By creating an autonomous and independent webpage, the FARC-EP aims to provide journalists and the society with its own version of events, alternative point of views, opinions, debate
Havana. Those accustomed to navigate in the FARC-EP Peace Delegation’s webpage will have noticed the page has recently changed. Clearly much of the page continues to be dedicated to the developments of the current Peace Talks in Havana, Cuba. It couldn’t be otherwise, given that after almost 4 years of talks, peace seems now really clear. There is still much work to do, as members of the FARC-EP delegation point out, yet step by step the 6 points on the agenda (Agrarian Development, Political Participation, End of Conflict, Victims, Implementation, verification and countersignature, Illicit drugs) are being agreed on.
Communication has always been a crucial issue for the guerrilla movement. It has been fundamental during the war to counter the blatant lies written in mainstream or government-controlled media. Though difficult, the guerrilla has always tried to put the record straight about its actions, army actions, incidents etc.
Now, when peace appears to be closer than ever, the FARC-EP is drawing on the experience of social movements and civil society organisations in what was sum up with a slogan, “be your own media”. By creating an autonomous and independent webpage, the FARC-EP aims to provide journalists and the society with its own version of events, alternative point of views, opinions, debate. Not a propaganda page, as the people working on the page underline, but an alternative to mainstream media.
In the new page there is a section dedicated to news from Colombia. Here one can find news about communities, civil society organisations, peasant and afro-descendent groups, trade unions. This page will be an opportunity for those who hardly manage to make themselves heard as mainstream media are not there to listen to them. The new page will use a variety of direct sources – on the ground sources – to provide first hand information.
Clearly communication would be a crucial issue in the post-conflict environment Colombia will hopefully be experiencing. To be able to create a platform for discussion and debate as well as to provide first hand information is one of the target of FARC-EP. Indeed the very proposal of a Constituent Assembly which should discuss and ratify what has been agreed in Havana went in that direction: the guerrilla movement wants and needs the widest participation, because only through inclusiveness a just a lasting peace could be achieved.
Peace is not only the absence of war. It is about sharing grieves, identifying and taking responsibilities, establishing the truth of what happened in order to move forward. This is what the guerrilla movement is working on in Cuba, together with the government. The FARC-EP will turn into a political movement once the time is right, and this means the need to have a proper communication structure, so to be able to reach the widest possible audience to explain its projects, ideas, visions, proposals for a new Colombia.
The new page will continue to follow the developments of the Peace Talks while feeding at a same time a section called background where one can find articles and features helping to put not just the 50 years long conflict but also peace talks into context. Interviews and stories of people, struggles, community victories, victims. All of this aimed to built an inclusive future.