Co-operatives Colombia Ecomun (Economías Cooperativas del Común) Economy/Economics FARC Human Rights Jesus Santrich Land ownership Land Use Movies Patriotic Union (UP) Peace Accords Solidarity State Repression United States

The Fragility of the Colombian Peace Accords and the Reincorporation of Ex-insurgents of the FARC-EP

The Fragility of the Colombian Peace Accords and the Reincorporation of Ex-insurgents of the FARC-EP

Mural in a single of the FARC reincorporation zones (Photograph by Viviana Rocha)

On this article we talk about the (non-) implementation of the Colombian peace accords, based mostly on a convention given by Victoria Sandino, a number one FARC determine.We additionally look at an initiative, Ecomun, to construct peace by way of the development of various economies in the Colombian countryside.


The peace settlement reached in 2016 between the Colombian authorities and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – Individuals’s Military (FARC-EP, now renamed the Revolutionary Various Drive of the Widespread, preserving the acronym) provided a chance to show the web page on many years of battle. It was additionally a recognition, by the Colombian authorities that the armed resistance was not a matter of “terrorism,” however fairly rooted in the structural inequality of Colombia, and the countryside particularly.

However two years on we discover the peace accords are at their most fragile level, as a consequence of what Victoria Sandino phrases as a scientific non-implementation from the Colombian authorities, each beneath Juan Manuel Santos, who ended its time period in August, and at present underneath the far-right presidency of Ivan Duque. Political violence and assassinations are rampant, and statistics, that are in a short time outdated, complete over 340 social and political leaders murdered since the peace deal, together with 84 FARC members. The specter of the Patriotic Union (UP) isn’t very distant.

This political violence is a end result of the unchecked exercise of paramilitary teams, who proceed to behave as shock troops for Colombian financial pursuits, previous and new, clearing the means for brand spanking new investments and defending the established ones. Organisations mobilising for labour, indigenous, Afro-Colombian, peasant, environmental rights are continually attacked with impunity by paramilitaries. These now function extra by means of focused killings, versus armies that occupied territories, and often beneath the identify “Aguilas Negras” (“Black Eagles”).

Past the fixed human rights violations, beneath the complicity or direct duty of Colombian authorities, regardless of the guerrillas fulfilling their finish of the discount and placing apart their weapons, different elements of the peace accords are additionally ignored. One of them considerations the political participation of the FARC. Their presidential candidate, Rodrigo Londoño “Timochenko”, needed to name off his presidential marketing campaign as a result of a far-right mob, armed and lethal, stored popping up at each marketing campaign occasion.

As well as, the Havana agreements contemplated financial measures which, for the very first time, confirmed a willingness from the Colombian authorities to deal with some of the points that underlined the decades-long armed battle. Chief amongst these was land reform. Colombia has traditionally had one of the most unequal land distributions in the continent, with the largest one % of landholdings concentrating 81 % of the land.

This situation was then compounded by a inhabitants of over 7 million internally displaced Colombians, principally from rural areas, leading to a peasant inhabitants that’s by and giant landless and finds it very arduous to subsist. For sure, the Colombian authorities has not moved an inch on this financial reincorporation of ex-guerrillas and rural communities usually (extra on this under).

“The government has not done anything. The cooperatives and productive projects in the reincorporation zones, many of them run by women, have been left to fend on their own,” added Sandino.

Victoria Sandino talking in an occasion organized by Swiss celebration SolidaritéS (Photograph by Ricardo Vaz)

One of the most blatant violations from the Colombian authorities is the case of Jesus Santrich, a high-level FARC commander and key negotiator in the peace course of. Santrich was arrested in April. He staged a starvation strike for 41 days to protest towards his detention, and the time and jail has taken a toll, Sandino defined. Santrich is blind, and no effort is made to take him outdoors nor to offer him with a pill that might permit him to learn or write.

Santrich was arrested on directions from the US Drug Enforcement Company (DEA), accused of conspiring to ship 10 tons of cocaine to the United States, and with makes an attempt to extradite him being fought in courtroom. This has been denounced each in Colombia and overseas as a transparent violation of the peace accords, with no proof being produced to put his fees outdoors the jurisdiction of the Particular Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) tribunal arrange as half of the agreements.

