EL ESPECTADOR, April 18, 2023

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

We are collecting here some of the speeches and conclusions by Senator Iván Cepeda, Danilo Rueda, the High Commissioner for Peace, and Mauricio Lizcano, Director of the Administrative Department of the President’s Office (DAPRE), referring to the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

Today in Colombia’s Congress, Danilo Rueda, the High Commissioner for Peace in the Petro administration, was present at the debate on the political control bill because Senator Iván Cepeda summoned him to give an account of the implementation of the Peace Agreement signed between the government of Colombia and the FARC in 2016. Mauricio Lizcano, Director of the Administrative Department of the President’s Office (DAPRE) was also summoned to the meeting, and he also gave a presentation.

During his speech, the first one of the day, Iván Cepeda referred to the importance of the Final Agreement, as “one of the most significant landmarks in the process of building peace in our country”, although he admitted that there were serious difficulties in its implementation, similar to what had occurred in other countries that have gone through peace processes, as in the cases of South Africa, Northern Ireland, or El Salvador.

The Senator from the Historic Pact Party presented eleven conclusions that he considers fundamental for implementation. They include: assuring basic conditions and guaranteeing living conditions, safety, and stability for the signers of the Agreement; the National Development Plan must guarantee the programs and funds necessary for implementation; advancing the expansion of institutional capacity for implementation; and the High Commissioner for Peace and the High Council for the Implementation of the Agreement must guarantee that competent agencies investigate and punish the judicial cheating and circumventions against signers of the Agreement, the murders, threats, and harassment against them and the acts of corruption, robbery or misappropriation of funds destined for the implementation.

Cepeda ended his speech by citing Antanas Mockus: “If government funds and public funds ought to be sacred, funds for peace are sacrosanct.”

Next it was the turn of the High Commissioner for Peace, Danilo Rueda Rodríguez: “The ‘total peace’ is the consequence; it’s derived from the implementation of the Peace Agreement. That means that today we would not be talking about ‘total peace’ if there had not been that Agreement at the Teatro Colón.” The High Commissioner talked about the proliferation of violence, stating that when the Agreement was signed on August 6, 2016, there were three armed conflicts going on in this country, while now, according to the Red Cross, there are six. “The recycling of the violence is caused by the failure to comply with the Peace Agreement.”

“The National Agreement strips us naked as a nation, and that means seeing how corruption has been a factor that has generated and is sustaining the violence in this country. Will we be able to recognize our responsibilities and agree on the basic principles of a new democracy?” asked Rueda. “Everything we see, all of the extortions going on, the past thievery, is showing us that the peace was a chimera, that’s what people are saying.”

As to what has been achieved during the Petro administration, the High Commissioner stressed, among other things, the creation of four Campesino Reserve Zones, which are “a way of delegitimizing the use of violence for political ends”; and seven thousand hectares that have been turned over to the Land Fund. “It’s laughable, but in comparison, we have done a great deal,” he stated with respect to the delivery of land parcels.

After Rueda’s presentation, Mauricio Lizcano, Director of the Administrative Department of the President’s Office was next. “Nobody can doubt President Gustavo Petro’s unwavering determination to accomplish the Agreements,” he stated. He said that all of the Ministries have been instructed “clearly and permanently” by the President to take actions to support the implementation and thus make up “a peace cabinet”. “All the administration’s actions are actions focused on the implementation of the Agreements. It’s an Agreement by the nation, not by an administration.

“If you want to have “total peace” with other irregular groups, if you don’t comply with your first Agreement, it’s awfully hard to do it with the rest of them; only compliance generates the confidence sufficient to make new agreements,” Lizcano pointed out.

“Public policies are demonstrated in the budget. Many policy decisions that are made because of the Peace Agreements have not been funded. The Peace Agreement said that whoever substitutes their coca crop would receive funds for productive projects. Only 386 families received those funds in the last four years. The funds for carrying out the peace were never appropriated and there was no political will to carry it out,” stressed the Director of DAPRE. “In this administration not only has the political will returned, but the funds have returned also. Here at DAPRE we have allocated just for substitution this year, one billon and one hundred thousand pesos (roughly USD $222,000,000 at today’s exchange rates) and that amount will allow compliance with 50% of the commitments of those 99,000 families that didn’t receive compliance in recent years,” concluded the Director with respect to the funds appropriated for peace.

This entry was posted in News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.