Letter from Clamor Social por la Paz

(Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN Volunteer Translator)

Source: Clamor Social por la Paz

Bogotá, Colombia, June 19, 2014
Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, 
President of the Republic
vRodrigo Londoño Echeverry, 
General Staff, 
Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista, Central Command, 
Ejército de Liberación Nacional
And Colombian society.

Mister President, Commanders, People of Colombia.
Mr. President of the Republic, you have been reelected because you have committed yourself to ending the armed conflict with the insurgencies through the route of negotiation, and because you have offered a peace with social justice, with profound reforms, which will lead to broadening democracy, establishing full exercise of human rights, and guarantees so that all the voices in the social and political world can be expressed. These are the objectives for which we have joined Clamor Social por la Paz (the Social Clamor for Peace).
The civic mandate for peace that was expressed in the election of June 15, thanks to the support of many social and political forces, and of organized civil society, demands structural reforms that permit us to overcome the causes of the armed conflict and of multiple other forms of violence. This mandate must be the heart and the force of a new social contract for the transformation of Colombia, with broad and decisive citizen participation to approve the accords by a referendum and to guarantee that they are carried out.

In order to accomplish this, the new development plan must be one of constructing peace with social justice. An economic model that has millions of Colombians subjected to poverty is no model for peace; a military doctrine that considers the citizenry to be an enemy is no doctrine for peace; excessive military expenditures that use resources that should go to education, employment and health are an obstacle to peace; repression of social mobilizations and their just demands is a mistaken response if we wish for peace; and the hateful privileges for a small elite, without guarantees of popular participation are conditions that work against peace.

To secure the public policy of peace we have to give it the character of a National Peace that brings together the largest number of different wishes and approaches the forces that have not yet joined into this national purpose. The National Peace Council that will meet soon will be able to contribute effectively to consensus and the coming together of social, political and institutional forces in order to turn the country towards peace.

In order to strengthen the social consensus around solving things through means of dialogue, we consider a bilateral ceasefire and end of hostilities to be critical. The first steps could be special agreements on removing mines, humanitarian corridors, respect for the peace communities and an end to every kind of action that affects the civilian population.

In this sense, we demand that the Government show more coherence between their peace offer and the way they conduct the war. The armed forces and the police have to proceed along the paths of reconciliation and peace.

We want to highlight the advances in the process of dialogue between the FARC and the Government, especially the agreement about the rights of the victims and the commitment by both sides that there will not be an “exchange of impunities.” Inviting the victims of the conflict to the preparatory forums and the negotiating sessions, so that their proposals for transitional justice and respect for their rights be guaranteed in the contents and the development of the peace agreements is a significant step forward which must be accompanied by a quick pace in the negotiations.

We’ll highlight the ELN-National Government announcement about the development of an exploratory dialogue, and their agreements about the themes of victims and citizen participation. We demand of the parties that they rapidly get to the negotiating table. Clamor Social por la Paz will continue accompanying this process is a determined way, as well as the one that is moving forward in Havana, and we are thankful for the reponse of Commander Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista of the ELN to our public statements.

Mr President and Commanders, you can count on Clamor Social por la Paz to continue supporting the current negotiating scenarios, working for a definitive end to the armed conflict, contributing to pedagogy and civic empowerment in order to support this process and to push forward the reforms and guarantees that are necessary so that the new country will be the one we dream of and that we need.

Clamor Social por la Paz

(This translation may be reprinted as long as its content remains unaltered and the source, author and translator are cited.)

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