(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN volunteer translator)
As part of the meeting of the 18th Policy Commission on February 28 of this year, the Congress of the Peoples reaffirmed its commitment to defend promptly every effort that is being made at the negotiation table in Havana to put an end to the armed confrontation that Colombia has been enduring for more than 60 years. Secondly, we reaffirmed that, as social and political participants in this country, we are calling on the Colombian people to endorse the agreements that have been adopted at the negotiation tables and to build procedures for far-reaching mobilizations that are organized and active.
- The Congress of the Peoples reaffirms that the solution to the Colombian armed conflict must be accompanied by profound political and socio-economic transformations that can only be accomplished with decision-making participation by society, especially by communities and civic organizations that have historically been excluded from the construction and direction of the Colombian government and the nation.
- The Congress of the Peoples once again salutes the dialogs directed at the termination of the armed confrontation in the country, dialogs that are being carried out between the national government and the Colombian Armed Revolutionary Forces (FARC-EP) . Likewise we urge that a public phase of the dialogs with the National Liberation Army (ELN) be undertaken, and we demand that reconciliation with the People’s Liberation Army (EPL) be sought.
We support the insurgents’ decision to approach that stage. Through this political dialog, we should be able to unfold really democratic conditions for political actions by popular movements that provide socio-political rights and liberties.
We recognize the joint effort that the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC-EP are making to end the armed conflict. We reject the government’s attempt to use this as a tool to extend the iniquitous economic model that has failed and to neutralize social protests and mobilizations.
- Faced with the imminent signing of final agreements between the FARC-EP and the government, the Congress of the Peoples states that it will only support a referendum mechanism that the parties agree upon. Once the mechanism is agreed upon, we urge an affirmative vote to approve the general agreements signed by the government and the FARC-EP.
We urge the national government not to continue with unilateral activities, because that eats away at the juridical concepts that are possible, disorienting the citizens who support the dialogs, and it gives the extreme right militarists an opportunity to carry out activities that sabotage the process.
- The implementation of all of the agreements made by the government and the insurgency should be discussed seasonably—including with previous informed consent—with the organizations and authorities of the indigenous and Afro-Colombian people, the urban and campesino communities, as well as with the regional organizations, according to how directly they will be affected.
We call on all of the authorities and people’s organizations, as well as on the authorities in the Colombian municipalities, so that the implementation of the agreements can be translated into the strengthening of alternative public institutions for the various exercises of the citizens’ power. This goal should be met by building new instruments for popular autonomy, such as a new land use law and the recognition of popular entities for the planning and execution of public policy. That is the only way to guarantee decision-making participation by the society in the whole process.
The methods for localization of the insurgent forces in the phase of laying down their arms could have land use implications, but these should not affect the people’s governmental and territorial procedures in their autonomy and their capabilities. We call on the negotiating group in Havana to immediately set up the mechanisms for the required discussions; a similar procedure should be adopted for the other processes.
- We repudiate the effort by the national government to take advantage of the insurgents’ laying down their arms and the general cessation of armed confrontation to intensify the militarization of the territories. We call for a broader social mobilization against this unjustified action. The end of the war should mean the reinforcement of civilian self-government and territorial control by the communities themselves.
In the same way, we oppose the government’s attempt to convert the implementation of the agreements into a mechanism to carry out an anti-democratic tightening up of government procedures, weakening the local organizations and procedures that have resisted both neoliberalism and the war. That will stir up community conflicts and promote a piñata of resources to rebuild the supremacy of crony capitalism.
- It is fundamental that social organizations must reinforce the methods of dialog and unity in order to be able to carry out the agreements that strengthen procedures for public decision-making. The resolution of tensions related to land use is urgent, in order to avoid making this phase of the process worse.
- The national government still does not understand that the leadership and decision-making of the society is indispensable to assure the transition to democracy. The National Assembly for Peace—organized by the Petroleum Industry Workers Union (USO)–and the Social Roundtable for Peace—led by several of the most important social organizations in the country—are key settings for the development of that great National Dialog for peace that this country requires.
We condemn the fact that the national government and the business community have up to now been negligent regarding these proposals. They are ignoring the true possibility of putting together a fruitful negotiation with popular organizations that are heading toward adopting the changes that are necessary for peace. We insist on those.
Building new institutions for peace is something we will work for non-stop, beginning with the proposals that the different social sectors have been building during the last few years.
- The Congress of the Peoples will participate actively in the demonstrations planned for this coming March 17 and in the massive national strike that will take place soon. These large-scale protests and public resistance to a provocative and anti-public social-economic policy are a substantive contribution to the construction of a peace with social justice.
XVII National Policy Commission