We’re in the Final Phase of the Colombian Peace Negotiations

The Juan Gossain’s interview of Humberto de la Calle Lombana will undoubtedly be a landmark event used in the future by analysts of this peace process to divide into the before and after of the process of dialogue and negotiation.

The process is going through a critical moment of significant decisions, and I agree with the Government’s Chief Negotiator when he states that this process is in its final stages, whether in the good sense, if both parties come to an agreement; or in the bad sense, if we return to nothing more than military confrontation, perhaps forever burying the possibility of a political pact to end this armed uprising of more than half a century.

In general, the interview comes across as balanced and with important messages: extradition is the President’s decision and if there is an agreement it will be off the table. The FARC require an agreement which will allow them political participation and justice formulas that do not imply an iron bar jail and stripped pajamas. Humberto de la Calle doesn’t say it, but before the grave crimes in question, committed by both actors of this large confrontation, sanctions are required. These sanctions refer to privation of liberty, for all, the question is for how long, for who and under what conditions - what I understand as “effective confinement,” properly accommodated, as was expressed to me by a European diplomat a couple months ago. These subjects are in the interview, and they are important.

It was unnecessary to state in the interview that perhaps one day they may not return to Havana or that the FARC have been strategically defeated. The former can be verified by the FARC and the latter is not true. The FARC has been diminished, displaced deep within Colombia, but they have not been defeated.

In my opinion, the most important piece is the concept that this is the final stretch of the negotiation, and I believe both sides will reach an agreement on reparations, guarantees of no re-incidence and justice, which would open conditions to come to a bilateral cease-fire, serious and verifiable as is required.

It is not time for pessimism. Those of us that believe in a Colombia in peace so that we can advance in broadening this precarious democracy, we know that there is only one path: the negotiated agreement — which, we reiterate, will not take us to paradise, but will take us out of hell.

Written by Luis Eduardo Celis (@luchoceliscnai)

Translated by Michael Soto (@misoca)