Yes, it’s peace agreement signing time again in Colombia. If you have been overwhelmed by the presidential elections in the US then you’ll be forgiven for having missed the issues at stake here for Colombia’s Peace 2.0.
Background to Colombia’s Peace 2.0
Having hammered out a peace agreement which was negotiated from November 2012 until well in to 2016 and then signed before great international fanfare in Cartagena on September 26, the agreement was sent to a referendum on October 2 which was then rejected by the voting public set against a backdrop of dirty tricks (both sides guilty), confusion and the effects of hurricane Matthew which deterred people from turning out.
The points of the peace agreement with the FARC:
- Agrarian Reform
- Political Participation
- Illicit Drugs
- Victims of the conflict
- Ending the conflict
Obviously there were some thornier issues within each point on the agenda and the most trying one was of course Victims of the Conflict/ Justice. For an excellent summary of the whole process, please read Colombia Reports.
Why is this Colombia’s Peace 2.0?
Well, after the first agreement was rejected, the government, the negotiating teams and those in the No campaign worked tirelessly for 40 days and 40 nights (nicely biblical you’ll agree) to find some sort of middle ground which worked for all sides. 56 of the 57 points brought forward by Messrs Uribe, Zuluaga, Ordoñez, Ramirez et al have now been addressed and incorporated into this new agreement due to be signed at the Quinta de Bolivar in Bogotá on November 22.
What was changed to Reach Colombia’s Peace 2.0?
To see the full changes side by side in a nifty program, check out this link. There are significant changes to the section of transitional justice – there will be no interventions made by international judges, if there is any involvement by international judges it will be limited to that of observation. A great number of changes have been made – in a hat tip to the Catholic Church, Evangelicals and Ordoñez – to mentions made of gender and LGBTI equality. Presumably family values will now occupy a mainstay place in the new agreement. It will become more difficult to expropriate private property. One wonders where these limitations will find their start and end since so much land has been “absorbed” into grand hacienda-style cattle ranches belonging to many good friends of the ex President Uribe. The FARC will now have to declare their net worth and this wealth will be incorporated into financial reparations of their victims. Everyone who is accused of crimes in the conflict will appear before the Transitional Justice Tribunal, and if they confess all and reveal all immediately, only then will they receive 5-8 years of “restriction of liberty”. This will still give a huge incentive for everyone to reveal all of the truth about the 50 years of violence. The implications as far as businesses and third parties are concerned is slightly unclear. The Tribunal will last 10 years. There is a 2 year limit for accusations to be presented before the authorities.
What’s at Risk?
In short, it’s the same old story really. If you want to read about another harrowing episode of violence in Colombian history, see what happened to the Union Patriotica political party. Only recently I had the opportunity to travel to the Lozada Guayabero region which is between Caqueta and Meta and has been a flash point for paramilitary, guerrilla and state violence. On Friday November 18, one of the Campesino leaders who I had the good fortune of meeting and speaking with was gunned down and killed. RIP Erley Monroy. While we live a privileged life in the city with the commodities and comforts far away from the reality of the countryside, there still remains a serious threat to life and survival in Colombia’s outlying areas. There’s zero effective state or institutional presence. And how does one respond to tweets written and published by the Mayor of San Vicente de Caguan in such a flash point region?
I suppose you could reply as Aida Avella (a survivor of the Union Patriotica massacres) did…
Troubling times indeed. Colombia’s peace 2.0 is on the cards.