As the peace process advances in Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos, government officials and representatives of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force party, FARC, met Thursday in Cartagena to review the implementation of the final peace treaty signed November 2016.
Among the external verifiers of the treaty’s implementation were Jose Mujica, former president of Uruguay, and Felipe Gonzalez, the former Spanish president.
During a speech after the review meeting, Mujica called on Colombians to embrace peace and stressed the importance of this process not only for Colombia but for the entire region. "If this fails, Latin American history fails."
He then went on to criticize the voices against the peace process saying that “those who do not know and measure the long-term cost of war do not value peace,” adding that you cannot ask people to give up arms then put them in jail for 30 years.
Alvaro Uribe, former Colombian president and staunch detractor of what he calls peace with impunity, took to social media to insult Mujica calling him a criminal, and to attack Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos for “partnering with narcoterrorism.”
In an interview with Caracol News, Jose Mujica asked the former president to contribute to peace. “He can be decisive for peace,” Mujica said referring to Uribe, and added “we must see if the important thing is to settle old scores, or to fix the future for those to come.”
During the meeting the national government highlighted progress made in providing protection for ex-combatants and for the newly formed political party that kept the former guerilla’s acronym, FARC.
The Colombian government also stressed the humanitarian demining process that has, according to official figures, benefited 2.4 million people in 180 localities, and provided figures on the liberation of ex-combatants: 476 amnesties, 197 pardons, and 945 conditional releases granted.
On the other side, FARC representative Ivan Marquez criticized the implementation of Special Jurisdictions for Peace, which according to him deviates from what was agreed on in Havana, Cuba but reiterated that the peace process is not reversible.
Last month Marquez had warned that the peace process was in a deep crisis and asked Santos to save it by "taking exclusive control over its execution."
He identified serious obstacles to peace, among them the lack of progress on land redistribution and access to credit, and the fact that community organizers continue to be targeted by paramilitary forces.