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    NewsLatin America"Colombia deserves peace": 'Timochenko', last leader of the FARC

    “Colombia deserves peace”: ‘Timochenko’, last leader of the FARC

    The peace agreement signed six years ago “has transformative potential,” he told the voice of america the last commander-in-chief of the now-defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and current leader of the Comunes Party, Rodrigo Londoño, alias ‘timochenko‘, who bets on “total peace” after decades of armed conflict.

    Londoño was key in the negotiations in Havana, Cuba, which concluded with the signing of the peace agreement signed together with the then president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, on November 24, 2016.

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    “There has been progress in these six years, the peace agreement has a transformative potential for Colombian society and now with the arrival of Gustavo Petro to the presidency, who from the beginning has been clear that implementation is the basis for building a new Colombia,” the ex-guerrilla told the VOA.

    The foundation of the political force led by Londoño, as a result of the Havana agreement, marked a milestone in the history of the armed conflict in the South American country with the disarmament of what was one of the longest-lived guerrillas in Latin America.

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    With this, 52 years of hostilities between the Colombian State and the FARC, whose members restarted their lives in civil society with political participation in Congress for 10 years.

    Londoño affirmed to the VOA that the government of Gustavo Petro has been working on the implementation of the first point, which is related to land.

    “Petro promised to carry out the agrarian reform, Colombia is the only country in Latin America that does not have an agrarian reform. Agreements have already been made to start the purchase of land in order to implement that point,” Londoño said.

    FILE – In this September 2016 file photo, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, Rodrigo Londoño, greet each other as they sign the Peace Agreement. in Havana, Cuba.

    In turn, Londoño expressed that the second point is the political reform “it has already begun to be advanced in Congress. “Suddenly it does not meet all the objectives that we would like, but it is starting for a reason and that is going to change the dynamics of politics in Colombia because it will give space to many more sectors to express themselves and influence the decisions of the State”, he added.

    “Complete peace”

    The leader of the Comunes Party was optimistic during the dialogue with the VOA regarding the current Colombian political context, arguing that “it is possible” to reach an agreement with all the armed actors through the mechanisms that the Petro government is developing to seek “total peace.”

    “We must work for total peace if we want to build that Colombia that we dream of, that Colombia that takes advantage of the potential of our country, its natural wealth, the potential of its men and women, the potential of work; we need to work for total peace, of course it is possible,” said Londoño.

    Also read: From guerrilla to party. What has happened to the FARC in 5 years of peace?

    At an event last week in Medellín, the current senator and leader of the Santos government’s negotiating team in the Havana accords, Humberto de la Calle, said that “the first steps towards total peace must be aimed at implementing the agreement of peace.” He was also confident that “this government will speed up in that sense.”

    “The government must continue working on the vitality of the agreement so that it is not lost, continue addressing key points such as political reform, which is a key element within the agreement, along with other points that have not been developed and that are fundamental for total peace to move forward,” said de la Calle.

    FARC: victim or perpetrator?

    During the interview with the VOALondoño considered that the disappeared FARC are also “victims” of the armed conflict and, as such, they have the right to denounce it.

    “We have the right to denounce the relatives who murdered and displaced us. I have a daughter that they tried to kidnap when she was 11 years old, what did she have to do with the conflict?” the former guerrilla leader stated. “This happened to several of the ex-combatants with her family.”

    However, Ingrid Betancourt, former presidential candidate and kidnapping victim by the FARC, does not agree with the possibility that the disappeared guerrilla be classified as a “victim” of the conflict in Colombia.

    “It is clear that the State must answer for crimes and State terrorism. But it is also true that the FARC were perpetrators and not victims,” ​​the current leader of Green Oxygen said in a statement.

    “Colombia deserves peace”

    Six years after the peace agreements in Colombia, the Petro government is advancing rapprochements with various factions of the FARC dissidents that broke away from the 2016 agreements and returned to arms.

    Within the proposals to achieve “total peace”, President Petro has opted for rapprochement and dialogue with the different armed groups that operate in the different regions of the South American country, including the FARC dissidents.

    Regarding this initiative, Londoño affirmed: “Colombia deserves peace, there is a lot of injustice, inequality and all the things that we have questioned that do not allow people to live well, so the message is that we contribute to that. It is from other scenarios and without the need to minimize the adversary through armed means that the country can be transformed”.

    However, from the opposition, Senator María Fernanda Cabal, from the Democratic Center party and critic of the peace agreement and the Petro government, has said in recent days that the peace agreement “is not an example of anything” and criticized the current Londoño’s role in a message sent through his Twitter account.

    Meanwhile, the last leader of the FARC assures that “he does not like to remember the character who accompanied him in the war” and that now -like Rodrigo Londoño- “he is in political plans and educating the people”.

    Source: VOA Español


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