“The attack is not just against Santrich. The goal is to take out the entire leadership from the struggle, either through imprisonment or extradition,” Sandino summed up.

Santrich was one of the FARC leaders slated to take 10 assigned seats in the Colombian senate. This case has additionally severely examined the religion of sectors inside the social gathering on the peace accords, with main determine Iván Márquez not taking his senate seat in protest. When requested if Santrich’s case put the accords in jeopardy, Sandino was clear in her reply:

“It does not place the accords in jeopardy, in the sense of our returning to the mountains. We are committed to peace. It is insecurity and the non-compliance from the Colombian government that put peace itself at risk,” Sandino concluded.

Peace coops: The instance of Ecomun

Given the grim image painted above, some ex-guerrillas have left the reincorporation zones to search for security and means of subsistence elsewhere. They will hardly be blamed. However others stay hopeful and defiant. Whereas it has develop into very arduous for them to current their mannequin for an alternate society in the political area, they hope to point out it on the financial entrance.

Ecomun (Economías Cooperativas del Común) is a cooperative trying to make strides on this facet. With a lot of expertise accrued throughout the armed battle and totally different expertises, they hope to behave as a sort of umbrella cooperative that may undertake some tasks in addition to present help to others, alongside efforts to doc all these experiments. Given their insertion in the Colombian countryside, agricultural manufacturing is one of the fundamental avenues being pursued.

Agriculture and animal rearing are some of the fundamental actions that Ecomun needs to develop in the Colombian countryside (Photograph by Viviana Rocha)

It is very important level out that the widespread coca rising in Colombia is nothing however an financial situation. Merely put, peasants couldn’t subsist on some other crop. Crop substitution plans by no means went very far, with a basic lack of infrastructure and free commerce agreements not serving to these “voluntary” efforts and the pressured eradication by way of herbicide spraying being most popular.

Ecomun stresses that crop substitution is the objective, however that pressured eradication criminalization of coca producers shouldn’t be the strategy to go about it. A number of of their tasks are aimed toward constructing a solidarity financial system by way of productive tasks that may present a livelihood for ex-combatants and peasants in zones that have been marred by battle. These span a spread of areas, from farming to fishery, in addition to agritourism and tradition.

Nevertheless, a number of elements are wanted to get these tasks off the floor, and that is one other space by which the Colombian authorities has not held its finish of the discount. The program to redistribute land to landless peasants is but to start out, and the new authorities is even much less inclined to take action. Moreover, peasants and ex-insurgents have nearly no entry to credit score, with loans having calls for they can’t fulfill, nor to any authorized help in the course of of creating cooperatives.

The place the authorities has not delivered, Ecomun is hoping that solidarity will step up and fill the void. They’ve launched a fundraising marketing campaign with a number of objectives. The concept is to create a Solidarity Revolving Fund (SRF) in order that fledgling cooperatives can have entry to reasonably priced loans to leap by means of some of the preliminary hurdles, amongst them entry to land.

The ex-guerrillas will not be naive in considering that cooperatives can simply flourish amid a capitalist setting resembling the one in Colombia. Their creativity and exhausting work, in addition to the incontrovertible fact that revenue shouldn’t be the holy grail, will not be sufficient to offset the structural elements of the Colombian financial system. Somewhat, they hope to develop various financial networks that may create native economies which have a level of self-sufficiency, in addition to deliver agroecological practices and environmental considerations to the forefront.

Peasant lady working in a textile cooperative (Photograph by Viviana Rocha)

With hindsight anybody can decide the FARC’s determination to guess on a peace course of, whether or not the lack of good religion from the Colombian authorities was to be anticipated or not, however this was their collective determination and time just isn’t going again. The present battle is one for survival, and the FARC’s potential to showcase and enact their imaginative and prescient for an alternate society faces horrible hurdles. Add to that Colombia’s central position in the US empire’s projection of energy in South America, and the conclusion is that the odds are clearly towards them.

However at the similar time, no one anticipated this to be straightforward, definitely not the ex-guerrillas themselves. They hope to rely on the worldwide group to carry the Colombian authorities to account and, maybe extra importantly, they hope solidarity actions will play their position. Whether or not it’s by denouncing human rights violations or by supporting cooperatives for financial reincorporation, small steps may help shorten these odds.

• First revealed in Month-to-month Assessment on Line