Juan Pablo de Laiglesia assured yesterday that Spain will continue to “always” support peace in Colombia, both with the FARC and with the ELN.
“All Spanish governments of democracy have had as their foreign policy axis contribute to the solution of conflicts in Latin America by the only way we consider appropriate, that of negotiation and dialogue, and Colombia is no exception”, declared the Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America and the Caribbean, during his participation in the forum Building Peace in Colombia, organized yesterday by the Association for Human Rights of Spain (APDHE) at the headquarters of Casa de América.
“The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, began his term with a visit to Colombia in which he made clear” to President Ivan Duque that “Spain is not only willing to support the implementation of the peace agreement with the FARC, but is willing and available to support the Colombian government should it decide to relaunch negotiations with the ELN”, he added.
According to De Laiglesia, the current peace process with the FARC – initiated with the agreements signed in 2016 in Havana by the government of former President Juan Manuel Santos – could become “a model for future peace processes in long-entrenched conflicts”. “All peace agreements are ambitious”, but “none” has a monitoring apparatus or an “architecture” of reconciliation and truth-seeking like that of Colombia, he continued.
However, he cautioned, it should not be ruled out that, over time, “some deficiencies” in the peace process will begin to be “highlighted”, which “impose the need to make adjustments” that, in some way, distort “the essence “of the agreements. For this reason, he declared, “the international community can provide decisive support, so that if there is to be any adjustment, it is an adjustment within the spirit of the peace agreement”.
This support, he added, must be accompanied by a “pedagogy” so that international support is not perceived in Colombia itself “as an interventionist attitude, as has happened elsewhere”. “I can assure that the Spanish Government and Spanish cooperation will be very much behind the fulfillment of these agreements”, he said.
“More than ten million victims” of guerrillas, paramilitaries and the State
In the same act (which was moderated by Carlos Castresana, prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Spain on leave), the president of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), Patricia Linares, recalled that “the Havana agreement was made on behalf of the State of Colombia, not of the Government “and that” the Constitutional Court has decreed that the essence of the agreement can not be modified in the next three presidential terms”.
She also assured that the main “vocation” of the peace agreement is the “closure of the conflict”, for which a “restorative justice” has been set in motion instead of a “punitive justice” to clarify the truth of a conflict that has caused “more than ten million victims” at the hands of guerrillas, paramilitaries and agents of the State, as well as “six million internally displaced persons”.
“You have to turn the page of the story, but first you have to read it”
For its part, the director of the Missing Persons Search Unit, Luz Marina Monzón, denounced that Colombia is “one of the countries with the highest number of missing persons in the world, with more than 80,000 forced disappearances, more than 30,000 kidnappings and more of 16,000 illicit recruitments”.
Likewise, the Spanish Carlos Martín Beristain, the only non-Colombian member of the Truth Commission established by the peace agreement, assured that a “full and inclusive truth” must be sought, which gathers the denunciations of all the victims of the war, and “a transforming truth” that helps “never happen again”. “You have to turn the page of history, but first you have to read it”, he said.
Linares, Monzón and the director of the Truth Commission, Francisco de Roux, were honored yesterday by the APDHE for “their outstanding role in the process of building peace in Colombia”.