On Thursday, May 15, the news of the death of two children by the explosion of a device one day earlier, which injured members of the national police, caused a stir because the official version states that the two children were the ones who launched the hand grenade to the police. It also says that both children had been used by the FARC to commit the action.
The FARC-EP and the ELN have repeatedly stressed the need to convene a bilateral ceasefire, to channel the peace talks towards an effective and early reconciliation among Colombians.
Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, May 4, 2014
The 24th round of talks has led to significant advances that put us on the verge of closing the third point of discussion: solution to the problem of illicit drugs. With our proposal on the creation of a Commission of Clarification on the Conflict, we have begun to prepare ourselves for the start of the discussion on the issue of victims.
Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, March 30, 2014
The 22nd round of Peace Talks has come to an end in Havana. Without any doubt, there has been progress and the achievements allow to assume that the obstacles on the path of reconciliation are being removed to the extent that the most urgent demands of the poor are expressed in the agreements: their fundamental rights, the determination to realize a Comprehensive Rural Reform that really provides the rural communities access to land, territorial rights, political participation without persecution, repression and death, in conditions of dignity and democracy, overcoming the structural causes of poverty and inequality as underlying causes of the political, social and armed conflict.
It is a fact that the achievements make us optimistic, always based on realism, but with the determination to do everything possible to reach this high purpose.
The debate and agreements about the third point of discussion, the problem of the Illicit Use of Drugs have been written on several pages of agreements, including, among other matters, the conclusions on the substitution of the illicit use of crops. The agreement should place the peasants, indigenous and Afro-communities (linked to the crops) in the foreground, as victims of a phenomenon which undoubtedly and fundamentally has to be fought in the marketing area, scenario in which the financial capital plays a leading role.
Definitely, the peasantry and other cultivating rural communities, consumers and the smaller segments of the illegal markets - including drug couriers and small vendors - are just victims and the criminalization and repressive and punitive treatment against them should stop. A new policy must be implemented, because "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world" as expressed in several reports on drugs, developed at the behest of the United Nations and other international bodies, adding that urgent fundamental reforms in regard to national and international policies of drug control are needed.
We have followed these guideline on our way to the agreements, even admitting that it is time to begin the transformation of the global policies of drug prohibition; it is time to replace the drug policies and strategies based on political ideology and convenience; to overcome them with responsible economic policies and strategies based on science, health, security and respect for human rights. Appropriate benchmarks for evaluation should be implemented, dedicated to the interpretation and the revision of international conventions, in order to adapt them to a solid experimentation with harm reduction, decriminalization and legal regulatory policies.
But this road requires the exercise of sovereignty, if we're talking about real peace, the peace of social justice, and not the peace of the tombs, the dream of those who admit - without any embarrasment - their interventionism disguised as "support" provided by the South Command, or who believe that using military force against the poor shows "forcefulness" and "vitality", while they are proud of the relationship of humiliating subordination now called "relationship between equals".
In the case of Colombia, it's time to listen to the communities. From them, the FARC, in order to elaborate its minimum proposals, collected the most significant initiatives, which we now see repeated in the important conclusions of the Agrarian, Ethnic and Popular Summit. Their positions coincide with the viewpoints of the most advanced sectors of the academic and scientific community which investigate the struggle against illicit drugs and drug trafficking.
These demands are an example of patriotic interest in what the future of the country and the construction of a more just society should be. Therefore, to meet them is to open the way to true democracy and peace as a synthesis right of coexistence in conditions of dignity and freedom. That is why the FARC-EP welcomes the increasing prominence of the Popular Movement in defining Colombia's destiny, exalts their demands and makes a strong call to restore the collective memory, to establish a Commission of Truth about the History of the Conflict and the ones who are responsible for it; to compensate the victims, building a commitment of justice, reparation and the obligation of non-repetition; to advance a constitutional process that - with everyone's help - will gather the necessary elements to shape the desired Peace Treaty, in order to reach the stable and lasting peace the country needs.
As a result of these reflections, hoping that this opportunity for dialogue we are now carrying out won't dilute in another frustration, and with all the faith in the potential of people to achieve the changes that the country needs, we will now read the following open letter to former President Ernesto Samper Pizano:
Ernesto Samper Pizano,
We have learned, here in Havana, about your request to include in the list of prisoners, who eventually will be sent to Colombia by the U.S. government, the names of Sim?n Trinidad and Sonia, guerrilla fighters of the FARC, deprived of their freedom for political reasons, in U.S. prisons.
