Open letter: Let’s relaunch a Bolivarian Movement for a New Colombia

August 6, 2019

The people cannot remain dispersed 

We, who are part of the Bolivarian Movement, and other patriots, which include different sectors of the Colombian people, thousands of peasants and workers, men and women, Afro-descendants and Indigenous peoples, the LGTBI population, youth and students, intellectuals and artists, victims of the armed conflict and residents excluded from the large cities, unemployed and migrants, have seen the hope of the heroic achievement of a Peace Agreement crumbling, which had it been implemented with resolve and good faith, could have prevented the continuation of the bleeding of the homeland, allowing for significant progress towards an inclusive country, healing the wounds left in Colombians after more than 55 years of state neglect and a sustained war against the majorities in all aspects of social, political, economic and cultural life. 

Photo: Resumen Latino Americano

The Havana Agreement with the Colombian State aimed to move towards a new era for the Republic, where the first steps were taken for the effective realization of a Comprehensive Rural Reform that would dignify our peasantry and remove Colombian agriculture from inveterate backwardness. This was an illusion promptly mocked by the establishment, which blocked the turnover of10 million hectares agreed upon for the peasants and continued its policy in favor of the agribusiness transnationals, landowners and financial speculators.

What they now call the end of the conflict and disarmament was reduced to the unilateral and unconditional surrender and dismantling of the military capacity of the popular rebel army of the FARC-EP [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army], a gesture to which the State responded by consummating the betrayal of all agreements and resuming the war to the death against ex-combatants, social leaders and entire communities. A dirty war against the social and political organizations that spans from the signing of the agreement until July of this year has cost the sad sum of more than 500 leaders in the territories and more than 140 former guerrillas killed; a dirty war that has de facto thwarted the promise of democratic openness enshrined in the Final Agreement and which continues to hamper the possibility of building political alternatives outside the traditional parties and legal and illegal mafias, which will be evident in the next regional elections.

The persecution and disfigurement of the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition (SIVJRNR) has been a stab at the victims whom the spirit of the Havana text placed at the center of the Agreement. With the exclusion of the obligatory appearance of third parties before the JEP, most of the country’s victims have been denied the satisfaction of their rights. The system’s very meaning has been violated because it sheltered all the actors of the extensive armed conflict, and was not meant to be a court trial for the rebels.

The enemies of peace have further fueled legal uncertainty for the signers of the Agreement and the alteration of what was agreed by the parties. Judicial assemblies such as the one created against Jesús Santrich, the extension of the imprisonment of almost 400 rebels who still await their release, and a string of deceptions and traps in the legal developments and implementation of the SIVJRNR rules, have shattered the commitment to restorative justice that was the essence of the Final Agreement. 

FARC-EP Commander Alfonso Cano, murdered by the Colombian state in 2011,
initiated the call for the Bolivarian Movement for a New Colombia.
The millions of Colombians who believed in that promise of peace, which would benefit the vast majority of our people, excluded by the State and stricken by the conflict, are now witnessing a kind of return to the past. The Duque puppet government, under the aegis of Álvaro Uribe Vélez, is implementing a military strategy that he has euphemistically called “Security and Defense Policy for Legality, Entrepreneurship and Equity,” but which is the resurrection of the plan of war called Democratic Security, this time incorporated with the global plans of NATO, which have turned our homeland into a vile military platform, which is already reaping blood and suffering for the Colombian people and exporting death to our sister countries.

Foreign and domestic policy continue to be directed from Washington. The new president, like his predecessors, has handed over sovereignty to imperial geopolitical interests and the greed of large corporations. However, as a people we do not renounce our right to a sovereign homeland, to live in peace with social justice and to create alternatives to realize this precious asset for all Colombians.

But the people cannot remain dispersed. We are in arrears of re-editing and re-creating spaces that really embrace the large majorities that believed in the agreement and that yearn for peace. Two hundred years after the victory in Boyacá, it is necessary to reclaim the patriotic ideology of “Our America” to build the future and utopia, summoning the entire social and political movement under historical and current Bolivarian slogans such as unity, sovereignty and peace for a New Colombia. The flags remain valid because the problems, far from being resolved, have increased. 

The proposal for a Bolivarian Movement for a New Colombia [Movimiento Bolivariano para la Nueva Colombia – MBNC], initiated by the historic insurgent Commander Alfonso Cano more than 19 years ago, is a proposal still in force, where we the patriots of heart and conviction could meet, struggling and expressing ourselves in many and varied ways for the cause of the Colombian people.

We want to count on all patriots to embrace this deferred dream. In particular, we have been deeply moved and aided in our moral stand by the heroic deeds of Jesús Santrich and the dignified and revolutionary conduct of Iván Márquez and the comrades who accompany them, expressed in a transparent way in their historical self-criticism, a fundamental contribution to redirect all emancipatory and revolutionary efforts. With these patriots, and many others, we want to summon the rest of the discontented, organized and unorganized Colombians, women, men, youth, students, Indigenous, Afro-descendants, peasants and farmers, patriotic conservatives and liberals, new citizens, pacifists, antipatriarchal and anti-fascists.

We appeal to the accumulated experience of so many years of work for the just causes of the people, to the dignity and decency demonstrated in the face of so much noncompliance and treachery, by bringing to Colombian politics, which have accumulated a deep knowledge of traps and pitfalls, as well as of virtues, the flags and slogans of the Bolivarian Movement for a New Colombia.

We believe that those who feel the duty to return to the course, should use their authority and experience to convene and promote the proposals and principles that invited us, from the year 2000 and at the initiation of Commander Alfonso Cano, to the formation of the nuclei, to the constitution of the Bolivarian Patriotic Council of 100 Colombians noted for their activity for the good of the country and their moral purity, and in general to travel along the path of our liberator towards the New Colombia that has cost us so much.


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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