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Monday, 05 February 2018 15:58

Rodrigo Londoño’s opening campaign speech

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Good afternoon, The People’s Alternative Revolutionary Force, the Party of the Rose, salutes, with true enthusiasm and joy, the people of Ciudad Bolívar.

This gigantic town of Bogota, which groups more than 700 thousand people, in more than four hundred neighborhoods, wages in its interior an anguished collective struggle for survival, a dignified life and the overcoming of enormous difficulties.

In doing so, we also extend our embrace to the entire Colombian people. We are that immense flow of men and women who dream of a better future.

We know that hope in political parties or movements is at its lowest. It is understandable; too many decades have been mocked by them with the same.

That is why the FARC presents itself to elections. To break with that logic in which politics is made to enrich oneself with the money of the people.

The FARC arrives to inaugurate a new way of making politics. A policy that puts ordinary people at the center of the State.

We are a handful of women and men who, after having waged a long armed struggle against the dominant powers in our country, signed a Peace Agreement with the Colombian State.

When we started our process of reincorporation into civil life and lay down our arms, we obtained the right to make politics with full guarantees of our life and freedom. Even so, the persecution does not stop: we have 37 DEADS and more than 500 comrades are still in jail.

But we do not cross our arms. The difficulties will not stop that overwhelming force of the people. In a country where dirty propaganda is responsible for muddying those who defend the poorest and forgotten, we do not hesitate to put our names, our candidacies and programs forward to an electoral debate.

And that's why, because of that identity we feel with the common people, we chose this town to launch our political struggle.

We know the history of violence and exploitation that gave way to the emergence of this sector of the city, which incidentally also includes a large rural area. We know how much they have struggled to obtain water, light, roads, health, transportation.

Nothing here has been given to them, not even the schools and colleges built by different administrations. Each meter of pipe or asphalt, each brick stuck with cement or each flood defeated, has been the product of common effort and work, of an anguished struggle to overcome. Even so, much is missing, and achieving this imposes a new challenge.

Many things are written and said about Ciudad Bolívar. That it is a place full of dangers, where in addition to poverty and misery, all evils exist. Gangs, drug addiction, micro-trafficking, paramilitarism, forced displacement and all types of violence. A community threatened by unemployment, informality and mining that threaten the environment.

A total absence of the State.

Maybe, like the great poet that was and will be, that's what Samurai sang to it. He sang with certain faith in the future: "Times of war, come and go, laugh for not crying, suffer, walk, sin, dream ...".

His painful departure and their strange death, which, like so many others, the moon of Ciudad Bolívar mourn, also bring to light the great things that nest here, and the hope for a better tomorrow.

In Ciudad Bolívar, the seed of the popular organization matures, the community of neighbors, the union of the mothers who are heads of household, the youth moving. From the hills surrounding it, its citizens contemplate every night, as if it were a lagoon of stars, the other Bogotá. The Bogota of the booming progress that has always been denied to them. Everyone has the right to enjoy it and they work to achieve it.

That is why the great importance of its projects of recovery of historical memory, its women's social organizations, the efforts of professors and groups of young people with artistic, cultural and environmental movements. All of them are responsible for showing that not everything here is violence and anxiety, as presented by the mainstream media.

There are a lot of good and creative people.

And it is, before all of them, that we present ourselves now.

It would be too extensive to try here a complete exposition of the causes generating so much injustice. But let's talk about the essentials. Not for nothing our country reaches the second place in inequality between rich and poor in our continent, in what only Haiti surpasses us.

And this is basically due to the fact that the State apparatus was designed and functions to serve primarily for the enrichment of that privileged elite. The country's economy is organized in such a way that the big capitals, the banks, the insurers, the construction firms, the large landowners and the mafias increase their fortune daily.

And it doesn’t matter that millions of Colombians lack the minimum possibilities of getting ahead. That the peasants migrate to the cities to swell the belts of misery. What counts is that the large agro-industrial export projects multiply and profit. There the poor should manage as they can, their laziness is the reason for their poverty. They think so.

And that State, at the service of the powerful, has been possible thanks to the control that professional politicians maintain about it of deceit and lies. In our country a corrupt and clientelistic machinery was built for decades. A market of favors for their own pockets. To old and corrupt parties, like the liberal or the conservative, other parties and movements followed. Always headed by recognized leaders of those same collectives, with names, colors and new symbols.

They barely appeared to renew Colombian politics, because in reality they sank it even more into the mud. The new figures, the real parties and leaders who worked for the most disadvantaged classes, without thinking of the interest of the capitals, always found a violent death.

Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, Jaime Pardo Leal, Luis Carlos Galán, Carlos Pizarro, Bernardo Jaramillo, among so many men and women.

The unpunished extermination of the Patriotic Union is a convincing proof of this practice.

Hence, our conviction that only by liberating the State from the hands of that old political class can the poor and needy of this country have a future. Colombia requires a new policy that puts the main emphasis on the working people, on their condition and human dignity, on their economic, social, political and cultural rehabilitation.

Our party does not come to stand as the magic formula of salvation. We come to propose a general awakening, an awareness, in the sense that changing things is possible.

Politics will be transformed from what it is today, into a noble and benevolent activity, when ordinary Colombians are its true protagonists, whether they take it over.

In our country only forty percent of Colombians participate in politics, that is, only 4 out of 10 compatriots decide the future of all others.

And we know that many of them sell their vote, or change it for small favors or big promises that remain in the air.

It is urgent that the 60 percent of absentees make a presence and be respected. We have to understand that if we do not make politics, we will always be dominated by the minority that deals with it.

