(Translated by Steve Cagan, CSN Volunteer Translator)
By Congreso de los Pueblos
Bogotá, October 4, 2016
It was with sadness that we received the results of the plebiscite carried out on October 2, which turned down the signed accords between the national government and the FARC-EP to end the armed confrontation. And it was with concern that we received the news that President Santos understands what happened as an authorization to negotiate with the extreme right and make cuts in what was agreed upon in Havana. We roundly reject the path to a closed and elitist pact among the right-wing groups that will once again exclude the common people and that is a sure path to a new cycle of violence.
NO, mister President Santos: the more than 6 million Colombian men and women who said YES to the plebiscite did not vote for the government and less for a pact with those characteristics. It is not the government that represents us, nor much less some of the parties of the government that did nothing to make YES win. NO, mister Senator Uribe, not all the Colombian men and women who voted NO are reactionaries and warmongers like you; millions who voted that way are also in favor of peace and of a negotiated way out of the armed conflict, and it is not the Centro Democrático [Uribe’s party—SC] that can represent them.
Yes, an accord is needed. But not one among the elites who are allied against the people, and who have made the decision not to carry out the commitments made to the FARC and the ELN. What is being imposed on the country is a Great Peace Dialogue—that many of us have been proposing for a long time—that would transcend the goals of creating closed pacts among the government and political elites, and that would bring together all the social forces who continue committing ourselves to building peace.
Maintaining the bilateral cease-fire in the armed conflicts with all the insurgencies is a good panorama for opening the Great Peace Dialogue, within which are all the social, political, economic, spiritual and cultural actors, among the many who are working for a better country; it is the most democratic path. A path in which the roles of protagonists would be embodied by the people who are standing up, the people who voted YES, the people who said NO, those who did not vote, those who dream of a different country, in peace and a dignified life.
A Great Peace Dialogue, which would have to end up in a democratic consensus, is the path for a referendum on the Havana Accords, to facilitate dialogues with the ELN, and above all to generate a strong participatory dynamic, which would break the marked polarization that was evidenced by the plebiscite, opening the channels to allow a deepening of democracy.
We invite all the social, civil and democratic sectors, the political parties, the national government, the insurgencies, academics, churches, faith communities, business people, students, workers, homemakers, among the many men and women, to come together in that Great Peace Dialogue. But also, to mobilize and push forward with greater impetus the Dialogue between the government and the ELN as an opportune political stage to give life to the debate about reforms, changes, transformations, with the participation of our society, and whose results will be agendas that complement and give more strength to the Havana Accords that have already been agreed upon.
The minimal victory of the NO vote is not a defeat for the negotiated end to the armed conflict.
We call for UNITY of all the sectors and political actors of Colombian life, in order to continue defending the flag of peace, starting from political negotiation as the path for overcoming conflicts and for the participation of society as the motor for constructing peace.