The conclusion of the six-point general agreement between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia–People’s Army (FARC-EP) and the government of Colombia is a big step towards ending the longest armed conflict in the American hemisphere. The latest opinion polls show 72% of Colombians intend to vote “yes” in the Oct. 2 referendum on the agreement, a result which would mark a decisive rebuff to the reactionary hard-liners who wanted to wage unending war against the FARC-EP.
Negotiated in Havana during a lengthy process encouraged by the government of Cuba and supported by the international community, this agreement opens the door to a new era for the people of Colombia, after decades of state repression and paramilitary violence. While achieving radical change will take time, the re-entry of the FARC-EP to the political sphere will help change the balance of forces in the country, helping the popular movements to strengthen their resistance against austerity and neo-liberalism.
But the people of Colombia still need our solidarity, to block attempts by the fascist forces to assassinate activists, as they did during the 1980s against the left-wing Patriotic Union, and to keep up pressure on the government to fulfill the reforms contained in this agreement. Not least, the 9,500 political prisoners languishing in Colombia’s jails must be released, and the right-wing paramilitaries must be disarmed and disbanded.
The FARC-EP deserves warm congratulations for its principled struggle to win peace and social justice in Colombia, going back more than half a century to its origins in defence of rural working people under attack by landowners and armed gangs. People’s Voice will continue to help inform people in Canada about the progressive and revolutionary movements in Colombia, and to build solidarity with their struggles.