By Cristhian C. Camargo (political scientist, Computense University, Madrid)
El Espectador, September 2, 2019
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
This is in response to an editorial titled “The Peace Goes Forward With Those Who Bet On It,” published on August 30, 2019.
Let’s start with the end. This anti-editorial won’t be disconnecting itself from the fundamental thesis that we need to follow: “betting on the peace”. Nevertheless, I think it necessary to make some brief observations.
No. Iván Márquez is not trying to produce a “terrorism media coup”. At any rate, we find ourselves looking at the development of a plan orchestrated for at least a year, where a weak and fractured dissidence, scattered and no longer ideologized, at the point of turning into a guerrilla that is trying, under the standard of Bolívar, to furnish a political appearance for a bunch of bandits out partying.
What are the fair dimensions that this announcement deserves? Of course, we ought not to maximize it. We are not looking at a “second Marquetalia”, but neither can we minimize this scenario, and that is why we must remember two fundamental questions that could decide the future of this insurgency and of the country for the coming decades: let’s remember, in the first place, it was Iván Márquez who received the most votes in the Congress for the founding of the former ”new party”, leaving Rodrigo Londoño in fifth place when the party’s national board was being formed.
Together with this fact, we have the choice of a name for the party, where during the voting by the guerrillas, the name pushed by Iván Márquez (FARC) was imposed against the proposal by Timo (New Colombia). That certainly not mean that all of the demobilized plan to take up arms again, but it does demonstrate the respect and appreciation that a large portion of the former guerrillas feel for Iván Márquez.
The second factor worth mentioning is the abandonment of the ETCR (Territorial Training and Reintegration Spaces) by the government, because there can be no doubt that Márquez will try to make up his army using the ex-guerrillas that live in those areas. President Iván Duque is very much mistaken if he thinks that this problem can be solved by putting a price on the head of Iván Márquez. In the present situation, the President only has two ways of beginning to create (better late than never) the statecraft that will characterize his government for posterity: I refer back to Machiavelli in saying that the country must be defended, whether with disgrace or with glory. Will Iván Duque start a war without quarter which can only end in the conquest of the monopoly of violence by the Colombian state? Or will he accept that he has to carry out the Agreements signed by the now-extinct FARC-EP, focusing special effort to achieve a successful reincorporation by the ex-combatants into civilian life?
Mr. President, it’s your call, and you only have two immediate choices. Announce your choice and act accordingly.