signature of the agreement in Cartagena, in September 2016, before the referendum that rejected it and led to some modifications to the text [Government of Chile]

▲signature of the agreement in Cartagena, in September 2016, before the referendum that rejected it and led to some modifications to the text [Government of Chile]

ANALYSIS / Camila Oliveros

The agreement The peace agreement signed on November 26, 2016 between the Colombian government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) is one of the most decisive issues in the elections of June 17, in its second round, and of the next presidential term.

After lengthy negotiations between the government and the FARC in Havana, and the introduction of modifications to the text initially agreed, following the triumph of the "no" vote in the plebiscite, the agreement The peace agreement was finally signed in November 2016. The long duration of the negotiations and the result of the plebiscite show that the agreement The 52-year conflict has resulted in the deaths of 220,000 people and the forced displacement of nearly 6 million, as well as 25,000 disappeared and nearly 30,000 kidnapped.

Clearly, all Colombians yearn for a lasting peace, but while some believe that what was drafted in Havana is the solution to achieve that peace, others believe that several modifications can still be made to the text. The decision on that and on the speed of the implementation of the agreement it is in the hands of the next president.

Degree Implementation

For now, after more than a year of the signature of the agreement In the end of the Conflict, both negative and positive elements can be highlighted in the implementation of what was agreed in Havana. According to the Observatory for Monitoring the Implementation of the agreement at the beginning of 2018, before the country entered the long electoral process in which it finds itself, only 18.3% of the agreement. That's a relatively small number. leave, which may be partly due to insufficient financial and human resources to implement the agreements quickly and effectively, rather than a lack of commitment on the part of the Government.

However, in the face of this low percentage of what has already been implemented, there are other figures that show that the agreement It's having some positive results. This is the case of the decrease in the homicide rate in Colombia. This became one of the lowest in thirty years, with 24 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. In addition, the issue The number of displaced persons fell by almost half, from 91,045 displaced persons in 2016 to 48,335 in 2017, according to the Victims Unit. The issue The number of displaced persons had already been declining significantly in previous years, even at a faster rate: in 2002 the figure had been 757,240; in the following 14 years there was a decrease of 47,598 people on an annual average, including the 8 years of the presidency of Álvaro Uribe, who has been the great opponent of the terms of the agreement of peace.

Also the issue The number of victims of landmines has decreased, from 72 in 2016 to 58 in 2017, which has helped to generate a climate of greater trust in rural communities.

It is important to note that in the areas that had been most affected by the armed conflict, agreement with the provisions of the agreement It has been possible to set up new companies that benefit from the mechanisms envisaged for the "areas most affected by the armed conflict" or Zomac. However, these companies find themselves in a complicated environment, because although the FARC has completed the various phases of its demobilization, such as the submission and the return of recruited minors, FARC dissidents and other drug trafficking groups continue to operate in various areas.

Although there has been some progress, most of the implementation of the agreement. How do the two presidential candidates, Iván Duque and Gustavo Petro, deal with it?

Duque or Petro

Iván Duque is a lawyer and politician who has been a senator of the Republic for the Democratic Center, a party headed by former President Uribe, a great opponent of the agreement of peace. That has led many to think that if Duque becomes president, he will leave the agreement of Havana, without complying with it in his four years in office. His proposal is aimed at improving the Economics, reducing taxes on large companies, financing young entrepreneurship and prioritizing investment. In addition, it promotes a major reform of the Colombian justice system.

Gustavo Petro is an economist and politician, but he is also a demobilized member of the M-19 guerrilla group. He is from the center-left Progressive Movement political party. Petro proposes a model that focuses on "changing the model extractivist approach" and to promote agricultural policies. The central axes of its proposal are in the public sphere, fully guaranteed the rights to health, Education "quality, pluralistic, universal and free".

Colombia has never chosen a candidate He is a leftist to be president of the Republic, perhaps because the left is identified with communism and that associates it with the FARC. In any case, Petro has not been against the Havana agreements, and that makes him attractive to many Colombians who want to preserve what was agreed in 2016, in the hope of ending the armed conflict experienced by the country.

The truth is that it is difficult to legally go back on the agreement A constitutional reform established that the next three governments are obliged to comply with the agreement. If Duque wins, the agreement of peace may be subject to further changes, but in no way is Duque synonymous with war and Petro synonymous with peace. 

As Duque has said, making certain modifications to the agreements is not ending them. The candidate of the Democratic Center maintains that the agreement It must have certain adjustments that allow for the achievement of a peace that is "credible, sustainable and based on justice". Of agreement With his proposals, the main changes he would promote would be the following two:

Special Jurisdiction and Political Participation

The first has to do with the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), since Iván Duque in his government plan seeks to simplify the Colombian justice system, going from the current six courts to just one, with the aim of simplifying the Colombian justice system. purpose to achieve greater speed and efficiency in judicial processes. However, with this change, power can be seen as highly concentrated and centralized. A modification of the JEP provided for in the agreement The peace crisis may cause some uncertainty among the former guerrillas, with whom a certain leniency had been agreed.

