Voting No to plebiscite is the same as asking for the compromises to be reoriented!
A lady from the town of San Juan del Cesar told me that she was asked a question by her daughter who was forced to abort once her pregnancy resulted from rape by ringleaders and this lady replied to her daughter that her victimizers would not be jailed, could become mayors and councilmembers, and used to say they had nothing to regret or to apologize about. That girl ended the conversation with this sentence: “Mom: And am I being asked to forgive?”
Instead of getting peace, awarding prizes for crime reproduces criminals.
The Colombian government has used this peace process to bring discredit upon our democracy in front of both Colombians and the international community. Latin America’s oldest and less interrupted democracy, which has overcome all imperfections without capitulating to terrorists, is now equalized to dictatorships and FARC narcoterrorists are now considered a legitimate civil insurgent group such as those that fought dictatorships. Our Armed Forces, who always set an example of democratic spirit, are being peered with terrorists, subjected to their court of law, forced to admit crimes not committed by them to avoid being jailed, and deceived by official lies, which deprives them from any legal relief.
The Colombian government has encouraged a campaign against more than two million farmers and cattle ranchers who are victims of narcoterrorism. For example, farmers have been lowered and downgraded to masterminds of murders and displacements of peasants, by FARC’s attorney Santiago statements, the lands act – which leads to rural “machete” wars –, officially sponsored land invasions, and the text from Havana deals.
The Colombian government disguises its indifference to people’s longings by means of an agreement based on agrarian demagogy intending to collectivize the agricultural and livestock sector and to destroy productive farmland. That is how Castro and Chávez started: they left their peoples in starvation and then destroyed the whole industry and economy, chased the entrepreneurs out, and ruined the workers. The honest countryside citizens refuse to see their lands expropriated and claim better conditions to make them more productive.
The Colombian government is discussing the farming model with FARC, a group that has been the farming sector tormentor. Nevertheless, the Colombian government reduces the 2017 budget for investment in agricultural and livestock sector and, in the last years, overspent great amounts of money.
The Colombian government commits itself to declare FARC’s rural areas as peasant reserve zones, but ignores, for instance, Eastern Plains people’s claims for title deeds of lands historically worked by them.
The Colombian government denies to be supporting Castro’s and Chavez’s ideas, but paves the way for them. At the beginning, Chávez denied Castroism. At least, FARC group does admit its Socialism of the 21st Century doctrine.
The Colombian government lies to civilians by announcing that only crime masterminds will be subjected to FARC’s court, despite that, according to the peace deal text, all those directly or indirectly involved in the so-called conflict are obliged to be subjected thereto.
The Colombian government accepts the terrorists’ court of law, instead of reforming the judiciary by establishing double instance, mandatory and temporary review actions, and impartiality assurance by judges.
This peace process awards terrorists jail exemption for those mainly responsible for atrocious crimes in a country where more than 100,000 convicts are serving jail sentences for crimes that are not as serious as those committed by FARC. This peace process awards terrorists eligibility for politics, which the abovementioned convicts, paramilitaries, and politicians who lost their investiture are not entitled to. This peace process awards terrorists the prize of accepting money laundering from drug trafficking as an unpunishable crime committed by FARC, the world’s number one cocaine cartel.
There is no reason to justify that ‘Timochenko’ may run for senator or president or that ‘Joaquin Gómez’ may run for governor of La Guajira. Even though they were formerly given all the opportunities under our democracy, they chose to continue to kill. ‘Braulio Herrera’ and ‘Iván Márquez’ were Congressmen and mixed politics with violence, being one of the reasons why Unión Patriótica members were exterminated. ‘Iván Márquez’ came back from his hideout in Venezuela where he used to order kidnappings and car bombs from.
FARC, by means of its money, may replace all weapons it decommissions. Under politics, FARC will create distortion to buy votes, which is something greater than the incumbent Colombian government’s “carrots.”
A young man from Villanueva, La Guajira complained about money contributions to guerrillas. I told him I saw no problem with that and he angrily and reasonably replied to me that those monies should come from FARC’s wealth.
This peace process makes FARC become a paramilitary group partnered with the State to fight other wrongdoers – as it formerly happened when the State was linked to drug traffickers, such as ‘don Berna,’ who were then said to be paramilitaries –, based on the excuse that it will fight other drug traffickers, resulting in an irremediable breakdown in institutions. Having people used to committing crimes as bodyguards is a very serious risk.
