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The National Petro Deal: Five Red Lines to Avoid Failure

2023-03-31T02:55:45.991Z


In terms of agreements, Colombia can no longer afford to make the same mistakes as in the past President Gustavo Petro has said that the final objective of total peace is a great national agreement in which all Colombians commit ourselves "not to kill each other anymore." Put like this, in those crude terms, the national agreement is an unobjectionable proposal. However, the history of Colombia has taught us that making agreements not to kill us anymore has not been enough to achieve peace


President Gustavo Petro has said that the final objective of total peace is a great national agreement in which all Colombians commit ourselves "not to kill each other anymore."

Put like this, in those crude terms, the national agreement is an unobjectionable proposal.

However, the history of Colombia has taught us that making agreements not to kill us anymore has not been enough to achieve peace.

The National Front pact, which was signed in 1957 between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party, stopped an undeclared civil war in which nearly 200,000 Colombians lost their lives and which became known as the era of La Violencia, with a capital letter.

However, despite the fact that this agreement was intended to go to the root causes of the violence -it proposed an agrarian reform that sought to give occupation and land to the peasants- and that it proposed an "unrestricted democracy" far from " ferocious dogmatisms”, ended up becoming an exclusive pact of elites,

that closed the door to the new social and political expressions that were making their way in that Colombia that was heading towards reconciliation.

Instead of bringing us peace and removing weapons from politics, this pact was the breeding ground for a new cycle of violence, marked by the appearance of the guerrillas and by the start of an armed conflict from which we have not yet emerged. .

To get out of this new cycle of violence, and with death knocking on our door, Colombians promoted another national agreement in 1991, which crystallized in a new Constitution.

We sought to leave behind that label democracy, similar to an orangutan with a sac that allowed all kinds of abuses without ever breaking the constitutional order.

The Constitution that we made continues to be one of the most advanced charters on the continent in terms of rights, but that great advance was not enough either.

The political elites did not develop the charter and instead unleashed a counter-reformation wave of great proportions.

Just when we thought we had achieved total peace, the hardest years of the war came upon us.

More than 800,000 Colombians died and nearly 200,000 were disappeared between 1985 and 2018,

In 2016, we signed another agreement again.

This time it was a peace pact between the then government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC guerrillas, and the same thing happened: one of the most powerful guerrillas on the continent was disarmed, the rates of violence were reduced, but the country was left deeply divided and the implementation of the agreement, halfway.

Now, in the midst of a polarized country, marked by rising rates of violence and fearing that he is entering a new cycle of violence, Gustavo Petro, the first left-wing president in 200 years of history, once again talks about a new national agreement as a way to move forward with his reformist agenda.

The problem is that when it comes to agreements, Colombia can no longer afford to make the same mistakes as in the past.

That is why it is necessary for the Petro Government to have at least five considerations before re-saddling the beasts.

The first of these, the most obvious, is that it cannot be an exclusive pact.

If this pact is reduced to the fact that the left of Petro and the right of Álvaro Uribe make peace, as many predict, due to the rapprochement that has been taking place between the two sectors, we will start badly.

This does not mean that the rapprochement that is taking place between President Petro and former President Uribe should not be appreciated, nor should it be highlighted the wise decision made by José Félix Lafaurie, the prominent Uribista bishop who presides over the powerful ranchers' union, to form part of of the government delegation in the peace negotiations with the ELN, the last historical guerrilla that we have left.

The same can be said of the signing of the agreement between the ranchers and the Government of Petro,

that will allow the State to purchase three million hectares to be delivered to landless peasants.

That a sector that has always represented the most radical right, such as the cattle rancher, is interested in implementing one of the points of a peace agreement that they have always opposed is a great step towards reconciliation and a historical fact.

However, a new national agreement that seeks true peace cannot be limited to Uribe and Petro making peace, because we would be repeating the mistakes of the past.

The second condition that this national agreement should have is that it cannot be used to negotiate agreements below the rope that affect the independence of Justice.

Above all, it must be clear that the election of the new prosecutor cannot be agreed upon in the dark, much less at a time when former President Álvaro Uribe has several investigations against him for violations of human rights in the Prosecutor's Office, and in the precise moment when he is about to go to trial, accused of having manipulated witnesses.

This national agreement cannot be to agree on impunity for anyone or to whitewash the image of the businessmen who helped finance the paramilitaries.

That is why we hope that the rumor that has been circulating lately is false, according to which Héctor Carvajal, a prominent lawyer who was the attorney in the past of Gustavo Petro and Álvaro Uribe, and who has been the person who has facilitated the meetings between the two, is campaigning with a view to being the new prosecutor of Colombia.

A new national agreement should aim to rescue the Prosecutor's Office from the jaws of those who privatized it and turned it into an instrument to punish political opponents and to protect economic powers.

In the Government of Uribe, Justice suffered the onslaught of drug traffickers and parapolitical groups.

In the case of Juan Manuel Santos, the Prosecutor's Office became a hunting ground for Néstor Humberto Martínez, a prosecutor who came to that entity with conflicts of interest as great as his ambition.

His successor, Francisco Barbosa, is his best apprentice and behaves not like a prosecutor but like a politician on the campaign trail.

The third condition is that the national agreement must have as one of its premises to take the weapons out of politics.

If the ELN wants to be part of it, they will have to do it, but without weapons.

This is what the M-19 did in 1990, when he decided to sign peace with the purpose of entering political life and participating in the assembly that formulated the new Constitution.

So did the FARC.

Unfortunately, the ELN has not yet decided to stop the war, as reflected in its reprehensible attack against a military base in Catatumbo that claimed the lives of seven young soldiers who were doing their military service and two non-commissioned officers.

The fourth condition is that this national agreement should establish at least a minimum consensus on what the new anti-drug policy is going to be like and how it is going to negotiate with organized crime, with the mafia, a scourge that it has been blending in at all levels of power and that it is now impossible to separate it from what we are.

This negotiation cannot be done below the ropes as has happened in the past, but in front of the country and the product of a great national agreement.

The last condition is the most important: it is necessary to avoid that this national agreement falls prey to the spell of Adam.

A national agreement that ignores history, that is incapable of building on what has been built, is an agreement that is doomed to fail.

An exclusive pact is as dangerous as a pact that is born of pride and that encourages a feeling of superiority over others.

That would prevent any consensus and open the way for autocracy and personal worship.

It is true that the peace agreement with the FARC did not put a change in the economic model on the table.

But it is also true that this agreement, which many now despise, opened the floodgates for a left-wing president to come to power and could present a reformist agenda that now seeks changes in the economic model and military doctrine.

We are the country that has made the most agreements to achieve peace.

Hopefully this time the flute will sound for us.

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Source: elparis

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