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FARC-EP: We Need People’s Participation in Peace Talks

he Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) issued a fourth reflection in which they highlighted the importance of people’s participation in the peace process.

Tanja Nijmeijer representative of the FARC at a press conference in Cuba. Photo by Prensa Latina. representante de la FARC en conferencia de prensa, Cuba

In the text, they explained in detail the points agreed to with the Colombian government for the dialogue, the beginning of which is scheduled for November 15 in this capital.

The FARC-EP said that in the General Agreement to end the conflict and the establishment of a stable and lasting peace, “both sides agreed on paying attention to the clamor from the people for peace, taking into account that its establishment is an issue that involves all of society.”

Participation of everyone, without distinction, including other guerrilla organizations (National Liberation Army) that were called to join the efforts to attain this goal, has been placed as the main aspect of the democratic nature that the process should have, the text said.

For the guerrillas, it is a good decision not to consider war and peace as exclusive issues of the government.

“It is truly great progress in the search for social justice and reconciliation, simply because its essence is to pave the way for democracy even within the warlike atmosphere maintained by the government,” they said in the text.

They called Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’s decision sensible, “to negotiate through his spokespersons a total willingness to reach an agreement and calling upon all of Colombian society, which should be the main protagonist, to participate in this undertaking.”

In the FARC-EP’s opinion, the new process should be enriched with people’s criteria and in general with their feeling.

All the people’s sectors should demand to participate and make their decisions, raising their voices to present their proposals right now, they said.

“We need the people, the fundamental constituency, defining the course of the talks right now,” they remarked in the reflection.

In the search for peace, with people’s participation, we are trying to find “the keys to put an end to the disastrous capitalist predation.”

FARC-EP press conference in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday November 6, 2012. Photo: Prensa Latina, Cuba

The guerrillas repudiated in their text the assassination, a year ago, of the top FARC-EP leader Alfonso Cano, as well as President Santos’ public confession, admitting “to have commited a crime against humanity.”

The guerrillas highlighted that it was a marked violation of the “all the humanitarian international law, all the regulations for wars and all principles of decency…”

They wondered whether the assassination of Commander Cano, “who was making progress in a peaceful rapprochement with the government,” is being investigated, because “the situation deserves it.”

They urged “all of Colombia to become a territory for peace talks, justice and reconciliation.”

The FARC-EP also exhorted the government to explain the proceedings, mechanisms, methodologies and dynamics that will facilitate the different social expressions of the people in developing the negotiation process for peace in Colombia, with all the resources and guarantees it requires.

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