We officially communicate, as a newly constituted Directorate, that between August 22 and 25, in an extraordinary meeting of commanders, it was decided to continue the armed struggle of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP), formalizing the relaunching and reconstruction of our organization and its militias, the Clandestine Communist Party and the Bolivarian Movement for a New Colombia, and to launch the Bolivarian Campaign Strategic Plan for New Colombia, whose guidelines follow the Political Manifesto of the aforementioned structures.
A new stage of struggle for the awakening of consciences
From the Inírida that caresses the Amazon rainforest and the Orinoco with the tenderness of its fresh waters, surrounded by the fragrance of Vaupés, with its ripe pineapple, we announce to the world that the Second Marquetalia has begun under the protection of the universal right of all the peoples of the world to rise up in arms against oppression. It is the continuation of the guerrilla struggle in response to the state’s betrayal of the Havana Peace Agreement. It is the march of the humble, ignored and despised of Colombia towards justice on the horizon of the future. It will be for true peace, not betrayed, spreading its wings of popular yearnings over the perfidy of the establishment.
Rebellion is not a vanquished or defeated flag; that is why we continue the legacy of Manuel [Marulanda, founder of the FARC-EP] and Bolívar, working from below and with those below for political and social change.
We will seek to coordinate efforts with the ELN [National Liberation Army] guerrillas and with those comrades who have not folded their flags to demand a homeland for all.
This insurgency does not rise from the ashes like the phoenix to continue operating in the depths of the remote jungle. No. It will fly through those misty distances to embrace, with the strength of love, the dreams of dignified life and good governance that the common people breathe.
The target is not the soldier or police officer, the officer or the non-commissioned officer respectful of popular interests; it is the oligarchy, that exclusive and corrupt, mafia-like and violent oligarchy that believes it can continue to block the gateway of a country’s future.
The State will learn a New Operational Mode. We will only respond to the offensive. We will not continue killing each other so that a shameless oligarchy can continue to manipulate our destiny and enrich themselves, increasingly, at the cost of public poverty and the dividends of war.
During the final stretch of the peace process in Havana, and in the short space of a year post-agreement, we were able to verify that there are military and police who long for peace for Colombia, as much as the common people. They — who are uniformed people — were touched by the benefits of the Agreement and would now like to devote more time to their families, to study a career, to better prepare for the defense of sovereignty and to devote their weapons to the service of the people. We know that they would like to have enough power to tear out the epaulets from the corrupt high command… They do not want to continue being used by insane politicians as a trigger for false positives, for the murder of social leaders and ex-combatants. They do not want to remain complicit in the paramilitarism, forced displacement, inhuman dispossession of land and economic policies that victimize millions of Colombians. They are outraged that only they now have to sit on the defendants’ bench while the political elite that issued the orders indifferently contemplates the spectacle behind a mockery of impunity. After the Havana Peace Agreement, the vast majority distanced themselves from the absurd idea of being Washington’s puppets in an unfair war against Venezuela.
Compatriots and citizens of the world, our currency is: peace to Colombians, peace to neighboring countries, peace to the barracks that do not direct their sights and their cannons against communities. Unity, unity, unity… Mobilization of resistance against bad rulers, and for the construction of a new, just social order.
We announce our total renunciation of taxation for financial purposes. We will prioritize dialogue with businessmen, ranchers, merchants and the wealthy people of the country, to look in this way for their contribution to the progress of rural and urban communities. The only valid taxation will be — always based on the financing of the rebellion — that which applies to illegal economies and multinationals that plunder our wealth.
We will join forcefully with you in the fight against corruption, impunity, against the thieves of the State who, like leeches, are sucking the blood and even the soul of the people.
We will continue to be the same guerrilla protectors of the environment, of the jungle, of the rivers, of the fauna, which Colombians know, and we will continue to encourage the worldwide effort of reason to stop climate change. Count on our fierce opposition to fracking that pollutes our groundwater.
We want to work with all strata of humanist thought to build the homeland of the future.
We Colombians have the navigation chart of the Liberator to march towards “… an eminently popular government, eminently fair, eminently moral, that chains oppression, anarchy and guilt. A government that reigns in innocence, humanity and peace.” With this we will be committed wholeheartedly and relentlessly — as Marulanda said — to a constant struggle for change, motivated in the great cause of peace with social justice and sovereignty, for a New Alternative Government that will save the country from the general crisis.
