El Espectador, April 8, 2020

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The study indicates that the PDET (Development Programs Focused on Territory) municipalities, the ones most affected by the conflict and by poverty, “don’t have any capacity” to confront the coronavirus, “much less the social and economic effects of the quarantine.”

Several members of Congress representinCg different groups, in coordination with the United States Institute for Peace, on Wednesday presented an image with statistics on the advances in implementation of the Peace Agreement with the former FARC guerrillas. It shows, among other things, that at the current rate, reparation of the victims of the conflict could take at least 75 years.

The report that results from, among other things, 14 visits to the Territorial Locations for Training and Reincorporation (ETCR in Spanish), presents figures on the state of progress in implementation of the Peace Agreement, as of December 2019.

The study, which centered on the municipalities most affected by the conflict and by poverty, also reveals that the capacity of those populations to deal with the health emergency caused by the coronavirus, “is non-existent, and that the social and economic effects of the quarantine there are different from the rest of the country.”

In that vein, it indicates that, since last March 6, when the first case of COVID-19 in Colombia was confirmed, 14 social leaders and seven former combatants have been murdered, and more than 6,000 people have been confined or displaced in Cauca, Chocó, Norte Santander, and Nariño Provinces.

“In the first two months of this year, the number of former combatants murdered reached 14, an average of seven per month, exceeding the average of 4.8 former combatants murdered per month in the previous years,” reads the report.

In addition, it states that between 2017 and 2019, the rate of homicides increased by 25% in the municipalities where the Development Programs Focused on the Territory (PDET) were being implemented, and in the towns making use of the National Program for Substitution of Illicit Crops (PNIS), the increase was 21%.

All this with the aggravating fact that in eight of every ten PDET municipalities, there are no Judicial Police officials, and one of every three lacks a local prosecutor. For judges, the panorama is also worrisome: there are only six judges for every 100,000 inhabitants, while at the national level, it’s 11 judges.

“This is especially relevant, considering that in the other countries in The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCDE in Spanish), the average is 65 judges for every 100,000 inhabitants,” according to the report.

In the financial area, the report points out that to attain the stabilization of the territory and the accomplishment of the Agreement’s goals, they would have to be spending 4.67 billion pesos in the PDET municipalities. “Today they are only spending 90,000 million pesos a year; that means, only 1.36%,” the study states.

Regarding the legalization of land ownership, there are also differences in the figures reported by the National Land Agency (ANT in Spanish) and the Council for Stabilization (CEC in Spanish), “which makes it difficult to evaluate the advance in the area of commitments for awarding and legalization.”

Nevertheless, the statistics permit us to see that the advances fluctuate between 0.47% and 10.3% with respect to what ought to be done annually in order to reach the goal. “It’s worth remembering that the commitments in the Peace Agreement contemplate a goal of seven million hectares to be legalized in ten years, but that in the PDET municipalities, it’s seven years.”

The report also criticizes the government for prioritizing individual productive projects over collective projects. From August 2019 to today, those increased from 149 beneficiaries to 1,327, and as of this past January, 59.2% of former combatants were not connected to a productive project furnished by the government or supported by international cooperation.

“Between 2017 and 2018, 99,097 families were involved in PNIS. But still, in November of 2019, only 0.88% of the families have had access to productive projects,” the study points out.

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