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News > Latin America

Colombia: Official Calls on Presidential Candidates to Build on FARC Peace Accord

  • Colombians supporting the 2016 peace treaty.

    Colombians supporting the 2016 peace treaty. | Photo: EFE

Published 27 March 2018
Opinion

The director of national planning stressed the importance of the U.N. as a "pressure mechanism." 

The director of Colombia’s National Planning Department, Luis Fernando Mejia, believes no executive power “right-wing or left-wing, will be able to backtrack on the historical milestone of closing a conflict of over 50 years with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).”

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The comments were made Tuesday in Prague, during a preliminary meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Mejia also stressed the importance of having the U.N. as a “pressure mechanism” to ensure that whoever wins the presidential elections “will have to build on what has already been signed.”

Colombians will head to the polls on May 27 to vote in presidential elections. Currently, the leading candidate is Ivan Duque, of the Democratic Center Party, created by former president and staunch detractor of the peace agreement signed with FARC, Alvaro Uribe.

The Colombian government and the FARC signed a peace treaty in November 2016 that led to the armed group’s demobilization and insertion in Colombia’s political life. However, the fulfillment of the agreement faces serious obstacles, most importantly the continued murder of social activists and leaders across the nation, which have reached over 250 since the peace treaty.

According to political analysts, the right-wing victory in Colombia’s legislative could further block the implementation of the peace treaty.

In late December legislator Ivan Marquez chastised the Colombian Congress for trying to "reconfigure the treaty" instead of implementing it.  Among the most relevant complaints are that the Special Jurisdiction for Peace was crafted as a body of justice for FARC members, excluding all other actors as agreed in Havana, and the refusal by Congress to designate legislative seats for the victims.

Other issues also remain, so far there has been no progress on land redistribution, no modernization or access to credit, and community organizers continue to be murdered.

With that in mind, an executive ruled by anti-peace process political forces like Uribe’s Democratic Center threatens not only the implementation of the peace treaty with FARC but also the currently ongoing negotiations with the National Liberation Army, ELN.

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