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The peace piocess with the FARC in Bavana, Cuba has been going on now foi a yeai
anu a half. It is time to take a ciitical look at the piocess anu the suppoit it has
ieceiveu. Wheie is the piocess going. What aie the ieal peispectives. Aie they ieally
negotiating the futuie of a new Colombia. 0i, on the contiaiy, aie they negotiating
the same Colombia with some ietouching.
This piocess has lackeu any ciitical analysis. The Nu0s, thinking of theii post conflict
piojects aie salivating anu uieaming of the money anu the chance to iaise theii
piofile. The politicians have little oi nothing to auu anu the so calleu left intellectuals
lie piostiateu without the slightest chance oi uesiie to make any ciitique. Theii
intellectual capacity (which shoulun't be exaggeiateu) is suspenueu, as they will also
be winneis in the piocess, with piojects, analysis foi the new bouies that will iequiie
theii "talent". This can be seen with Alejo vaigas, an intellectual, who claims to be on
the left. In the magazine Semana, vaigas wiote an aiticle titleu !"#$% '( )"*"("+
,-'(.'(/ .- " 01..12 %-3'1.45 Although he cites some communiqués he uiu so without
the slightest ciitique. Bis aiticle was moie a iallying call to a people who in theii uaily
lives aie laigely apathetic iegaiuing the talks. Accoiuing to him, theie is something
"|anuj that is the contiibution of the citizens, we must give cleai political
suppoit to these Talks anu the Agieements ieacheu in them anu all of us must in
a peuagogical fashion seek out moie compatiiots who suppoit peace - because
many Colombians aie still confuseu, uoubtful oi possibly ill infoimeu. So that
the Agieements anu the effoits maue by all become iiieveisible.
Be is not the only aciitical intellectual anu we will ueal with otheis in the seconu pait.
In his case, his suiienuei is so abject that he uemanus cleai suppoit foi a piocess
which is seciet anu he uemanus that we seek out, with a ceitain peuagogy, moie
fiienus of a piocess of which we uon't have sufficient uata to be peuagogical about. It
is not a mistake on his pait. As a uistinguisheu univeisity lectuiei he knows well that
one iequiies infoimation in oiuei to be peuagogical. It is laughable that he says that
some Colombians aie ill-infoimeu as that is the point, in oiuei that theie not be any
uiscussion on the aims oi ieach of the piocess.
Noi aie theie any ieflections on the past, noi a ieal look at piocesses in othei
countiies, such as El Salvauoi anu uuatemala. This aiticle is uiviueu in two, the fiist
pait will take a biief look at othei piocesses anu the seconu will look at the cuiient
vaigas, A (2u1S) Conveisaciones ue la Babana: avizoian una mejoi socieuau,
Semana Issue No. S82, 2u1S.
0ne has to look at othei piocesses as they aie waveu about as successful cases of
negotiation anu of the ioau to take. Nembeis of Sinn Féin, the 0RNu fiom uuatemala
anu the FNLN fiom El Salvauoi have aiiiveu anu continue to aiiive in Colombia with
the same message, ,1"31 '% "36'1*"0#1. The atmospheie is a bit like the mass meetings
of Tv Evangelists in the 0S "you too can also be successful if you accept the Loiu in
youi heait" anu just like the evangelical pieacheis, they biook no ciiticism. Be who is
against us has no heait oi is an agent of Satan. This may be the case, anu this agent of
Satan woulu like to ieflect anu make some ciiticisms.
