By Oto Higuita
The assassination of Jorge Eliecer Gaitan on April 9, 1948, instigated by the same discourse that today incites hatred and calls death, was used to launch a war of extermination against a liberal people who was persecuted, expelled from their land and homes, betrayed and abandoned by the leaders of the liberal party, and that one day said “enough” and rose in dignity and arms against conservative power, to defend their lives, their property and their families.
We continued with new actors, in a war that is now beginning to come to an end, and with it will come the historic and resounding defeat of the NO camp in the plebiscite, a defeat of those saying no to the Agreements of Havana.
We are at a defining moment that will chart the direction society, the State and institutions will take. This unique moment and whatever happens will forever change who we were and what we can and want to be as a society and State.
The historic armed uprising in Colombia, not an aim per se, reaches his final days. They are not all but there is no turning back, stubbornly insisting it would be a suicide that nobody wants, except those interested in perpetuating the war against an entire people.
Three hard facts will defeat this criminal way of doing politics that lasted for many decades in Colombia. With them the “uribismo”, the Democratic Centre and the extreme right, face the end of their cycle of domination and influence in the political life of Colombia.
The Conference of the FARC-EP, between 13 and 19 September, the highest decision making body of the guerrillas, will most likely ratify the agreement and decide to move from being a rebel army to being a legal party or political movement. It is an incontrovertible fact for the skeptics who always deemed the FARC to be unable to change and make the transition into a political movement, given the conditions and guarantees for this step to be taken.
The signing of the General Agreement ending the conflict and to build a stable and lasting peace will seal the end of the long cycle of confrontation between the FARC and the Colombian government. The world and Colombia will witness and corroborate what the entire Democratic Center and the extreme right always prevented from becoming a reality.
The bilateral and permanent ceasefire and end of hostilities, that both sides declared, will be another concrete demonstration that reconciliation is indeed possible between brothers and two forces that were enemies for more than five decades, fighting each other relentlessly, causing each other losses, while at the same time an immense tragedy was growing, that affected millions of Colombians who were not part of the confrontation, today recognized with dignity in the Agreements as Victims entitled to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition.
The concentration of the fronts of the FARC-EP in the 22 Transitional areas and 6 camps where the guerrilla will decommission all weapons to the United Nations will be another significant event that will leave no arguments to those who wish to return to war.
The plebiscite on October 2 will be the most important political decision that the people will take after more than 60 years since the last plebiscite was done in 1957. It will be the mechanism of popular participation that will give legitimacy to the Agreements reached and the end of armed conflict.
All these political events, will play in favor of a convinced Yes, leaving the No camp with nothing new to say in its campaign except from the lies and myths that it has been spreading about the Agreements and the end of armed conflict.
The ethical imperative for the Yes in the plebiscite will be the majority popular manifestation that it is preferable to have imperfect and incomplete agreements rather than the continuation of a war that left an immense humanitarian tragedy, division, intolerance and hatred.
The majority participation in the plebiscite and the society verification and siding to the agreements in its implementation and development will be the guarantee that what has been agreed after so many deaths and so much effort was not in vain.
Therefore, the conquest of peace cannot be an exclusive affair of Uribe or Santos, but a collective construction of Colombians and it is our biggest challenge at the moment.