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Communique: The longed for peace has not been defeated

2. May 2002


1) The rupture of the peace process did not take the FARC-EP by surprise. Since October it had been evident the Pastrana government had already taken that unfortunate and costly decision. The fundamental reason is that the ruling oligarchy, inspired by Washington´s growing support, is not ready for now to come to agreement with the people-in-arms concerning the structural, economic, political and social changes that would make peace viable for all. They only want a peace that would guarantee their privileges and profits. That is why they ran the issue of a cease-fire and cessation of hostilities counter to the discussion on unemployment and the very development of the Common Agenda for Change Toward the New Colombia. Thus, the presidential statement of October 7 was the beginning of a series of obstructive actions and the hunt for pretexts to definitively terminate the talks and cancel the demilitarized zone, a decision finally taken with the blessing of the government of the United States. The retention of senator Guechen Turbay was just the final pretext to put an end to the process that because of the government´s own desire had been unfolding in the midst of the war.

2) By means of negotiation, we did everything possible to avoid war, but the state just tried to gain time while it increased and upgraded its war machinery. They had a strategy for war, not one for peace. Thus, institutional transformations never were their purpose; nor was improvement of the living conditions of Colombians. Rather, it was the submission of the guerrilla movement at whatever price. Faithful to the oligarchy´s history of betrayal, Pastrana did not keep his word promising 48 hours for the evacuation of the guerrilla movement from the scene of the talks.

3) The conflagration of the war, added to the general crisis of the institutions, threatens disaster for Colombia. The chiefs of the traditional parties, responsible for the vast and multiple violence exercised from the top levels of state, have brought the country to this situation. The war, which Horacio Serpa, Nohemi and Uribe Velez, the candidate of the “new pajaros” or paramilitaries, were demanding as an electoral strategy, does not address the economic stagnation or the fiscal deficit, the external debt similar to that of Argentina or the precarious state of public welfare, the unemployment of more than 30% including casual work, the poverty affecting more than 30 million Colombians, or finally, the prostration of Colombia due to the policy of neo-liberalism. When this discourse came to an end because Pastrana´s government declared war; when they observed the attack on the state´s infrastructure that affected their sources of financing; when they saw the sensational retaking of El Caguan dissolve into nothing, and that the war must be financed, then they modified their political discourse like political chameleons. But responsibility for the new stage of the war just beginning belongs not only to these chameleons. The Bush government is to blame for having increased its intervention in the internal affairs of our country through “Plan Colombia”, with the approval of Pastrana´s puppet regime. Also to blame are the country´s top businessmen and their powerful information media that spread false news, the civilian and uniformed warmongering rightwing of all shades and even some hierarchs of the Catholic church who from their pulpits demanded the suspension of the peace process. After the events of September 11, and to respond to the requirements of the White House, Pastrana broke with the peace talks and overnight turned us into terrorists, while in the whole previous period he himself considered us to be a belligerent political organization. By classifying the FARC-EP as terrorist, the government did not take into account that it was spitting in its own face. The issue is that the Colombian oligarchy is dreaming US imperialism´s anti-terror crusade, the new pretext for subjecting the world´s peoples by force, is its last hope in the face of the growing pressure from millions and millions of compatriots who demand social justice and structural changes now.

4) In spite of this situation of war and catastrophe generated by the folly of the rulers, and since the Colombians´ desires for peace continue to be valid, we express our readiness to hold an exchange of prisoners of war with the state so that the guerrillas held prisoner in the jails, as well as the officers and sub officers of the Armed Forces being held by the guerrilla movement together with various members of Congress, one presidential candidate and an ex-minister of the state, can recover their liberty that has been affected by the conflict. Our proposal is to hold a National Constituent Assembly with real popular representation, one that would meet in a demilitarized zone that would guarantee the participation of the guerrilla movement as a belligerent force and of the armed opposition to the regime in its deliberations, an assembly that would create the basis for the future peace by means of a National Accord.

5) We call upon Colombians to not support presidential candidates of the right and neo-liberal continuity with their votes and to not allow themselves to be taken to the polls like voting cattle. The Congress that came to be on March 10 is illegitimate, as much due to the high rate of abstention of about 60% as to its 30% paramilitary makeup and to the other large percentage of corrupt and patronage dispensing politicians, there being few exceptions who won their seats with honest work and hard struggle against the liberal-conservative bi-party machinery. In such circumstances, the country should prepare to disavow all the acts and laws arising on the initiative of the benches of paramilitaries and dirty political chiefs who today form the new Congress.

We congratulate the Colombians who abstained from voting and the more than a million of our compatriots who rejected the war and dirty politics by casting blank or void ballots and unmarked cards. In the name of the Bolivarian Movement for the New Colombia, which we lead, we call upon everyone to close ranks against the rightist authoritarianism that is trying to impose itself, and to grasp with strength and determination the banner of the struggle for liberty, sovereignty, dignity and social justice. We affirm the new democratic government proposed in our platform as a Government of National Reconciliation and Reconstruction.

Secretariat of the Central General Staff of the FARC-EP
Mountains of Colombia, April 2002