Although Iielanu is not a Latin countiy it is of gieat ielevance to this piocess, as it is
the mouel that is being applieu. The negotiations in Iielanu weie behinu closeu uoois,
we knew nothing of theii content. Any time one tiieu to make a ciiticism one hau to
compete with the gossip as now happens in Colombia. If one puts foiwaiu a ciiticism
of the agiaiian agieement, a voice calls out, "no my fiienu, I was talking to someone
veiy close to the negotiatois anu he says..." 0f couise in the case of Iielanu we now
know that the gossip wasn't tiue, but it helpeu suffocate uebate anu piepaie people to
accept an histoiic uefeat. I have expeiienceu gossip in both countiies. In Colombia an
olu left intellectual tolu me liteially to shut up as I uiu not know what I was talking
about as, unlike him, I uiun't have contact with the FARC. Neithei uo the majoiity of
the population; a population that Alejo vaigas uemanus give theii suppoit to the
piocess in the miust of theii ignoiance. The mouel auopteu fiom Iielanu has one
auvantage foi the State: when they ieach a final agieement, the people will have two
options, accept it oi ieject it in its totality. The seconu option is to ask the FARC to
continue in the mountains, oi at least it will be piesenteu as such anu nobouy is going
to uo that. An open piocess wheie people uiscuss the content woulu be veiy
uangeious foi the Colombian oligaichy, which has nevei accepteu the iight of the
people to expiess an opinion, not even in the most iestiictive teims of any bouigeois
The paiticipation of the Iiish people took place aftei the agieement, in a iefeienuum
that was laigely symbolic. Theie was some oppoitunity to take pait in events anu one
coulu always senu uocuments to Sinn Féin, though they weie unuei no obligation to
even ieau them. Something similai has happeneu in Colombia. Theie was an agiaiian
foium oiganiseu by the National 0niveisity anu the 0niteu Nations Bevelopment
Piogiamme (0NBP). It is woith pointing out that the 0NBP is not opposeu to
latifunuios, noi to the agio-expoiting mouel, it is not even opposeu to mining. In fact,
it suppoits all of them, notwithstanuing some ieseivations on the concentiation of
lanu. This will be uealt with in gieatei uetail in the seconu pait.
We know what happeneu in Iielanu, the IRA suiienueieu, hanuing ovei its iueals veiy
eaily on in the seciet piocess anu spent moie time on uiscussing how to hanu ovei
theii weapons with little oi no publicity. It came up with the novel iuea of uestioying
them unuei the auspices of an inteinational commission piesiueu ovei by a Canauian
soluiei, ueneial ue Chastelein. The Biitish uiu not leave Iielanu anu Sinn Féin
accepteu a suboiuinate iole in the auministiation of the Biitish colony.
Thioughout the piocess in Iielanu Sinn Féin anu IRA issueu ueclaiations stating what
they woulu not uo. It seems iisible touay when we look at the ieality. They saiu that
they woulu not accept a ietuin to Stoimont. Now they have a pailiament with fewei
poweis than a mayoi's office in Colombia anu the Beputy Fiist Ninistei, Naitin
Ncuuinness is fiom Sinn Féin anu is a foimei IRA commanuei. They aie the ones who
auministei the colony. They saiu that they woulu not hanu ovei a single bullet noi an
ounce of explosives. They came thiough on that i.e. they uiun't hanu ovei anything
they uestioyeu it unuei the supeivision of an inteinational commission heaueu by a
Canauian militaiy officei. It was an exeicise in public ielations. Thioughout the
piocess theie was a constant flow of uishonest ueclaiations that only seiveu to
uistiact anu fool theii base. In Colombia we aie going thiough something similai.
El Salvauoi, is foi many people, even moie ielevant uue to it being a Latin countiy, the
existence of a gueiiilla aimy (they IRA was a uiffeient kinu of aimeu oiganisation),
which uisputeu powei with the oligaichy. The 1992 agieements which weie in ieality
a seiies of agieements signeu between 1989 anu the enu of 1991 weie given the
backing of the 0N, the impeiialist countiies, the intellectuals anu the Nu0s. In that
they have a lot in common with Colombia. Noie than two uecaues have lapseu since
the signing of the agieements. If what was saiu in the negotiations weie tiue, one
woulu expect to finu that El Salvauoi was nowauays, a ieal uemociacy anu gieat
stiiues hau been maue on behalf of the pooi. The enu of the conflict shoulu, accoiuing
to many intellectuals in Colombia, allow the countiy to make heauway. The ieality is
}aviei uiialuo in his book 78%9:1;" ;1 <12;"; 4 =:%.'3'"+ >1'% 1?,12'1(3'"% 1(
,-%3-(@#'3.- (The Seaich foi Tiuth anu }ustice: Six expeiiences of post-conflict)
analyses vaiious cases of peace piocesses, amongst them, that of El Salvauoi. Be
points out something, which will almost ceitainly be iepeateu in Colombia.
Theie weie chapteis of the Agieements that uiun't go beyonu geneial
uesciiptions oi two oi thiee veiy piecaiious legal iefoims. This happeneu to the
chapteis ielateu to the juuicial system (Cap. III), the electoial system (Cap. Iv),
the economic anu social issues (Cap. v) anu the political paiticipation of the
FNLN (Cap vI).