We offer ourselves as the option of organization and unity of the common people. We are Colombian men and women who left everything to fight for the cause of our people. We risk everything, even life, to change things for them.

They accuse us of the greatest atrocities: it is just natural in a selfish and corrupt political class, accustomed to lying violently without mercy.

In the Agreements of Havana we agreed the formulas that will allow to know the true truth, an integral system of truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition, that we hope the oligarchy of our country let operate.

Then there are reckless accusations. We do not want to turn this campaign into a take and give of recriminations and insults.

The truth will come to the surface, and those responsible for reprehensible acts will pay for their crimes. We do not fear the truth, on the contrary, we are anxious for it to arise.

We believe that there are others who fear it, and how much so. That is why they continue with their sick repeated attacks against what was agreed upon in the Havana Peace Agreements.

There, the foundations were laid for an integral rural reform. So that men and women who do not have land and want to work it, can have it and receive the help of the State.

In addition they can rise their standard of living with real State assistance.

That the owners of wildly stripped land may be forced to restitute them moves an important sector to defame the agreed upon thing. In the same way that they oppose the investigation unit of the crimes of paramilitarism, agreed in Havana, because they fear that their names will be indicted when the investigations flourish.

A democratic opening was also agreed in the Final Agreement, so that the excluded sectors of politics can get organized and take part in it, with all kinds of guarantees.

This implies a political reform and a new electoral regime, reforms that in the Congress of the Republic were reversed, by the fear that traditional politicians have to the new forces.

It is not my purpose to raise here a memorial of grievances for the breaches of the State , which are numerous, because we are convinced that only fighting will get make them keep their word.

We have already signed a Peace Agreement, we put down our arms, we become a political party, no one can doubt our seriousness and willingness to comply.

That is why we are here, in front of you, presenting our names for your consideration, and inviting you to join the fight for a new country.

For this, it will be essential to choose a transitional government that manages to bring about an effective change from war and violence to a state of peace, reconciliation and social justice. That puts an end to the murderous hand in Colombian politics.

As from TODAY, I am a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic.

I represent my party: the People’s Alternative Revolutionary Force. And I promise to lead that transitional government, which creates the conditions for the birth of a new Colombia.

A government that will finally represent the interests of the poor of Colombia, that will work for them, without stopping.

To make that government possible we will need the help of millions of compatriots, willing to transform this country for the better.

That is why we extend our call to all political and social forces and movements, tired of traditional politicians.

Never like this time an election will be so decisive in Colombia, let us unite to win and we will succeed.

If there is something true is that common people are many more, what we need is to unite.

We have to shake, to help wake up those who have been deceived for so long. Every Colombian has the right, by the mere fact of existing, to his physical and moral integrity, to enjoy a dignified life.

Each one has therefore the right to a Basic Income, and we are going to guarantee it in our government.

There can not be a single Colombian man or woman whose work is not recognized. The nation will ensure that domestic work done by women, and some men also, has recognition and economic retribution.

It's just, that invisible and silent work of so many mothers has to deserve a payment.

We know that there is no peace with hunger, that is why we are going to fight it.

"That we can not", "that this is demagoguery and populism", we know that the privileged of always, the rich in this country, the owners of the greatest fortunes will say that.

We will tell you that yes, it CAN be done, with the strength of the people.

We believe that it is just a matter of elementary justice to level the burdens. Equitably redistribute the product of national labor.

From there, and from the fight against corruption that devours the national budget, in a sum that experts calculate at more than 50 billion pesos a year, can and should be obtained the resources that the poor require to live with dignity.

It was not the FARC that knocked down the Chirajara bridge, nor did we steal with impunity the Cartagena Refinery.

No.

We never took a peso from the State to give it to the richest, so that they would support our names in a campaign.

That is what the leaders of traditional politics do, who, like the Nule, now want to sue the State.

Colombia requires a true democracy.

May the voice of those below, those millions and millions of poor who have never counted, be heard and be able to decide on their future.

Let their clamor for social justice have an echo, let their defense of their rights as women, as sexual diversity, of water and the healthy environment, be taken care of and remedied.

ENOUGH to the corridors of death. Health is a vital right, and not a business for EPS and private capital.

That is what the political class that governs Colombia converted it in.

Let those who have money enough pay for it. In the same way that technical and university education should be public and free. Only education for change will make us a free country.

We do not want a country of hatred and resentment. We want a reconciled country, in which difference is respected and debated in a civilized way.

That requires a change in customs, a cultural transformation.

That is why we will direct an important effort to science, to scientific and social research, to art and culture.

Sports and recreation are rights and not luxuries.

We believe that social needs, roads and urban roads, pavements, housing, schools, schools, health posts, aqueducts and power lines that must be built are enormous.

That will demand a great national effort, in which the armed forces can contribute with love of country.

There are many things to change in Colombia, and I do not want to abuse more of your time and attention.

We will visit a number of places, where we intend to make ourselves known as what we really are, to listen and exchange with the profound and forgotten Colombia.

Each time we will expand our proposals for a new country, THE COUNTRY OF ALL MEN AND WOMEN.

This country that the great poet Carlos Castro Saavedra dreamed, where you can walk through the villages and cities without guardian angel, where lives shine more than weapons, where freedom enters the houses with daily bread, with beautiful letter, where the people meet and with their hands they create their dreams and their blankets, where we can say: WE HAVE A COUNTRY.

Long live the people of Ciudad Bolívar!

Long live the common people!

Long live Colombia!

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