A piece of news was known on the day of the National Day of Remembrance and Solidarity with the Victims: President Gustavo Petro will meet with the leaders of Justica y Paz, former paramilitary chiefs who have already served their sentences.
The president said that it is necessary to have the meeting to review the state of the law in relation to the construction of peace in Colombia. He pointed out that the truth is important.
“You have to do a kind of final phase of the justice and peace law, the former paramilitary leaders who have passed their sentences today say publicly that they would be willing to meet with me, I believe that this meeting should take place, it is necessary that the government and beneficiaries justice and peace law meet to see what happened to the assets, what happened to the law.”
It was clear that the economic resources were a point to review, since it is essential to verify that the victims have and are being adequately compensated.
He added that “we must assess to what extent that peace process was truncated and can end and end, to what extent we can make an inventory of goods that were actually purchased by the National Land Agency for agrarian reform, represent significant money in the acts of the victims’ unit and the rate of monetization and real compensation to the victims in Colombia is increased”.
Total peace: Are there limits when negotiating in the middle of war?
The total peace of President Gustavo Petro is probably going through one of its most complicated moments, in the midst of what would be a hard struggle between the ambitions of the government and those of the different armed groups in the country. Some of which have opted for different paths to demonstrate their power in the midst of negotiations or, in the worst case, take advantage of the government’s outstretched arm.
The truth is that the challenge that this peace effort entails for the government in political and social matters is not small, beginning with the ELN, which until a few weeks ago was understood as one of the most advanced negotiating fronts of the government, with the second cycle running. The same that now falters due to what has been interpreted in some sectors as insufficient signs of peace or even a war footing..
Probably one of the events that has most marked this process recently was the murder of nine soldiers in Norte de Santander, one of the departments with the greatest presence of this guerrilla. Of these men, two were non-commissioned officers and seven boys were doing military service.
Young people who, for the most part, fulfilled their task, as part of the Energy and Road Battalion number 10, of taking care of the roads and the strategic infrastructure of the country, when they were ambushed with explosives and rifle shots.
As an unfortunate coincidence, these facts contrast with the public statements and orders that the national government has made about removing young people from military service in conflict zones. A guideline that seems quite complex to comply with, taking into account the human needs of the Army to maintain its presence in the territories.
However, yes puts between a rock and a hard place a government that on the one hand has assured that it will remain firm in peace and that he will not be the one to get up from the negotiating table with the ELN, and on the other hand, he faces emotional recriminations from the families of the soldiers killed in combat. As happened to the Minister of Defense, Iván Velasquez, with the mother of one of the young men killed in Catatumbo.
“What are these guys fighting about? A peace that where is it?Corporal Juan Mateo Benavides’s mother told the minister.
Even more serious with regard to the stability of the peace process, are the photographs that have become known in the last hours of armed members of the ELN together with six minors in the same territory where the nine soldiers died. To be more exact, in the municipality of Tibú, in Norte de Santander.
The images have been interpreted as one more provocation of the ELN to the GovernmentAlthough, according to what the mayor of Tibú told the newspaper El Tiempo, the presence of this guerrilla patrol in the territory was brief and was for the purpose of supplying food. However, the situation is still especially complex taking into account the evident violation of International Humanitarian Law involved in involving children in the conflict.
For his part, President Petro (who has not yet spoken out directly about these events) ended up involved in a political discussion after responding to these photos to Senator María Fernanda Cabal, who accused him of being “in an effort” to “hand over the country to the ELN ”.
Added to this are other ELN actions that do not demonstrate a real commitment to “total peace,” as was the attack on the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline (the fifth to this oil infrastructure so far this year), generating profound human, environmental and economic impacts.