A simple compaiison between the chapteis that ueseiveu a uetaileu uesign anu
those that uiun't go beyonu geneialities, allows one to evaluate this piocess as
one that was centieu on biinging the wai to an enu, on uoing away with the
most inhuman abuses anu guaianteeing a minimum of iespect foi the political
opposition, but uiu not touch the most piofounu causes of the violence anu the
conflict which aie to be founu in the economic anu social stiuctuies.
That is to say that they uiu not negotiate a new society foi the countiy, but iathei the
biought an enu to the anti-capitalist violence anu the State, the victoi in the aimeu
conflict was happy to biing an enu to that violence.
The social anu economic issues which weie laiu out in veiy vague teims in the
Agieements, weie, when it came to implementing them, ieuuceu to the
hanuovei of bau stony lanus to foimei combatants of the FNLN with hoes anu
some chaiis thiown in.
An agiaiian iefoim was nevei ieally consiueieu anu hanuing ovei lanu to foimei
combatants is a peisonal incentive, it is not a iefoim. 0f couise, in Colombia high
ianking leaueis have ieceiveu such incentives in othei peace piocesses. The N-19
anu EPL gueiiillas weie given jobs in embassies etc. This cannot be seen as anything
othei than a peisonal biibe, although in Colombia the biibes weie on a gieatei scale in
teims of peisonal wellbeing anu on a lowei scale in teims of the ieuuceu numbei of
But nowauays, how is El Salvauoi uoing. What is peace like. ¿Bow is the constiuction
of a new countiy going. }aviei uiialuo laments the levels of violence which in 2uu1,
nine yeais aftei the peace accoius, iangeu, uepenuing on the souice, between 12u anu
1Su (pei 1uu,uuu) ueaths pei yeai, a figuie almost on pai with the yeais of the wai.
The official figuies foi that yeai weie lowei, placing the iate at S7.22. Even if we
accept the official figuies, the situation is not inspiiing. It is woith mentioning that
figuies on ciiminality in many countiies aie inuicative anu aie not piecise. Any
ieseaichei in Colombia finus that Police statistics uo not match those of Foiensic
Neuicine oi othei souices. So it is in El Salvauoi. Even so, the figuies that appeai in
the 0AS iepoit show that the muiuei iate incieaseu fiom S7.22 in 2uu1 to 69.2 in
2u11, whilst in Colombia, a countiy at wai, the iate uioppeu fiom 6S.1 to S7.7
This not only shows that A1"31 has not biought about peace foi the people, but iathei
shows the hypociisy anu cynicism that accompanies all peace piocesses. Theie may
be intellectuals anu Nu0s that aie woiiieu about the blooubath, howevei, this is not
the piinciple motivation behinu these piocesses. If it weie the case, El Salvauoi,
woulu once moie, be the centie of the inteinational effoits of Nu0s anu foieign
goveinments. But this is not the case because in El Salvauoi the violence has no
uiialuo, }. (2uuS) Búsqueua ue veiuau y }usticia: Seis expeiiencias en posconflicto,
Cinep, Bogotá p 11u
uiialuo, } (2uuS) op. cit. p.11S
0EA (2u12) !"#$%&' )$*%' )'+,%-./. 0-,././"/ 1" 2/3 4&5%-6/3 7892: !"#$%&"#'($"
oficiales ue Seguiiuau Ciuuauana piouuciuas poi los Estauos miembios ue la 0EA,
0EA, Washington, p. 18
political puipose anu uoes not iepiesent a thieat to the system as such. So, to put it in
vulgai teims, lets not talk ciap about violence! The fans of the piocess in Bavana aie
not woiiieu about violence, they aie woiiieu about stability foi investois. This is one
of the big lessons of El Salvauoi. The left-wing fans want to ignoie this ieality.
Neithei is it the case the A1"31 has achieveu a welfaie foi the people. 0ne of the
aiguments iegaiuing the conflict in Colombia is that without the conflict the countiy
coulu make piogiess anu the social pioblems woulu be solveu. This ignoies outiight
that the countiy is not one of the most unequal countiies on the planet by mistake, but
iathei as the iesult of the policies auopteu by the elite foi a long time. These policies
incluue, muiuei, massacies anu foiceu uisplacement as mechanisms of accumulation
anu aie not limiteu to actions of a few thugs. Bow many hectaies of lanu weie
appiopiiateu by families that nowauays have iepiesentatives in the Congiess.
Bowevei, they uon't just pay scant iegaiu to the histoiy of the countiy but also to the
expeiiences of othei countiies such as El Salvauoi.
The economic inuicatois of countiy aie not piomising foi the pooi. The big aigument
of the Nu0s anu peihaps the aigument that is most convincing (aftei the supposeu
ieuuction in violent ueaths) is that they piomise a bettei futuie. The analyst }ames
Petias has pointeu out that the unemployment iate in El Salvauoi is ovei Su% anu
moie than 6u% of jobs aie infoimal, with no pensions oi social secuiity etc.
Noieovei, accoiuing to Petias moie than 2.S million people have been foiceu to
This figuie is alaiming if we beai in minu that the population of El
Salvauoi is aiounu 6.S million. It is haiuly suipiising that some 6u,uuu youths aie
involveu in gangs. Noieovei, the countiy has not expeiienceu any uevelopment oi
economic piogiess, even though touay it is now a safe place foi foieign investment.
The pooi in El Salvauoi live by any means anu iemittances. In 1992 when the final
"peace" agieement was signeu the countiy ieceiveu 649 million 0SB in iemittances.
Ten yeais latei it almost tiipleu, ieaching the figuie of 1,9S4 million 0SB to settle at
S,927 million 0SB in 2u12. In othei woius a countiy which got iiu of its young anu
not so young foicing them to go to the 0S, now lives off them. When they talk about
the success of the peace piocess they uon't mention this situation. If we compaie it to
Colombia we can see that in the same time peiiou the iemittances incieaseu fiom 641
million 0SB to 4,12S million 0SB.
Theie aie two things that we shoulu point out, the
fiist is that Colombia has a population that is seven times that of El Salvauoi anu
seconuly in this peiiou Colombia is a countiy in the miust of a wai anu not at "peace"
like El Salvauoi. In fact, in this peiiou the countiy liveu thiough the massive
expansion of the FARC anu the paiamilitaiy takeovei of laige cities (oi paits of them)
anu an escalation of the wai anu still uespite this, it is in bettei shape than El Salvauoi
Petias, } (2u1S) Bo "Peace Accoius" Leau to Peace, }ustice anu Secuiity foi the
Figuies taken fiom Woilu Bank Annual Remittance Bata
aftei 2u yeais of "peace" anu in the last few yeais an FNLN goveinment. A leauei of
the FNLN anu ex ueneial Secietaiy of the Communist Paity two yeais befoie his
ueath, gave us the following gem about theii ieasons foi signing the peace agieement
"I emphasise we gave up oui guns anu enteieu the system in oiuei to change it, not foi
us to be changeu by it."
The ieality, howevei, is uiffeient, they weie the ones who
changeu, some of them veiy quickly anu a quick glance at the FNLN in goveinment
leaves no ioom foi uoubt. Nothing changeu, except them.
The conflict in uuatemala was of a longei uuiation than that of El Salvauoi uating
fiom 196u, though it has its ioots in the coup u'etat backeu by the CIA, 0niteu Fiuits
anu the Bulles family against the goveinment of }acobo Aibenz in 19S4 (the spaik was
the use of uuatemala as a base fiom which to attack Cuba). In just one yeai Aibenz
confiscateu moie than 6uS,uuu hectaies of lanu to shaie out amongst the pooi in lots
ianging fiom S.S to 17.S hectaies.
Aftei the coup theie was a countei agiaiian
iefoim. By 197u 12, 8uu faims coveieu 66% of the lanu anu S66,1uu faims coveieu
just 12% of the lanu.
The lanu question was not a minoi issue in uuatemala. To
iesolve the ueep pioblems of the conflict is to iesolve the lanu question, just as it is in
Colombia. Bowevei, this uiu not happen. The 0RNu signeu off foi ciumbs. This
conflict uue to its long uuiation has many elements in common with the Colombian
conflict anu the cuiient conjunctuie. As the Nexican sociologist Seigio Tischei points
The Peace Accoius aie put foiwaiu as a gieat giassioots achievement. But this
is not so. The 0RNu was militaiily uefeateu anu the militaiy-oligaichical powei
was at that time veiy stable. The agieement was baseu on a veiy unfavouiable
balance of foices. Fiom my point of view the left maue a gieat mistake: they
thought that the Accoius weie a kinu of mini-ievolution: that the Lanu Funu was
some type of agiaiian iefoim, that access to public jobs was a gieat achievement.
But what it gave iise to was the collapse of the people's oiganisations. The elite
founu itself obligeu to negotiate with aimeu oiganisations but this uiu not
tianslate into a favouiable coiielation of foices. The mass oiganisations weie
seveiely hit anu in the peiiou aftei the peace they uiu not iebuilu themselves, on
the contiaiy they enteieu into a logic of atomisation anu Nu0isation in which
the question of the iauical tiansfoimation was put asiue anu the main aim
Banual, S. }. (2uu4) El FNLN y la vigencia uel pensamiento ievolucionaiio en El
Salvauoi pág 2 www.iebelion.oig
Figuies taken fiom www.congcoop.oig
Nonteiioso Salvatieiia, N. (2uu7) La sobeiania alimentaiia y la iefoima agiaiia en
los paiauigmas ue uesaiiollo iuial. La expeiiencia latinoameiicana. in Teiiitoiios No
2. 0ctobei 2uu7, Congcoop & IBEAR, uuatemala. p. S4
became how to inseit themselves in the institutions which foim pait of the new
A constant factoi in the vaiious peace agieements in Colombia is piecisely what
Tischei uesciibes in the uuatemalan case: shaiing out of posts in embassies, as was
uone with N-19 anu the EPL, agiicultuial piojects with the inuigenist gueiiillas of
Quintin Lame oi setting up an Nu0 as was uone with the CRS anu one oi othei seats in
the Congiess etc. Theie aie no ieasons to believe that this piocess will be any
uiffeient. The time when they coulu give jobs in the embassies is gone, but they coulu
still uo so with othei public bouies anu the FARC have alieauy askeu foi money foi
iauio stations anu have even put foiwaiu the iuea of seats in Congiess, something
which they initially claimeu they uiu not want. Solving the agiaiian question a motoi
anu justification foi the iising up against the State was not tiieu at all in uuatemala.
As fai as the iegime of lanu owneiship theie have been no stiuctuial
mouifications of it aftei the aimeu conflict anu the Peace Accoius (Becembei
1996). uuatemala continues to be a countiy of a small numbei of laige
lanuowneis wheie S% of them usufiuct moie than 6u% of the piopeities. If we
place these uata on a viitual map, we finu that S% of uuatemalans own all of the
aiable lanu in 1S of the 22 uepaitments of the countiy.
In the cuiient peace piocess in Colombia these countiies aie iefeiieu to as examples
to follow uespite the iesults of these piocesses anu the suiienuei of the left to
neolibeialism anu theii own elites. vaiious leaueis anu iepiesentatives of these
piocesses have come to Colombia to encouiage the Colombians to follow theii
example. At no stage aie the meiits, achievements oi failuies of these piocesses
uiscusseu. The ieality of them is not up foi uiscussion.
Taking into account the impoitance of the lanu question in uuatemala, one woulu
naively expect the peace piocess to biing an enu to the agiaiian conflict oi at least
make significant piogiess in the aiea, both in teims of legislation anu lanu
uistiibution as well as in teims of the powei stiuctuie in the countiysiue. But once
moie, nothing coulu be fuithei fiom the tiuth. The peace agieement in uuatemala
was, as is pioposeu in Colombia, a seiies of accoius on uiffeient points, one of them
being the agiaiian issue: !61 B33-2; -( >-3'-C13-(-D'3 B%,13.% "(; .61 B/2"2'"(
>'.:".'-(5 }aviei uiialuo has the following to say on this text:
The text is also oveisatuiateu with piomises anu commitments but the vast
majoiity of them aie wiitten in geneial teims anu not in conciete piecise teims.
It is notewoithy that fiom the intiouuction that the economic uevelopment is
baseu on "economic sustainable giowth as a iequiiement to answei the social
EFGH .-;"*I" 1%.J ,21%1(.1 1( 1# K:".1D"#" ;1 6-4 Inteiview with Seigio Tischei,
Infoipiess publisheu in www.iebelion.oig
Cabanas, A (2u12) La paz, ese paiéntesis (1996-2u11): Revision ciitica uel pioceso
ue paz en uuatemala, Nemoiial ue uuatemala, uuatemala pág 1u8
uemanus", but the mouel foi economic uevelopment is not uefineu oi uiscusseu.
The whole uocument gives the impiession that it piesumes that it is the cuiient
economic mouel anu is limiteu to piogiamming gieatei social investment in the
aieas of euucation, health, housing anu woik, incieasing coveiage mainly in
oiuei to get it to the most vulneiable sectois anu impiove the quality anu
paiticipation in these aieas anu combating coiiuption. The lanu chaptei is
peihaps the one that goes into gieatei uetail. The commitments maue in this,
aie so many anu so laige anu at the same time so geneial that one uoubts about
theii possible implementation.
uiialuo is a little geneious when he says that "the uocument piesumes that it is the
cuiient economic mouel", as that is actually the point. No victoiious oi unuefeateu
bouigeoisie uiscusses the mouel of a countiy. The mouel anu powei aie nevei up foi
uiscussion. In all of the countiies wheie theie have been peace piocesses, the
economic mouel iemains intact, with some "concession" oi othei which is usually a
cosmetic exeicise. Not only have countiies such as uuatemala oi El Salvauoi uone this,
but also countiies such as South Afiica, a countiy which posses the mateiial means to
follow a uiffeient path shoulu it chose to. uiialuo also points out that many of the
commitments weie wiitten in geneiic language. In this way the State uoes not have to
live up to the agieements. Theie is a geneiic message foi public consumption anu
anothei foi those who aie ieally analysing the ieality of it. 0nfoitunately the left is
not usually amongst those who aie paying attention to the situation, but iathei they
swallow the peace tale whole without any analysis of the tiuth. 0f couise the Nu0s
analyse the situation anu then piesent it in the most uishonest foim they can.
The Nu0s, in oiuei to uistiact fiom anu avoiu a ieal uiscussion, place the emphasis on
the enuing of violence. As we have alieauy pointeu out in ielation to El Salvauoi, the
violence that enus is that which is uiiecteu against the State in a vain attempt to builu
a new mouel. Something similai has happeneu in uuatemala weie violence is iife.
The violence escalates as a cause, effect anu natuial state of this system wheie
the minimum consensus achieveu in 1996 faues: the consensus foi the neeu foi
a ieuistiibutive State; the consensus on uemociacy as a foim of goveinment; the
consensus - oi the iuea - of an inteinational community committeu to social
change; the consensus that secuiity is an essential element foi accumulation
(hence an impoitant sectoi of the oligaichy committeu itself to the uemociatic
piocess). Touay, the insecuiity geneiates piofits, the absence of noims, the lack
of laws, the sciupulous bieaking of each an eveiy coue of social coexistence.
The peisonal anu collective spaces foi paiticipation aie iestiicteu anu the ability
to ieact anu inteivene socially is weakeneu. 0ui political peiiou is being
ieconfiguieu. We expeiience anu feel it, we also have begun to give it a name: a
latent state of wai, neo-uictatoiship, the new genociue.
uiialuo, } (2uuS) op. cit. p. 1S9
Cabanas, A. (2u12) op. cit. p. 299
The above text laments the fauing away of the consensus of the peace agieements.
0ne can only lament this if one ieally believes theie was a ieal consensus between the
victoiious State anu an insuigency uefeateu in political teims to such a uegiee that it
has nevei been able to put a countei analysis of the piocess in which they accepteu
theii uefeat. Bowevei, the text uoes uemonstiate a concein with the alaiming levels
of violence. Whilst some aspects of the violence, such as those ielateu to uiug
tiafficking might be consiueieu as examples of anti-state violence, nowauays theie is
no anti-capitalist oi anti-systemic violence. The conflict is ovei, anu as some claim,
the violence may not be an official state policy now, this uoes not mean that the
peisecution of the woikeis' peasants' anu human iights' oiganisations has enueu.
That violence continues, albeit at significantly ieuuceu levels, but that is not uue to the
agieements, it is simply that capitalism knows what uoses of violence to apply. Wheie
theie is no neeu to kill, it uoes not kill but iathei buys off, biibes, thieatens, impiisons,
oi uumbs uown as happens in many paits of Euiope. Wheie they still see the neeu to
kill, the muiueis continue anu we aie not iefeiiing to high piofile killing such as that
of Nonsignoi ueiaiui, but iathei of people fiom giassioots oiganisations. Such is the
case of the opposition to the Spanish company 0nion Fenosa. 0ne shoulu point out
that it is one of the most heavily ciiticiseu companies in Colombia uue to its ielations
with communities. Between 2uu9 anu 2u1u eight activists opposeu to the company
weie muiueieu in uuatemala.
