Why aren’t Colombians celebrating?

The oldest guerrilla in Latin American handed over their weapons but the citizens of Colombia don’t seem to be too thrilled

Colombia peace no Santos

After more than 50 years of armed conflict in the South American country, the oldest guerrilla in Latin America said goodbye to weapons. This event is perhaps one of the most important of the decade. The disappearance of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia FARC as an armed group.

However, Colombians are not celebrating because most of them are skeptical.

The news comes at a time when the country is barely recovering from a terrorist attack perpetrated in the capital, Bogota. Although it had nothing to do with the FARC, it left the feeling that there still is violence that can hinder the integrity of citizens.

On the other hand, during the last months, there has been a de-escalation of violence throughout the country due to the bilateral cease-fire negotiated by the government and FARC guerrillas. In other words, several municipalities have felt a relief in terms of security. Therefore, the mere fact of the FARC ceding their last weapons doesn’t necessarily mean a direct modification in their everyday lives.

There is also skepticism when it comes to the peace process itself. On October 2nd, 2016, when people were summoned to the polls to endorse the agreements, six million of Colombians said no to what had been signed in the treaty. Their discontent was based on how impunity comes to those who are guilty of atrocious crimes.

This was a negotiation in which both sides had to give in. On the one hand, the government granted legal and political benefits to the guerrillas, and on the other, the FARC committed to abandon their criminal activities and focus on helping the victims.

Today the deal is being fulfilled. We can already talk about ex-combatants, militants who have changed bullets for words. A clear example of this is Jesus Santrich, one of the guerrilla negotiators, who is leading a hunger strike as a means of asking for the release of various FARC prisoners. Needless to say, years ago this petition would have been carried out through a kidnapping or a bomb.

What the country is experiencing is something historical, a change that has not been measured accurately yet. It is the disappearance of a group that has negatively impacted the lives of millions of Colombians. Even if people do not understand the importance of what happened today, over the years to come, June 27th 2017 will be part of history books when this war becomes a matter of the past.

LatinAmerican Post | Kevin Fabian Garavito Caballero.
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto