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By Juanita Leon
August 8, 2013
Translated for La Silla Vacía by Matilda Villarraga
Yesterday in the celebration of the Battle of Boyacá, President Santos called for a "Second Independence", which will allow the Colombians to break forever with the yoke of violence building a lasting peace. This peace moves through the dialogues in Havana and through agreements on the second point of the Agenda, which is the political participation of the guerrillas. La Silla reviewed the ten "minimal proposals of political participation" that the FARC presented and the second communique where they explain them; it is more evident that everything they ask for is to be applied to them and not the opposition in general. Based on these proposals, La Silla analyzes what would be negotiable and what nonviable.
La Silla’s Explanation Constituent Assembly
A Constituent Assembly as such does not seem feasible. First, because Santos has made it "a point of honor" and because it would open the gate, among other things, for the guerrillas to end up legislating on everything - including the economic model and for reforms to be introduced as the possibility of a second re-election to allow the return of Alvaro Uribe to power. It would be necessary to seek other legal formulas to make a constitutional reform that will give security to the legal agreements (and them), including the participation in politics despite having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. For this reason, is precisely the Framework for Peace (now the FARC say they don’t like it). This would enable the majority of the guerrilla (even the prisoners) to elect and be elected. But some of the heads would have to pay a conviction. Nor is it negotiable the permanent deletion of any prohibition or impediment to be chosen because that would mean that the guerrillas would be immune to the future of any loss of investiture.
The FARC are proposing a Constituent Assembly to make permanent institutional changes that allow all the guerrillas, including those who are prisoners, elect and be elected and to form political parties. Among these changes, they propose the "permanent deletion of any prohibition or impediment that may affect the full exercise of any such investitures" on the part of the guerrillas.
To facilitate their arrival in Congress
The granting of direct seats would be a toad hard to swallow but it is negotiable, depending on the number. It would be easier to allow a constituency for peace during a time period that lowers the threshold for the parties arising out of the signing of the Agreement. This would imply, almost necessarily, also to lower the threshold for small parties who are at risk of disappearing.
The FARC propose to create the conditions for them to become a legal political party, which would include the possibility that the party is to have legal personality only with its registration and regardless of a threshold. They are requesting that it be assigned, directly, a number of seats in Congress and in the assemblies and councils. And in addition, they intend to create a "special constituency for peace" to "parties or social and political movements that arise as a result of the signing of an eventual peace agreement," which would operate during the time, with the threshold and with the seats that are defined in the Final Agreement. It would be something equivalent to the special constituency for ethnic minorities.
The proposal to eliminate the threshold runs counter to the idea of the latest political reforms that are trying to do away with garage political parties. In addition it would have large financial implications with regard to the financing of parties that arise only with filling out a form and as a result it would be impractical as it’s presented.
Guarantees for the opposition
The FARC propose a series of guarantees for the opposition which would include, among others, a Statute of Opposition and to reformulate the security policy of the State and the military and police doctrine "to deprive them of the contents of the ”cold war”" and "in the design of persecution and in the fight against the "enemy within" '; the right of reply when the Government violates the good name of the opposition; participation in the shaping of boards and commissions of the Congress; the last word before the conclusion to the debates in Congress; participation in the monitoring of electoral processes; prior consultation on matters of national concern such as foreign affairs, security and defense, or justice.
The explicit reformulation of the military doctrine does not seem feasible politically because the military is opposed and it would be the perfect battle horse for the uribismo, whose axis is the security. However, in practice if the FARC disappeared the military doctrine would have to change because it would be gone the main enemy that sustains them.
When Germán Vargas was minister of the Interior proposed a Statute for the opposition which, three years later has not materialized with the Democratic Pole, which shows that it is a difficult subject. However, that it has already been an initiative of the government shows that it is a negotiable item.
Funding for their party
This topic is thorny because part of the electoral success of a party depends on the money it can count on. With reason, leftwing parties such as the Polo could argue that giving that extra money to the FARC would put them -that have acted within the law - at a disadvantage. Particularly if the FARC do not deliver the moment that they have illegally obtained and exceeding 2,500 million pesos. However, there is a ten percent of these resources that today are not assigned because the Constitutional Court struck down the criteria by which they were distributed. This percentage could be negotiable with a legal reform and perhaps if circulated among all the opposition movements, not only the FARC.
The FARC demand for the party they want to create, a state funding that complements the one already that the opposition parties and social movements have, that would be tantamount to a 10 per cent of the total public funds allocated for the financing of political parties and social movements. In 2009, the State provided almost 25 billion pesos to finance political parties, according to the information of the MOE. This money is assigned in proportion to the number of votes obtained. What the FARC would like is that, in addition to what they already give them to all the parties, they were to give them (FARC) approximately 2,500 million (this figure is adjusted each year) more.
Seats by their own right
To give them a post in the Advisory Committee on Foreign Affairs, which is a consultative body of the President of the Republic for foreign affairs, would be viable because outside of being composed of the presidents, by the vice-president and by 12 congressmen, the President may appoint two additional members. These two posts could be for the opposition if so decided by The FARC propose that the opposition have a seat at the Advisory Committee on Foreign Affairs and on the Board of Directors of the Bank of the Republic. Also that the candidates for President and Vice President, Governor and Mayor, who belong to the parties or movements declared in opposition, and follow on votes those who are elected in these positions, will occupy a seat in the Senate, Territorial Chamber, assembly and Municipal The proposal to have a seat in different instances is similar to the one made by the Polo to Vargas Lleras when they discussed the status of opposition and it’s in large part the reason for braking the discussion. Especially the seat in the Bank of the Republic does not seem to be negotiable because the idea of the Constitution was to make it totally independent of the political
Council, respectively, during the period for which it was the corresponding election. They also propose having a representative of the FARC in the National Electoral Council that they expect to be popularly elected.
game, and it is difficult to argue that they took up arms not to participate there. In theory, in the National Electoral Council the opposition already has a post. But in practice the large parties make so one of them reaches it as was the case with the PIN, which is the one that occupies that seat today, in spite of the fact it votes always with National Unity. However, to negotiate that one of these 8 posts in the CNE go directly to the FARC would surely be rejected by the other small parties.
Access to Media
That the State finance a magazine, a radio station and a TV channel with national coverage is an unfeasible proposal for how much each one of these media costs(To give only an idea, sustain an operation as small as La Silla Vacía costs more than 600 million pesos a year). In addition, the guerrillas did not leave for the mountains for lack of have their own media and many demobilized have columns in the traditional media.
To finance programs to the FARC in regional stations where they have a presence, or even national news, as happened when the M-19 demobilized, or ensuring that the number of minutes per month on television, as currently have all the parties, might be negotiable.
Beyond the access to the media that already have all the political parties, the FARC demand for the movement that they believe as a result of the Peace Agreement, the State fund a printed journal, a magazine of political analysis, a radio station and a TV channel with national coverage. That's in addition to participation in the programming of the public media state.
Reparation to the UP
After the ruling of the Council of State, which recently returned them the legal personality, it is a viable return to the UP five seats in the Senate (less than five percent of the total number of seats) and nine in the Camera. That is why the discussion is about who would occupy these seats, which would be the procedure for choosing them and which interference the FARC would have in that.
The FARC demand a law that expressly acknowledges the State responsibility for the extermination of this party emerged from the failed agreements of peace with the FARC in 1985 and the return of their seats at the time of greater representation in the legislative branch at all levels. In 1986, when electorally, it did its best the UP reached to have 5 senators, 9 representatives, 14 deputies, 351 councilors and 23 mayors.
Away with the black hand
The dismount of the "black hand" is an imperative of the State, a need for the Colombians and something that Santos is committed with the Colombians to do from the very beginning, peace or no peace process signed. Already a Truth Commission about all the crimes committed in the conflict is complicated because there is a lot of reticence in all sectors to establish the truth of the facts. On the part of the military there is resistance, as seen in the defense of the Palace of Justice that was made by Rafael Nieto in the Cidh; on the part of the business and political sectors that financed and supported the paramilitary; and on the part, even, of the same guerrilla, who committed so many The FARC propose the real dismount of the paramilitary structures "and any illegal practice of counterinsurgency that prevent the free exercise of the right and the guarantees of social and political opposition". For this, they ask for a criminal policy aimed to remove such practices and a Commission on the historical truth for the clarification of their crimes, with the participation of representatives of the social and political opposition and the movement of victims and composed of Colombians and foreigners. They propose that this committee study the violence from the 40s and that to do this, review the files of the intelligence agencies and the minutes of the Council of Ministers since that time.
The Truth Commission would be unnegotiable if it is only on "State terrorism" as the FARC want.
atrocities that they probably do not want to come out if they aspire to someday be elected with some vote. However, a Truth Commission for all the atrocities is negotiable and it’s usually a frequent outcome in many peace processes.
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