In a peace piocess the gueiiillas aie supposeu to stop
tiying to oveithiow the State, which they uiu anu the State, the multinationals anu fai
iight gioups aie supposeu to stop killing the opposition. But this is not the case anu in
Colombia we can state without any feai of getting it wiong that aftei signing the peace
agieements, leaueis in mining, palm anu oil zones etc will continue to be killeu.
Whilst the peace piocess in Colombia emulates othei countiies it also boiiows the
same language. We have heaiu foi a long time now the expiession >-3'"# =:%.'31, even
in the iecent Agiaiian Summit helu in Bogotá theie was a uiscussion gioup on >-3'"#
=:%.'315 The teiminology is impoiteu fiom the woilu of the Nu0s. It uoesn't mean
anything, nobouy knows how to uefine it, one has the sensation that it is like the olu
saying on poinogiaphy, nobouy knows how to uefine it but we iecognise it when we
see it. Except we have nevei seen it. Boes the >-3'"# =:%.'31 of the Nu0s exist in any
countiy. It is a question I once put to a Colombian acauemic who uiu not answei but
almost foimeu the woius Scanuinavia anu Switzeilanu on hei lips. Theie is not
enough space heie to go into the social iealities of those countiies, but one simple
question that coulu be put to the Nu0s woulu be, when Switzeilanu uumps its toxic
waste in Afiica aie the people who live in the vicinity of those uumps incluueu in this
>-3'"# =:%.'31. It is just one question anu the answei is no, because >-3'"# =:%.'31
uoesn't exist anywheie. The use given to the teim can be seen in the following thiee
See 0cho activistas opuestos a 0nión Fenosa asesinauos en seis meses en
Togethei we can make oui countiy, with such talent anu possibilities achieve a
ieal peace: a peace which uoesn't just mean the enu of the violence but also
piogiess towaius gieatei social justice.
We want a just countiy, an egalitaiian countiy, a countiy wheie social justice is
no longei some etheieal concept anu is seen in conciete actions, in the lives of
We continue to peiseveie in oui seaich foi social justice, we continue to stiuggle
togethei to achieve peace.
These quotes coulu have been taken fiom ueclaiations by the FARC oi some Nu0 oi
even one of those kowtowing "intellectuals", but they aie not. They belong to none
othei than }uan Nanuel Santos, the piesiuent of Colombia. Be feels at home using this
expiession. Noieovei, in the fiist quote he says that he wants to make piogiess
towaius a gieatei uegiee of social justice, which means that theie is alieauy some
uegiee of social justice in Colombia.
So, what uoes it mean when the left uses this teim. Well, on the one hanu the FARC
anu the ELN aie saying that foi them the stiuggle foi socialism is in the past as the
phiase substitutes the woiu socialism in theii ueclaiations. The Nu0s anu the
intellectuals aie happy, but this is veiy seiious. Not only uo they abanuon the stiuggle
foi a socialism that they pieacheu about so much, but they aie telling the woilu that
they have abanuoneu any attempt at effecting a piofounu change in the countiy anu in
the stiuctuie of powei, just as the FNLN anu 0RNu uiu in theii time. That is what
>-3'"# =:%.'31 means, some iefoims, a little moie in the buuget foi health, peihaps. We
aie not talking about changes in the stiuctuie of powei. That has been iuleu out.
Foi the last yeai anu a half theie has been no uiscussion on the ieality of the peace
piocesses anu consequently no ieal uiscussion on what we can expect fiom this
piocess in Colombia, uespite a plethoia of confeiences, aiticles anu speeches on the
issue. The uefeat of the political pioject of the insuigency is not uiscusseu, iathei
theie is talk, without a shieu of eviuence, of the impiovement it will mean foi the
countiy. The uefeats anu failuies in othei countiies aie piesenteu as victoiies anu
piogiess. ueoige 0iwell is alive anu well, wai is peace anu lies aie tiuth. Though,
peihaps even 0iwell woulu have uifficulties in coming up with a uoublethink of the
magnituue of these peace piocesses with theii abuse of language.
The seconu pait of this aiticle will look at the cuiient piocess in Colombia anu the
"agieements" alieauy ieacheu between the paits.
The quotes aie taken fiom the speeches section of the piesiuential website anu
theiefoie aie official speeches anu statements anu cannot be consiueieu slips on his
pait, see www.piesiuencia.gov.co