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Find here a selection of opinion, background and analysis on the social, political and economic situation in Colombia.

A Big Problem

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And they keep killing them. As this newspaper explained in its magnificent editorial a few days ago, the killing of two activists of the FARC, which joins an already long list of events (54, according to the organization), does not announce anything good.

If the State proves incapable of stopping this bleeding, appealing to well-known rhetoric, we are facing three great, serious and easy to understand consequences.

First, the forces that are carrying out such killings will understand that they can continue to operate, which will inevitably lead to further attacks. What people have to put in their heads is that to find ourselves in a scenario of physical destruction of the FARC - which we have to avoid at all costs - does not require a master plan, but rather the existence of diverse structures of power well connected and with the will to shoot against it, on the one hand, and the impotence -complied or genuine- of the State, on the other.

Second, this (along with the analogous phenomenon of the assassination of social leaders) has the potential to ruin the peace process. Of course: the success or failure of a process is not easy to assess. Almost always, serious evaluations show mixed results. However, if they keep killing the demobilized fighters, that can only be considered as a major failure.

Third, symmetrically it would be a disastrous precedent for any other peace process here and in the future. If we continue like this we will have evidence of the incapacity of the State to fulfill the word it has given, and of the lack of preparation of our society - as the aforementioned editorial says very well - to live in peace.

In particular, the power of conviction of the government delegation negotiating with the ELN is directly proportional to its ability to provide credible guarantees on critical issues, such as the lives of the demobilized former fighters.

And it is not only the ELN, but multiple factors of violence, against which the Colombian State needs, and will need a policy in the future.

For something that many commentators forget is that even the implementation of military options must start from politics, if we do not want to resign ourselves to live in an eternal war.

In fact, the story of ELN itself provides a spectacular example of this. That guerrilla was almost destroyed during the Anorí operation in 1973. To this was added a great weakness resulting from terrible internal dynamics. However, it ended up being reconstituted and becoming a powerful force in the 1980s. And notice: it continues to operate today. These things are never ending.

Moral: the sheer bullet was not enough. It never is.

If Colombians, and in particular certain social and political sectors, are not able to learn this simple lesson, we will be condemning future generations to stupid and destructive violence.

So inevitably a real policy is needed. But the minimum requirement to carry out any policy that deserves that name is that you must be believed.

The reader will ask himself: do the FARC counts stand? In principle, I would tend to accept them, among other things because their leadership has a strong incentive to show the base that the process is working.

In general, it has been prudent when producing negative statements about it. Also, as far as I know, nobody wanted to deny the figure. Of course, any count can be refined. But if the number of homicides falls by those sides (let's say around 50-60), we are talking first of all of an exceptional phenomenon (no other political current suffers by far the same number of lethal attacks, let alone controlling bysize), and second it is a phenomenon clearly getting out of hands.

For all this, one would expect that many actors (among them, critically, the State) were preparing a serious and forceful response to the murder of members of the FARC.

Source: El Espectador

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