By Patricia Lara Salive

El Espectador, August 16, 2019

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

Twenty members of Colombia’s Congress, part of the Peace Caucus in both houses and led by Juanita Goebertus of the Green Party, presented a 120-page report on the implementation of the Peace Agreement in President Duque’s first year. Its points need to be answered one by one by the government, especially if you consider that the Congressional signers belong to the parties that constitute a majority in the Congress: the Liberal Party, the U, Radical Change, Green, Democratic Pole, and Decency Movement.

The report takes note of the fact that 57% of the regulations that are indispensable for the implementation of the Peace Agreement have not yet been introduced in the Congress; that the goal of the Peace Agreement is to turn over and title ten million hectares of land to campesinos, but that “only 73,000 hectares have been titled and turned over”, representing 8.7% of what was supposed to have been done; that according to Plan Marco[1] the implementation of the Agreement would cost the country around $139 billion pesos (roughly USD 46,373,330) in the next 15 years and that President Duque “proposes in his 2020 budget to invest $9.8 billion pesos (roughly USD 3,260,000) for areas related to the peace”, but when you look at the budget, you see that “around 40% has to do with programs of general interest, with social impact, but not focused” on peace; that for the principal agencies and institutions that would transform the countryside, their budget has been reduced by between 17% and 7%; that $4.6 billion pesos (roughly USD 1,533,333) should have been invested to meet development goals in the PDET, but only $56 million pesos (roughly USD 1,866,666) is budgeted; that the 16 Congressional seats that are promised for the victims in the Agreement have not been created; that there has been no complete reform of the political system, nor have there been any measures planned to register voters in rural areas; that 83% of the combatants who laid down their arms have, as of today, no access to productive projects; that 94% of the 99,097 families signed up with the National Program for Substitution of Illegal crops are carrying out systematic eradication of coca, but only .07 percent of those families have had a chance to take part in productive projects; that removal of land mines has been reduced, and that removal is fundamental to continuing a serious manual eradication process; and that during the year the Duque government provided reparations to 56% fewer victims than the average annual number of victims who received reparations since Statute 1448 was promulgated.

All of these are fundamental observations. Furthermore, the document makes an important proposal, one that merits the government’s immediate attention: creation of “a multiparty group that would push ahead with the legislative bills and constitutional reforms necessary to advance the implementation of the Peace Agreement.”

Why doesn’t President Duque pay attention to that proposal by the majority caucuses in the Congress, sit down for discussions, and start really and truly to work with this group that has organized so many members of Congress? Isn’t this an opportunity to do that?

[1] Plan Marco de Implementación, the implementation plan contained in the Peace Agreement.ómico/3932._Anexo%20B_Plan%20Marco$20de%20Implementación%20(PMI).pdf

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