CSIVI FARC Component
Abril 6 2017