On the other hand, the big change that Duque could make has to do with political participation. He believes that former FARC members who have been responsible for crimes against humanity cannot be brought to justice. congress without having served a sentence. Duque assures that he does not seek to do away with point 2 of the agreement of peace, which talks about the political participation of former guerrillas in the congress. If a member of the congress A conviction for such a crime is upheld subject, he should leave his seat and be replaced by someone of his own group that he does not have any crimes against humanity.

Although in the event of winning the elections, Gustavo Petro will not propose special modifications to the agreements, whoever the next president is will have serious challenges in relation to the peace process.


Party in Tolima in memory of the victims of the conflict [Victims Unit]

Party in Tolima in memory of the victims of the conflict [Victims Unit]


Most Important Challenges in the Next Presidential Term

The presence of FARC dissidents in border areas of the country is one of the challenges that the next president will face; Not only because of security issues, but also because of its link to drug production, which has increased by 52%. The Government is aware that about 10 per cent of the FARC fighting force has remained in the armed struggle, representing a total of at least 700 individuals, although other entities even double that figure. This dissident group is active in fifteen different groups, which have been concentrated in areas of the country such as Nariño, Norte de Santander and Cauca. In addition, another of the armed groups, the ELN (National Liberation Army), has begun to increase its presence in certain border areas, such as Norte de Santander. This not only poses a threat to Colombian security, but could also trigger a war between guerrilla groups and organized crime for control of the illegal coca production and drug trafficking business.

Faced with the continued presence of armed groups in part of Colombian territory, both candidates defend the increase in military personnel in conflict zones. However, in the face of the eradication of illegal crops, Iván Duque advocates the use of glyphosate, a strong herbicide whose employment it is rejected by Gustavo Petro on the grounds of its environmental effects. The use of this chemical, which is controversial in Colombia, could be seen as an effective way to eradicate illicit crops if their contamination is counteracted, for example, by planting new trees in areas where coca production can be eradicated. In any case, some environmentalists have used the negative image of glyphosate to ask for a vote for Petro in the second round of elections.

Another of the great challenges that the next president is going to face is the topic of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. The JEP is a body that is in charge of judging former guerrillas. It has judicial powers and "represents the backbone of the agreements signed". It is composed of five organs, each responsible for ensuring that essential parts of the agreement: "The conference room of Truth and Responsibility, the conference room of Amnesty and Pardon, the conference room Definition of Legal Situations, the research and indictment, and the tribunal for peace." The JEP is a complex body that depends especially on the progress of the peace process. In fact, one of the reasons for the major delays in the implementation of the agreement It has been slow in the constitution of this institution, which did not begin to function until last January. However, the obstacles suffered by the JEP have not only had to do with lack of activity, but also with issues such as the case of Jesús Santrich.

Santrich, one of the guerrilla leaders, who was a negotiator in Havana on behalf of the FARC and received one of the positions assigned to the new party in the congress, was arrested in April on charges of participating in a scheme to bring 10 tons of cocaine into the United States. Based on a research of the DEA, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. judicial authorities requested his arrest and are now awaiting his extradition. However, considering that all FARC members must be tried by the JEP, and that this body does not contemplate extradition, Jesús Santrich could not be handed over to the United States. In addition, at the moment there is no evidence of when the alleged drug trafficking crimes were committed, so for now it has not been possible to determine whether they occurred before or after the creation of the JEP. The former guerrilla is imprisoned in a Bogota jail and the FARC insists that he be released. The next president will have to determine how to proceed with the case. This is also a sample that there are gaps in the agreement, which generates a lot of uncertainty and gives room for the next president to take several directions.

Beyond Peace

On June 17, in the second round of the presidential election between Iván Duque and Gustavo Petro, the future of Colombia will be decided. As much as many Colombians believe that the decision is between war or peace, it is wrong to say this. As discussed above, the agreement It is very difficult to go back legally. The substance of the agreement must be respected by the next three governments. Even if it's true that with the candidate of the Democratic Center in power on agreement may undergo more modifications than would be applied by the candidate of the Progressive Movement, the possibility of consolidating peace remains open with either of them. Beyond peace, what is also at stake is the model of Colombian society. Although peace is one of the most important issues, the next president must not leave behind other important elements such as corruption, security, trade and poverty. Economics in the 2018-2022 presidential term of the Republic of Colombia. Candidates' position on these issues should also influence voters.

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