Yes; our strategic objective is a peaceful Colombia with social justice, democracy, sovereignty and decorum. That is our flag, the flag of the right to peace that guarantees life. Life is the supreme right. None of the fundamental rights are applicable if there is no life. That is why we want peace for all with food, employment, water, shelter, health, education, roads, resources, connectivity, recreation and the broadest democracy. Only then will we make sense of life. Together we will be the torch of hope, the transformative social power that can make the deepest feeling that nests in the human heart a reality.
The history of Colombia is a story dotted with betrayals of agreements and hopes for peace.
In 1782, after signing an Agreement with the Spanish crown that promised the end of oppression, the communal guerrilla, José Antonio Galán, ended up betrayed, arrested and quartered alive. Parts of his dismembered body were exhibited at the entrances of some villages as a lesson and brutal recourse to deter rebellion.
After the battle of Boyacá — dawn of the independence of Our America — betrayal spread like wild fog, stirred by an unbridled ambition for wealth and power. And [General Francisco de Paula] Santander was the ringleader of betrayal. He tried by all means, in concert with the Washington government, to kill the liberator Simón Bolívar and destroy his legacy; he decorated with the Cruz de Boyacá the murderers of Marshal Antonio José de Sucre, who had defeated with his internationalist soldiers the colonial oppression in the pampas of Ayacucho. Santander is the hero of the Colombian oligarchy and is its paradigm; he is not the hero of the people.
That Santanderist oligarchy cut short the life of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, the leader loved by the people and who was for them, their hope of redemption. In their intransigence they did not forgive Guadalupe Salcedo, head of the liberal guerrillas of the Llano, who ended up shot down in the pacification of the 1950s. Nor was it lessened for Jacobo Prías Alape, spokesman for the communist guerrillas in peace talks with the Government of the National Front. In 1960 he was killed from behind in the town of Gaitania.
The Patriotic Union political movement, emerging from the first government-FARC peace dialogue, was shot dead. More than 5,000 activists and leaders of the UP were killed. A whole generation of revolutionaries and progressives were massacred.
After signing the peace agreement with the M-19 guerrillas in the 1980s, the State killed off, one by one, its main commanders, comrades Iván Marino Ospina, Álvaro Fayad and Carlos Pizarro Leongómez.
And already in the year 2011, a president of the Republic ordered the premeditated assassination of FARC-EP Commander Alfonso Cano, with whom he had been making exploratory contacts for months to open peace talks. This betrayal occurred, after a bombing by the Air Force, with the aggravating fact that the insurgent commander was captured and totally defenseless.
Since the signing of the Peace Agreement in Havana, and the naive disarmament of the guerrillas in exchange for nothing, the killing has not ceased. In two years, more than 500 leaders of the social movement have been killed, and 150 guerrillas have already been killed amid the indifference and indolence of a State.
When we signed the Havana Agreement we did it with the conviction that it was possible to change the lives of the humble and the dispossessed. But the State has not fulfilled even the most important of its obligations, which is to guarantee the lives of its citizens, and particularly to prevent murder for political reasons. All this: the trap, the betrayal and the perfidy, the unilateral modification of the text of the Agreement, the non-compliance with the commitments of the State, the judicial assemblies and the legal uncertainty, forced us to return to the mountain. We were never defeated militarily or ideologically. That’s why the struggle continues. History will record in its pages that we were forced to return to arms. We are heirs of the legacy of Manuel Marulanda Vélez. We are the continuation of that deed that began in Marquetalia in 1964.
Former President Santos swore in the imposing voice of the Nobel Peace Prize that he would not change a single comma of what was agreed, that he would fulfill what was signed in good faith and that he was not going to give us a rabbit. But he did not even dare to give land to the peasants who have lived there for decades, being something as simple as water. The land fund, the voluntary substitution of illicit crops accompanied by alternative projects and the improvement of living conditions in the countryside have remained, until now, lost in the labyrinth of oblivion. Santos did nothing to prevent the collapse of Political Reform in the Congress, knowing, like all Colombians, that no guerrillas disarm unless there are full guarantees of political participation for all. And to top it off, they sabotaged the Special Electoral Circumscriptions of Peace designed so that the victims of the regions most affected by the conflict could have a voice in the Congress of the Republic.
These are essential matters of peace. Now his successor in the Presidency of the Republic, Iván Duque, assures that what he did not sign, he is not obliged to honor, thus ignoring that the agreement was signed with the State, not with a government.