Let us, Mr. Samper, acknowledge your generosity, your humanitarian awareness and consistent commitment to peace in Colombia. You've always had a firm and resolute position, based on humanitarian principles and civilized habits, in favor of the exchange of prisoners as consequence of the conflict.
We hope that your request, externalized in a forum on human rights, awakes in the Colombian government the same sensitivity that has led you to undertake this initiative. Without any doubt, it will redound to the benefit of the peace all Colombian people long for.
Since the beginning of the peace talks, we have asked the governments which are in the position to make the decision, to allow the presence of Sim?n Trinidad in Havana. He was designated by the FARC as one of the plenipotentiaries of peace, to contribute with his well-known wisdom and common sense to the construction of the agreement to end the protracted conflict in Colombia.
We are sure that the U.S. authorities understand that the accomplishment of this request, inspired by their decision to release dozens of prisoners at Guant?namo, will constitute an extraordinary and long-awaited gesture from the US government to peace in Colombia.
Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP
Six years ago, comandante Manuel Marulanda V?lez passed away in the Colombian jungle. In memory of his revolutionary life and work, the Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP in Havana, paid tribute to him with a document about his political ideas.
Fabi?n Ram?rez has a long experience in the struggle for democratic peace with social justice. In this exclusive interview he answers clearly and forcefully on various topics.
Havana, Cuba, March 5, 2014
One year after the death of President Ch?vez
All peoples of the world must unite in defense of the bolivarian revolution in Venezuela.
On March 5, 2013, the feelings and reason of the Venezuelan, Caribbean, Latin American people, and all the people of the world, were shaken by the unfortunate news of the death of Comandante and President Hugo Rafael Ch?vez Fr?as. As socialist and bolivarian revolutionaries forever, the comandantes and fighters of the FARC People's Army, suffer in the depths of our being, the overwhelming loss for the happiness of peoples, of the permanent absence of a leader with exceptional qualities.
The Lieutenant Colonel who became known worldwide when a handful of his men tried to take heaven by assault on that February 4. He carried out thereafter a formidable battle against all unjust powers of the world. He led the struggle of the humble people of his country for the recovery of national dignity. He regained the trust of all the exploited in the socialist revolution; without hesitation he opposed the will of the arrogant empire. With his own hands, he dug the path of continental integration, cornered the greed of his country's oligarchy and sowed confusion in neighboring nations.
Chavez, incorruptible leader, loved and followed by the people of Venezuela, symbol of national sovereignty and Latin American and Caribbean independence; the light that illuminated the path of liberation for the world's uprooted; the portentous rebel who disturbed kings and despots; the giant Libertador of the 21st century, is gone forever, leaving in us, who learned to admire him, support him and follow him, an agonizing feeling of orphanhood and grief. To continue the struggle without him, as happened to the FARC-EP six years ago, when Comandante Manuel Marulanda V?lez died in March, seemed to be an impossible task for a few moments.
But such Titans don't walk on earth without leaving an indelible footstep, without sowing their ideas, their dreams and their determination with real roots in people's souls. Ch?vez left behind him a conscious people, united by the righteous and egalitarian banner of Sim?n Bol?var, loyal to his anti-imperialist and socialist cause, socially and politically organized, ready to fight forever if necessary, to defend the country and its commons. And he bequeathed a legacy to the future: a group of cadres, as convinced as he was of the need to correctly lead the revolutionary movement. All of them, united and inspired by the example of their unforgettable teacher, assumed the mission of continuing until completing the project.
With an eye always focused on the future of a powerful country, integrated, together with its sister nations into a multipolar world, President Ch?vez was also responsible for creating the tool to achieve this end, the construction of institutions, inspired by elevated democratic values. The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, result of a broad Assembly, was further subjected to the approval of the majority of citizens in the polls, establishing in an incontrovertible way a legitimate legal framework for political action of Venezuelan men and women. Mass struggle, for the first time in Latin American history, became public law and strengthened itself infinitely, with the strong support of the Bolivarian Armed Forces, a veritable people's army of Venezuelan people.
