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Monday, 02 October 2017 02:24

Whitaker, the FARC and the struggle against drugs

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Beyond the fact that the statements by US Ambassador Kevin Whitaker from the diplomatic and political point of view should be interpreted as an interference, we are obliged to make this pronouncement in order to establish a position before public opinion on a series of erroneous statements that confuse and obstruct the smooth development of the peace process in Colombia.

Let us begin by stating that the United States is well aware of the commitments made by the Colombian Government and the FARC in Havana, because they maintained a Special Envoy on a constant basis, so won’t allow them to accuse us of non-compliances with matters not addressed in Point 4 of the Peace Agreement.

The fulfillment of commitments by the FARC has been public and notorious, and where there have been observations or doubts we have been in absolute disposition to provide answers and satisfactory solutions.

Under the terms agreed upon by the parties, the issue of illicit drugs is a global and comprehensive problem that engages the international community as a whole. Therefore, it demands to be approached from that perspective.

In Colombia, combating narcotics production requires confronting poverty and socioeconomic exclusion of rural communities pushed by misery toward illegal economic practices.

This great conclusion of the discussions in Havana should not be overlooked, and in that sense, instead of blackmailing or threatening Colombia with decertification, the United States should show results in the pursuit of money laundering - which is the soul of the drug-trafficking, slow the flow to the poor periphery of chemical precursors, and help Colombia with the resources to formalize, distribute and title land to the peasants, ensuring the financing of alternative substitution plans agreed with rural communities. Support is needed with facts and not the rhetoric of the unsuccessful policy of the war on drugs.

The subjectivity of the ambassador cannot continue to confuse the poor peasants of Tumaco with the FARC, nor inventing that we are encouraging the cultivation. You cannot do politics or influence the continent with lies.

If the United States embassy wants to help consolidate peace, it cannot stay in the past with an unfounded speech that describes the FARC - just for political reasons - as an international terrorist organization. It is time to renew the vision of an organization that has fully complied with what was agreed in the Peace Agreement signed a year ago and that is engaged in an active dialogue with the United Nations, the European Union, the Vatican and other entities of the international community .

It is important to remember that the essence of the new agreement, in the matter we are discussing, is the agreed substitution, as a basis for solution, both to the socio-economic problems of the population involved, and to the socio-environmental problems that have been generated and which were aggravated by the spreading of a lethal poison like glyphosate, which - and it was about time - has been banned by France.

All this must be fully geared to the good development of the Rural Integral Reform; consequently, the successful implementation of the PDETs, the Development Plans with a Territorial Approach, should be fully implemented in all scenarios where there are crops of illicit use, because the process cannot remain confined to the emergency palliative represented by the Plans of Action Immediately, PAI.

Let the government say where we have broken the Agreement, because the ambassador has given the government of Colombia the responsibility to have said that. How many meetings with the peasants have we organised together with the Government? Indeed, we have been in the cocaleras zones with the President inviting the communities to the substitution.

How does the government want the substitution programs to be implemented without approving alternative criminal treatment law for peasants, which had been defined to facilitate linkage to programs without criminal sanctions.

In order to balance the programs and plans of the case, we must take into account that, although the results depend on the times and the agreement with the producing communities, the State must show greater efficiency and commitment to the spirit of the agreement. It is not appropriate to give in to pressures by giving free rein to forced eradication and the distribution of little resources that accentuate socio-territorial conflicts.

Affirmations such as those of Ambassador Whitaker deserve our rejection, we consider them tendentious and with the obvious purposes to reposition the failed policy of interdiction and aerial spraying. We also note in them the intention to argue an alleged violation of the Agreement on our part in order to place us outside the norm and unduly pressure in order to make a deal outside the Agreement.

In this field, there is a clear coincidence between the work of the Prosecutor Office and the work of the United States Embassy, with stories about lists, dissidents and desertions, as if the regulation of all this was not designed and conceived in the Agreement Final and in the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.

The claim of the United States Embassy and the Prosecutor Office to put us outside the Agreement, to demand criminal action and establish conditions for extradition, represents a task full of perfidy that does not acknowledge our strict compliance with all that we have agreed.

Moreover, it clearly has the purpose of hindering the process of reincorporation and affecting the political alternative that we represent today to face the country's great problems.

National Political Council - FARC