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The Most Beautiful of All Battles

We published here the full text of the speech delivered yesterday in Havana by FARC-EP chief negotiator, Ivan Marquez

We have closed today in Havana, Cuba, the most desired peace agreement of Colombia. Land, democracy, victims, politics without arms, implementation of agreements with international monitoring, are, among others, the elements of an agreement that will have to be made sooner rather than later by the primary constituent in a legislation guaranteeing the future of dignity for all.

 

We can proclaim that the war with arms ends and the debate of ideas begins. We confess that we have concluded the most beautiful of all battles: laying the foundations for peace and coexistence.

 

The peace agreement is not a point of arrival but a starting point for a multiethnic and multicultural people, united under the banner of inclusion, to be goldsmith and sculptor of change and social transformation claimed by a majority.

 

Today we are delivering to the Colombian people the transforming power we have built for over half a century of rebellion, so that with it, and with the strength of the union, the people can begin to build the society of the future, our collective dream, a sanctuary dedicated to democracy, social justice, sovereignty and relations of brotherhood and respect with everyone.

 

We have signed commitments on the six points that make up the Agenda of the General Agreement:

 

Agreement “Towards a new Colombian countryside: Integrated Rural Reform,” which seeks the transformation of the conditions of misery and inequality prevailing in the agricultural areas of our country, bringing plans and programs for good living and development from the titling of lands held by rural communities.

 

Agreement “Political participation: democratic opening for peace”, in which the emphasis is on the elimination of exclusion beginning from the expansion of democracy that allows broad citizen participation in defining the country’s destiny.

 

Agreement ”Solving the problem of illicit drugs”, which designs a new policy to combat use of illicit drugs, looking at the social connotations and providing an approach with emphasis on human rights that overcomes the shortcomings of the failed “war on drugs”.

 

Agreement on Victims, consisting of a “Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition”, a “Special Jurisdiction for Peace”, a Unit for the search of persons missing in the context and because of the conflict, plans for comprehensive reparation, land restitution measures and guarantees of non-repetition, among others.

 

Agreements on point End of Conflict: “1. the Bilateral and definitive Ceasefire and Termination of hostilities; 2. Decomissioning of weapons; 3. Monitoring and Verification Mechanism launched by the United Nations through the deployment of observers from countries of CELAC; 4. Agreements were defined on security guarantees and removal of the phenomenon of paramilitarism creating a research unit and through the dismantling of criminal organizations, including those that have been considered as successors of paramilitarism, and their support networks …with a non militaristic vision but with a vision instead of finding solutions to avoid further bloodshed and pain, and as fifth aspect, the latest agreed were agreements on the Reincorporation of the FARC-EP to civilian life – in economic, social and political terms, which from the pardon and the broadest political amnesty, opens the way for our party to convert into a legal political movement in the new social scenario that emerges from the whole of the peace agreements.

 

We also have an Agreement on Implementation, verification and countersignature, which provides guarantees for planning, funding and budget, and for the implementation of regulatory changes that allow the implementation of the commitments.

 

During the assessment of each point, in parallel, the Sub Commission on Gender was working on the analysis of all the texts agreed and the issues under debate, providing inputs that paved the way to full vindication of the human being.

 

We have fulfilled the task. In the coming days we will be in Colombia, holding the National Guerilla Conference, our highest body of authority, to which we must subordinate, to submit to its verdict the political work represented by the Special Agreement for Peace in Havana. We confess that it has been a tough and full of difficulties task, with lights and shadows perhaps, but addressed with a heart full of love for the motherland and the poor in Colombia. We are convinced that we have faithfully interpreted the feeling of our comrades in arms and ideas, who always fought thinking about the political solution of the conflict, and above all, in the possibility of a fair country, without those ugly abyss which today stand between development and poverty.

 

To the comrades held in prisons and jails in the country and across borders, goes our message of love with the hope to soon have them with us building the New Colombia envisioned by our founding fathers.

 

To the people of Colombia goes our embrace with all the strength of our heart to reaffirm that the guerrilla struggle that was staged in all parts of the national territory had no reason other than the dignity of human life, under the universal law that attends all peoples of the world to take up arms against injustice and oppression. Unfortunately, in every war, but especially in the long term ones, mistakes are made and these unintentionally affect the population. With the signing of the peace agreement, which implies a commitment to non repetition, we hope to definitively eliminate the risk of weapons being turned against citizens.

 

Peace is for everyone and embraces all strata of our society calling them to reflection, solidarity, and it tells us that it is possible to take the country forward. To the sector of society surviving in the catacombs of despair, neglect and official neglect, we say that it is possible, relying on the inner strength and determination that we all carry inside, to rise from misery and poverty. While we live, everything is possible, and much better if we do it with organization. There are the young people of Colombia, always generous, from cloisters and universities willing to help in the collective search for solutions to social problems.

 

To the peasants, men and women full of humility and purity, looking into the groove through their work and sweat for the food sovereignty of Colombia, we offer a place of struggle in the Comprehensive Rural Reform agreed. To the African communities in Colombia, indigenous peoples: we invite you to look within the geography of all agreed the differential ethnic approach, won with their own struggle. To women, we say, we will enforce the gender approach that breathes through the Special Peace Agreement.

 

It will not be possible to stop the powerful force of change originated in the dreams and hopes of a people claiming their rights. Nothing can lead us astray. The people of Colombia demands answers to their concerns and the government should provide them with tangible actions.

 

There will be international monitoring on the commitments of both parties, not only of the guerrillas, as some would like, but also of the Government’s commitments on fundamental issues of the end of conflict, such as the reincorporation in the political, economic and social, on safety guarantees, and on the transition of guerrillas to a legal political movement.

 

We have great expectation about the development of commitment to reforms and institutional adjustments needed to meet the challenges of building peace. To do this, we believe, the GREAT NATIONAL POLITICAL AGREEMENT should gain ground, after the plebiscite, proposed by the parties, to which we invite the forces of the nation so that we can all think in this new space to a new framework for political and social life that guarantees tranquility to future generations.

 

We will ultimately have peace if the agreements are respected. The people must become the main guarantor of implementation. The Special Peace Agreement and the people, must be as sea and wave, where the agreements are the sea and the people are the persistent wave demanding compliance.

 

On behalf of the FARC I turn to the nations of the world asking the peoples and governments for their solidarity, their support in every way so that the longest conflict on the continent could become a reference point and a thing of the past that should not be repeated by no people.

 

To the Government of the United States that for so long supported the war of the State against the guerrillas and against social nonconformity, we ask to continue supporting in a diaphanous way the Colombian efforts to restore peace, always waiting for Washington humanitarian gestures matching the kindness which characterizes the majority of the American people, friend of harmony and solidarity. We look forward to see Simon Trinidad.

 

We hope that the ELN could find a way towards peace so that peace would be complete as it would really involve all Colombians.

 

Finally the FARC express their deepest appreciation to the government led by General Raul Castro Ruz and the people of Cuba, everything he has done for the peace of Colombia, eternal gratitude to Martí’s homeland. Thanks also to the Kingdom and the people of Norway for its generous contribution and their support as guarantor to the efforts of reconciliation in our country. Our appreciation and affection go to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, for its permanent assistance to her sister Colombia, in the realization of the peace agreement. Thanks Nicolas Maduro to continue the work entrusted to you by President Chavez. And thank you, President Michelle Bachelet and people of Chile for their extraordinary support to a peace that  they know only too well, is essential to consolidate peace on the continent.

 

Let us pay tribute to the fallen in this long fratricidal confrontation. Families, mothers, widows, brothers, children and friends our condolences for the mourning and sadness of war. Let us join hands and our voices to shout NEVER, NEVER AGAIN.

 

From the Havana conclave, white smoke has emerged. Habemus Pacem, we have peace. Viva Colombia! Long live peace!

 

* Head of the Delegation of Peace FARC-EP

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