Thanks to the forecasts of the Comandante, united under the slogan We are all sons and daughters of Ch?vez, the government of President Nicol?s Maduro, the brave bolivarian people, its advanced political organizations and its armed forces, confront - with courage and heroic patriotism - the onslaught of imperialism and the reactionary oligarchy that seeks to take the country back to the colonial times of the United States and a source of enrichment for the corrupt bourgeoisie. Thousands of times Hugo Ch?vez swore that they would never govern Venezuela again. Now his people and his followers in charge of the process and the government are determined to enforce that sacred oath.
It's not the first time that the Empire uses covert destabilization operations. It is clear that its cheating hand directs the terrorist actions of the extremists of the fascist right. There's no doubt that the disinformation campaign, run by North American, European and Latin American media monopolies, is a malignant and preconceived plan. The reality of what is happening in Venezuela is further distorted by diplomats and authorities of neighboring countries, lying prostrate before the imperial will. A real plot, similar to the one that was used against the socialist government of Salvador Allende in Chile, is launched against Venezuela now. It is inspired by the desire of transnational capital to regain control over the fabulous oil wealth.
All peoples of the world must unite and defend the Bolivarian revolution of Venezuela. Its democratic, humanist, Bolivarian, third-world, anti-imperialist, socialist, entirely fraternal and tolerant, change it into a moral and political heritage of mandkind. The FARC-EP, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of President Ch?vez, expresses its deep feeling of solidarity with the government of Nicol?s Maduro and the brave bolivarian people. Without any hesitation, we say we feel identified with your noble cause, we support it and definitely we will do everything possible to promote it. We invite the Colombian and Latin American left, and all people, to surround the Venezuelan democratic government unconditionally.
Comrade Ra?l Reyes, killed in Sucumb?os after a similar conspiracy which is forged today against Venezuela, said that Colombia's peace is the peace of the continent. This was recognized by President Ch?vez, who selflessly devoted his best efforts to achieve that purpose. In the memory of him and his work, we, the FARC-EP, now say that the peace of Venezuela is the key to peace in Colombia and all Our America. But like in our country, peace in Venezuela cannot be the Pax Romana imposed by imperial violence and terror, or by a bloodthirsty reactionary oligarchy. The only possible and true peace for our people is born out of full national sovereignty, social justice and the will of the majority of free people.
SECRETARIAT OF THE CENTRAL HIGH COMMAND OF THE FARC-EP
Colombian jungle, March 5, 2014.
Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, March 1, 2014
All Cuban heroes imprisoned by the empire should be released now!
The FARC-EP join the joy of socialist Cuba because of the freedom of Fernando Gonz?lez Llort, proud son of Mart?, one of the five heroes, who after 15 years of prison transcended the bars, without bowing to the injustice of the empire, and with the satisfaction of having accomplished his duty. We feel happy about the re-unification of this internationalist with the essence of his homeland.
The release of Fernando is the triumph of Cuba, and the end of his unjust imprisonment presages the collapse of the criminal blockade. There is no life sentence or blockade that can slow down a people born to be free and sovereign. Fernando is like Cuba; they don't bend their principles, based on the awareness that they are defending a just cause, full of humanity.
His loyalty to the revolution makes him and his fellow heroes a living example of revolutionary firmness. The empire thought it could punish and blackmail Cuba through the five, but their revolutionary spirit made clear that on Fidel and Raul's island nobody surrenders.
The Delegation of the FARC-EP, in Havana seeking peace with social justice for Colombia, joins the growing voices of solidarity in Cuba and the world which demand the return of all the anti-terrorist heroes.
Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP
JOINT COMMUNIQUE 32
Havana, February 13, 2014
The delegations of the Government and the FARC-EP report that:
We have worked steadily throughout this round of talks and have begun to construct agreements on the item "Solution to the problem of illicit drugs", specifically on the first sub-point, "Programs for crop substitution. Comprehensive development plans with community participation in the design, implementation and evaluation of substitution programs and environmental recovery of the areas affected by these crops".
Joint Communiqué of the Comandantes of FARC-EP and ELN: Official Paramilitarism?
The long experience of contacts and imeetings, in order to realize humanitarian actions or peace talks between government and insurgency, teaches us that when they are used by the State to carry out intelligence or military operations, they not only undermine confidence in the seriousness of the interlocutor, but also lead to failure of the purposes pursued by the approximations and meetings.