This peace process makes FARC group become an interlocutor to discuss women’s rights, although its guerrillas have systematically raped girls who have been thereafter forced to abort by threatening them with guns.
This peace process has been marked by the pack of lies told by the Colombian government that – after denying impunity – justified that main masterminds of crime are not jailed, proposed a referendum, and, in order to circumvent its threshold and the obligation of a question for every topic, adopted the idea of an only one-question plebiscite whose threshold was reduced to 13%, with the help of the State bureaucracy, terrorists’ weapons, and intimidation of public servants and civilians. Lies have been told by the incumbent Colombian government that accepted that ‘Timochenko’ may run for president of the Republic of Colombia, despite that he had represented and warranted that guerrillas could not run for congressmen. The Colombian government’s discourse hided that, apart from the seats guaranteed in Parliament, FARC will be given other 16 seats resulting from exclusive electoral districts for its candidates or related parties.
Under this peace process, the Colombian government’s sole limits and redlines have been the timings for formalizing both the prizes for crime and the peace made its way to justify an administration that eroded investors’ confidence, declined the economy, overspent earnings from prosperity, and brought difficulties to sustain social policies. The Colombian government is in a rush to approve the plebiscite in order to thereafter pass another tax reform, spend more, incur more debt, and jeopardize fiscal rule and economy stability.
Under this peace process, the Colombian government decided to accept that San Andrés archipelago was cut up so as not to upset Mr. Maduro and Mr. Ortega, FARC’s partners.
By submissively signing the peace deal, the Colombian government intends to hide and be indifferent to the undernourished children in La Guajira, the abandonment of Chocó, and the community concerns. This government will express, abroad, all the contrary to the current misgovernment of Colombia.
The Colombian government gives all to FARC and denies everything to honest Colombians such as transport carriers, people from Chocó, road toll payers, beneficiaries from SaludCoop or Caprecom (two health promoting entities plundered by corrupted politicians), workers, or entrepreneurs under stress by inflation and taxes. Only those who get benefits for supporting the plebiscite appear to be entitled to something.
Future courts, congresses, and governments may void this impunity process. A constituent assembly would not salvage this impunity process because the International Criminal Court rules and the American Convention on Human Rights would continue to be in force. Furthermore, if Colombia withdrew from this conventions, those responsible for atrocious crimes would be facing jail in any country adopting the more and more invoked universal jurisdiction doctrine, making prison unescapable for those who committed crimes against humanity.
The fact that international community officials support impunity for FARC, despite that they refuse to accept it for terrorists in their countries, is very surprising.
Any award for crime results in further crime. The greatest wrongdoers who neither apologize nor regret about their acts make fun of the pain inflicted (https://www.facebook.com/AlvaroUribeVel/videos/10154563119629558/), are not even imprisoned in farms, humiliate both victims and society, and set the atmosphere for rancor, not for reconciliation. Those who support this impunity process for guerrillas would neither accept it ever for paramilitaries, whose massacres are not different from those committed by FARC guerrillas, nor ask for freedom for all imprisoned Colombian convicts, in spite of their valid criticism to the jail infrastructure crisis experienced in Colombia.
A fair punishment helps to dissuade people from committing crimes and cannot be considered only in reference to whether or not it is useful to correct a punished wrongdoer’s behavior.
The ELN, criminal gangs, and FARC dissidents may now continue to increase the number of their victims, as they will surely be awarded a prize.
The Colombian government has admitted to have invoked the 1949 Geneva Conventions in order to give all compromises reached with FARC the unamendable status of constitutional rule. Geneva Conventions are meant to de-escalate cruelty in armed conflicts, not to protect the various topics discussed in Havana. It is unfair and risky for Colombia’s future to create such a rule rigidity experiment, despite that FARC group has always violated Geneva Conventions by massacring civilians, attacking ambulances, hijacking commercial aircrafts, using people with collar bombs, etc.
Nobody is raising objections to peace. According to our Constitution, nobody may question it. We, many Colombians who joined the Civilian Resistance, will oppose to plebiscite and insist on a stable peace without risk for liberties.
Based on arguments, we will pursue an austere campaign for No to FARC’s and government’s plebiscite. We will put heart and soul into tackling both the government’s traps and the abovementioned armed group’s intimidation during this debate.
Colombians: National agenda is not the terrorists’ agenda. Democracy must be defended with courage.
Álvaro Uribe Vélez
Santa Marta, Friday, August 26, 2016