Who are Duque and the Democratic Center to ignore a State obligation elevated to constitutional norm, which today is an Official Document of the United Nations Security Council and Special Agreement of Art. 3 of the Geneva Conventions? The State that does not respect its commitments does not deserve the respect of the International Community, nor of its own people.
We were close to ending the dialogue to the longest conflict in the hemisphere, but we failed because the establishment did not want to respect the principles governing the negotiations, the pact sunt servanda [“agreements must be kept”] and good faith. After they achieved what they wanted, which was the surrender of arms by the guerrillas, they consciously shattered the Peace Agreement, tearing apart — as the Uribistas say — “that damn paper.”
Looking back, the first step of betrayal was the convening of an improper plebiscite. It seems that, rather than shielding peace, what Santos wanted was to defeat Uribe, exposing Colombia’s most important achievement in recent decades to the lies, politicking and media manipulation of Uribism.
Legislative Act 002 of 2017, which obliges the State institutions to comply with the peace agreement, was weakened incoherently even by the Constitutional Court that approved it. If some contents of the Agreement were not consistent with the constitutional regulations, the way forward was to modify it so that it did not collide with the provisions of the Final Agreement, always respecting international conventions on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
The amendments of this Court damaged the Victims and Justice for Peace Agreement, ended the autonomy of the JEP [Special Jurisdiction for Peace] as a closed jurisdiction, modified the conditionality regime to entrap only the guerrillas, excluded third parties involved in the conflict by protecting them with impunity, and extended the special jurisdiction for presidents of the Republic to all constitutional capacities. The Court also amended the Amnesty Law by ignoring clear provisions of the Rome Statute regarding the recruitment of minors.
That Court that had ruled that the Agreement could not be modified by the next three governments ended up tossing the reins to right-wing legislators who quickly shattered the fast track and destroyed it under the pretext of its normative implementation.
We ask where on the planet a peace agreement solemnly signed by a guerrilla army and a State, applauded by the world, has been unilaterally destroyed in this infamous way by people who were never plenipotentiaries of the parties? The Attorney General, right-wing congressmen of the Uribe and Duque political faction, and the United States Embassy commanded the inexcusable defeat of peace.
The prayer of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, which we remember from the beginning of the peace dialogues in Oslo, still holds today, before this reality, the most overwhelming force: “Blessed are those who understand that words of concord and peace should not serve to hide feelings of resentment and extermination. Cursed are those in government who hide impiety for the men of the people behind beautiful words, for the finger of ignominy will be pointed at them in the pages of history! ”
For the children of Santander it is still “first the law — in this case criminal law against the enemy — and devil take the Republic.” That fundamentalist vision was what killed peace.
How to build peace on these taciturn ruins? You have to start with something. And it has to be with the installation of a New Government in the Nariño Palace, placed there by a great coalition of the forces of life, social justice and democracy, to convene a new peace dialogue. A new dialogue that corrects and chains perfidy and bad faith, involving guerrilla forces and all armed actors so that we can found a definitive, stable and lasting peace, sealed with the collective commitment of Never Again. Peace without further assassinations of social leaders and former guerrilla fighters, in which weapons are truly removed from politics and placed far from it.
No more santanderismo
If we do not free ourselves from the curse of santanderismo, we Colombians will never have peace, nor a dignified homeland. With that ballast it will be impossible to take flight. Santander was a false national hero and “the archetype of simulation: he had no face but a mask.”
“It was not the paradigm of Colombia but of its destruction.” Santanderismo is “the triumph of the rogue over the honest man.” A “sordid rabula that sharpened its claws on the backs of the lawful treaties,” that was Francisco de Paula Santander. He stole the loan of 1824. He was invincible in the field of pettiness, that is, in elections, clientelisms, libels, suspicions, intrigues, in organizing majorities in Congress; controlled the judiciary and the legislature; manipulated the press of Bogotá. He planned with the United States to divide and demoralize the liberating army; sabotage the Afictionic Congress of Panama; dismember Colombia; impose racism, assassinate Bolivar and Sucre, and abolish Bolivarian political and legislative work. And he promoted Peru’s invasion of Gran Colombia.
The Liberator rightly said: “As for Santander, this wicked man has nothing left to do, he touches all the springs of intrigue, of evil, and that evil is to damage me and form his party … The existence of that monster of iniquity and perfidy is a perpetual burden to the government, myself and Colombia.”
