On November 24, 2016, the government of Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018) and the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a historic peace agreement, ending fifty-two years of armed conflict. Less than two years later, Ivan Duque, representative of the conservative right wing fiercely opposed to the deal, succeeded Mr Santos as president.
Juan Manuel Santos, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2016, and Rodrigo Londoño, the former Commander-in-Chief of the FARC and current chairman of the resulting political formation, the Party of the Commons, participated on Tuesday November 9, at a conference organized by the Sciences Po International Research Center as part of the Paris Peace Forum. In an interview with The world, the two men gave a mixed assessment of the five years of application of the peace agreement.
What are the main difficulties encountered in applying the text?
Rodrigo Londoño: Things were expected to progress much more. Sadly, the first president who fell responsible for implementing the agreement, Ivan Duque, came from a party [le Centre démocratique de l’ex-président Alvaro Uribe] which had called for the destruction of the agreement, and which had no other goal than to prevent Colombia from building peace. The main obstacle is therefore the lack of political will of the current government. The most negative point of these five years is the assassination of social leaders and signatories of the agreement [depuis 2016, 290 ex-combattants des FARC ont été assassinés, dont 41 en 2021].
Luckily, the agreement is set in stone: it was written into the Constitution. In addition, it is subject to verification by the UN Security Council. He changed the atmosphere and the political dynamic of the country, allowing us to talk about subjects that had never been the subject of debate before: social inequalities, poverty in rural areas … And he encouraged the citizen participation.
Juan Manuel Santos : For me, it’s a bittersweet balance sheet, but positive in general terms. First, the vast majority of the more than 13,000 FARC combatants have entered into the peace process. We must also highlight the number of lives that have been saved. The peace accords gave Colombians back a respect for life, a sense of compassion, which they had lost. The current government and President Duque have admittedly tried, unsuccessfully, to derail the negotiations and derail the agreement. But lately, they are declaring to whoever wants to hear them that they respect him.
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“The Colombian peace agreement can be an example for the whole world”