I suppose that Ivan Gallo tries to provoke, as is usual in him, in the hope that the reaction to his note would elevate him to the category of controversial character, who does not have hairs on his tongue when it comes to tell the truth in the face of no matter who. A little like Fernando Vallejo, who comes out from the stage where he presents himself to insult, convinced that his petulance has more relevance than the truth.
I thought three times before responding. Perhaps it was better to keep silent in the face of the string of nonsense he writes in his column on Las2Orillas. There is no destiny that is not won over with contempt and nothing else deserves such an article. But in view of the fact that it is to keep the good name of the FARC, its leadership and our project, which is called into question, I am forced to express my points of view on this.
As a good agent of the devil, Ivan Gallo aims to divide. The decomposed dissidence that withdrew from ranks and departed from the process, does not count with any revolutionary cadre at all. Their leaders lack the minimum ideological, political and even cultural stature to assume the destiny they claim to pursue.
A man like Santrich, who, in the opinion of the writer, would meet the conditions to put himself at the head of a rebellion in need of a leader, would certainly be a gift. Fortunately for Marxists, these are not labelings of people completely alien to the struggle, inspired by petty bourgeois conceptions and careerists, which inspire their actions. The same way it appears clear that the external signs, the stereotypes that at some stage the insurgency had represented, mean in the head of Ivan Gallo the essential qualities of the revolutionaries. The dark glasses, the sarcasm, the aspect, the posing as hard and fatalistic, the absence of political tact.
While Timoleón Jiménez, in his opinion, is nothing more than an ignorant peasant risen to the stars, the same exact opinion the Colombian oligarchy had of Manuel Marulanda Vélez; the idol of Ivan Gallo is an intellectual, a cultured and artistic spirit of urban origin, with friction and style. Someone who also stands up alone against the oppressive class that enveloped and deceived all his other comrades, men of short mind and great personal ambitions.
Ivan Gallo almost declares with pride "Santrich is one of our revolutionaries". Someone who didn't agree with the course taken in the Havana peace process, as incorruptible as Robespierre. We have to take everything away from the ruling bourgeoisie, without any kind of mercy. Conceiving any agreement, although temporary with it, equals betrayal. The only destiny that fits the revolutionaries is to perish, for with their death they ratify the justice of their cause.
If the National Secretariat of the FARC, its Central High Command, its National and Plenary Conferences adopt a decision based on objective realities -which by the way is welcomed with joy by the immense majority of the Colombian people- is something that Ivan Gallo does not see, which leaves the columnist without arguments. For him it is a matter of disparaging the revolutionary leadership and the guerrilla force as a whole, in exchange for applauding Santrich who, according to him, is radically opposed to the Final Agreement. That's the man, that's what having guts is.
With such a pilgrim appreciation, he launches himself in a ridiculous manner against the FARC. Uribe, the former president and fierce opponent to the peace agreement, would not have done better. The fact that Jesus Santrich has made open declarations of his disagreement with the decision of the organization is undeniable at this point. But he continues to be in it, expressing his positions in democratic events, and in his own words, accepting completely the collective decisions, which have repeatedly been opposed to his positions.
I imagine that a democratic event, like the next Congress to be held, in which the FARC will found its new political party, must deal with the attitude assumed by Jesus Santrich. It is a normal and healthy thing that all revolutionary organizations have done throughout history. I am not going to start a public debate about it.
The truth is that some statements by Santrich do not represent the official position of the FARC. The movement believes in what it is doing and is very optimistic about it.
Being polite does not mean to renounce to be brave. Shaking hands with President Santos in an act like the one of the past June 27 [in which the FARC handed over to the UN the last personal weapons] was a gesture of nobility. The speech of the FARC's Commander left no doubts about the FARC's position. Only Ivan Gallo interprets such words as an expression of surrender and bowing. I don’t know anything about his history of revolutionary and armed struggles that would confer to him the authority to speak in such a way. It must be huge.
We have said that the FARC as a whole will undertake a national mobilization for the implementation of what was agreed in Havana and for profound reforms in the country's life. The experience of a war of more than half a century has taught us that it is not always possible to achieve everything as we wish, that new paths must be explored, especially when the whole nation, with known exceptions, calls out for the end of confrontation.
Insisting on war would have been a political harakiri. The five years of strong discussions with the neoliberal positions of the government, settled with a concerted solution without winners or losers. The stubborn hatred of the far right and its willingness to shatter what has been agreed upon, are proof that the content of the Agreements touches many interests of the dominant class. The obstacles and delays for their full implementation by the government that signed them also show how hard it is for the government to comply with its pledged word. As revolutionaries who rely on a people and on international solidarity, our commitment is to embark on a historical crusade for the implementation of the Agreements.
The possibility of opening up democracy in Colombia will depend on that, and to forever end political persecution and violence against the opposition. This will end up giving a huge role to the non-conforming in the future of the country. And this will bring about changes.
This will be the reason for our lives from now on. It is worth mentioning the issue of the freedom of our prisoners of war. Absolutely everyone should have already been out of prisons. We denounced it openly in the event of June 27. Santos swore in front of the whole country that he will comply the agreed upon up to its last comma.
The FARC as an organized and cohesive force are fighting for it and will continue to do so. To those who told us not to go ahead with the lay down of weapons until all of our prisoners were not free, we remind them that for many years, in the midst of war, and with weapons in hand, we held hundreds and then dozens of prisoners of war for whom we expected an exchange.
We didn’t get their freedom. Thanks to the Agreement a good part of them can today enjoy it today and the others will also be released. We will have to fight, yes, and we are doing it. With lawyers by denouncing the situation and with mobilization. With international pressure. Prisoners and their families work in the same direction.
Jesus Santrich's act of solidarity with the hunger strike of the prisoners is a personal decision, exclusively of his own, not decided by the movement. Santrich is a member of the CSIVI as a delegate of the FARC (the Follow up, Monitoring and Verification Commission). His place in the struggle is there, discussing and debating with government delegates.
In a weak and haggard situation because of the hunger strike, he will not be able to carry out the responsibility assigned to him by the organization. That does not make him more revolutionary nor more heroic than the FARC guerrillas who work day by day to carry out the plans drawn up by Conferences and Plenaries.
And much less makes him the messiah of the Colombian revolution, destined as Christ to the cross, as he himself proclaims, something that stirs even the most intimate nerve in Ivan Gallo.
But above all, this does not give any valid argument to the unfortunate writer to use the situation in order to attack thousands of men and women who left it all, gave everything up and endured everything, for decades, pursuing the beautiful dream of justice and equality for their people.
With these Agreements they will continue their struggle, knowing that a certain class of people never accompanied them and will never honestly accompany them. People of whom I don’t want to mention any specific name, because what I have said makes it clear who I am referring to.
June 29, 2017
Transitional Zone Mariana Paez, Mesetas.