A new way of doing politics
Viewed from the vantage of duty and purity, politics is a lofty manifestation of altruism, which drives — far from any individualistic material interest — to serve citizens and the homeland, not for gold or for fame or dominance, but for love and pure feelings of humanity; for the dignity of life and for the greatness of the homeland.
But politics in Colombia — with honorable exceptions — ceased to be a laudable practice and became the art of stealing and tricking accompanied by a loud and demagogic eloquence. Most politicians and their bishops embedded in the executive, legislative and judicial branches do not think of serving, but of enriching themselves. They invent laws and more laws every day to benefit big business, capital and themselves, while keeping the people far away from their heart. Venal magistrates interpret the law as the law of the funnel: “lo ancho pa’ ellos y lo angosto pa’ uno” [“the wide pa’for them and the narrow pa’ for me”]. The vast majority of our ills come from their absurd laws. Control of the Public Treasury, signing of contracts, juicy bribes, are the only things that sate their ambition. And to achieve this they buy everything: seats, mayors, governorates, and famished consciences to vote for them. The State has been kidnapped by outlaws and the mafia of corruption and impunity. Its rescue and release is in the hands of the mobilization of consciences, of the nation en masse, of the united people. That is the force that can do it.
The sovereign has the last word
Yes. We must lift this republic from the ruins. And that can only be done by the people, who are the true sovereign. The Colombian social and political movement has the floor. In the introduction of the Final Agreement of Havana, there is a compromise that was suspended in the firmament and that it is necessary to revive; this is the call for all parties, political and social movements, and all living forces in the country to conclude a great NATIONAL POLITICAL AGREEMENT aimed at defining the institutional reforms and adjustments necessary to meet the challenges that peace demands, implementing a new framework of political and social coexistence. The prevailing regime, of neoliberal policies, of corruption and war, of the current class in power, has placed before us two paths: either a recomposition is opened as a result of a political dialogue, and the institutionalization of changes resulting from a Constituent Process Open; or those changes, sooner or later, will be conquered by the outbreak of the dissatisfaction of an entire people in rebellion.
Let’s keep trying the most unified exit; let’s open all paths of approach; let us analyze and collect the multiple proposals and platforms developed by the popular field and the critical intellectuals of the country and embroider with them a single flag, to march as an open constituent process towards overcoming exclusion, misery and immense inequalities; towards the in-depth democratization of the State, social life, restoring sovereignty and seeking to influence the processes of change in Our America, and guarantee the well-being and good living of our people. It is also about strengthening our aspirations and taking them to a new level where a Constituent Assembly, sufficiently representative and with full guarantees of action, can give a definitive impetus to the structural transformations that Colombia needs.
Young people, women, peasants, Afro-Colombians and Indigenous peoples, unions, political parties, the workers’ centrals, the unemployed, Christians and members of other religious creeds, environmentalists, sportsmen, the communal movement , the LGBTI rainbow, those who dream of peace, all of us, must join forces to conquer the goal of a new country, of a new social order, with an economy at the service of the nation, which is governed by the principles of humanity to stimulate domestic production and employment. To provide free, quality education at all levels, as the first need of the Republic. An international peace policy that takes up the idea of Bolívar, of forming in this hemisphere a Great Nation of sister Republics that guarantees our independence and freedom. A new order that in proclaiming national sovereignty outlaws the extradition of nationals, the free will of multinationals and the presence of foreign military bases in its territory.
The unity of the social and political movement of the country with its flags of dignified life deployed in the wind is the transformative power, the power of social change that we must strive to build.
The strength of the people is in UNITY, in national collective work for the dignity of Colombia and its people. Transformative power conforms to the unity and strength of all the consciousnesses that converge from all the cardinal points where the longing for a new homeland throbs. We must not let ourselves be cornered by warriors and tyrants.
Let’s be a single fist held aloft, for a new government, a transitional government. Not more of the same. Let us take the helm of Colombia and direct it, without wasting time, towards the shores of human dignity. We are more. Let us apply the strength of union and reason to bring to the Nariño Palace a government that is loving of its citizens, respectful of its neighbors, the enemy of war, sovereign and in solidarity with the peoples; with new institutions integrated with virtuous, honest people, of human merits and feelings. A government that creates the happiness of the people.
The struggle continues.
With Bolívar, with Manuel, with the people in power!
FARC – People’s Army