The flash visit of the French head of State, Francois Hollande, to the Cauca region on January 24, opened a bottle of conflicting emotions among inhabitants of this Colombian region.
As if it was an April fools´ joke, the National Government sanctioned a new tax reform last December 28, after an intense controversy, leaving in the air the feeling that none, not even the Ministry of Finance that had presented it, was fully satisfied with it. The criticisms sprang from all sectors, although in the end the majority seemed to conclude that it was a necessary evil, to which we must be resigned to in any chase. Another toad that the country will have to swallow.
No other man in history has ever battled so much for the interests of mankind. Until the last moments of his life, Fidel serenely warned of the dangers that beset everyone on account of the greed of big capital.
In the morning of Wednesday the 28th, before heading for Havana, Father Carlos, a Jesuit, director of Villa Claver, the spiritual retreat house where we were staying on our trip to Cartagena, asked all present FARC delegates to gather in order to take a picture. With him and all the staff that works at the house.
And so the Havana Final Agreement was signed, this time in earnest, with no possibility for either of the parties to back down. It is final, and, above opponents of all sizes, nothing can stop the effects of the agreement. The armed struggle of the FARC is over, henceforth our only weapon is the word, said Timo with energy. And so it will.
Today we went to the Embassy of the Republic of Colombia in Havana. When walking through the door I could not help but to remember my international law teacher at the National University. By a fiction of law, the headquarters of embassies are considered part of the national territory, thus having inviolability status. I told myself that I was in Colombia, and so it was.
From the darkest of caves, violent attacks emerge against the possibility of reaching the end of the armed conflict in Colombia, that is, from violence in rural and urban areas, from piles of corpses, from the wounded and mutilated, the murdered by paramilitarism, the dispossessed of their land, the forcibly displaced persons, the prisoners, the disappeared, the exiled and the threatened. It's incredible, but the shouting of those opposed to peace are deafening.
Last June 16 died in Cali the prominent mathematician and Marxist intellectual Guillermo Restrepo Sierra. The community of the Universidad del Valle is still mourning because of this painful loss: for years, this professor has encouraged social struggles and academic debate in the largest university of South Western Colombia. From the distance, this is my humble tribute to him.