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Yonatan Vargas*, Venezuelan delegate, who is participating in La Vía Campesina International Verification Mission interviewed Carlos Antonio Acosta about the process of implementation of the Peace Agreements in Colombia. Acosta is a representative of the Monterredondo Capacity Building and Reintegration Territorial Space.
The former fighter stated that the ceasefire and the surrender of arms should be followed by the State complying with its commitment related to reintegration guarantees and access to lands, without restrictions.
“There have been reconciliation actions, apologies to many communities for many wrongdoings during the war. We´ve said that we are not apologizing for our struggle that started 53 years ago, but for the impacts that this may have caused on innocent communities… The only alternative they gave us was to use of weapons, and thus we combined all forms of struggle”, said Carlos Antonio.
The interview was conducted in the framework of the work carried out by the 2nd International Mission of La Vía Campesina through four Colombian departments and several dialogue spaces in the capital of the country, Bogota.
The Mission ended its journey on Monday 27th with a press conference where the organization that gathers over 200 million peasants around the world, from the five continents, restated its commitment to the peace building process, especially with reference to conflicts related to rural communities. The Nicaraguan delegate and also former Sandinista fighter, Faustino Torres, said during the press conference: “there are differences between what the government says and what happens in the territories. The fulfilment of the agreement has been very poor”.
In the interview, Carlos Antonio highlighted the need to comply with the agreement related to the release from Colombian prisons of insurgent political prisoners, thus allowing them to reunite with their families.
“In Colombia there is a dominant class that has never wanted to acknowledge that it forced the people to take arms”, and which refuses to take charge of this historical responsibility, added Acosta.
In particular, he made reference to the difficulties to implement the agreement and the scope of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, which was part of the agreement, and added that since the agreement was signed, over 160 leaders have been executed in different circumstances.
The Mission also visited, although not without the resistance by different actors, the area of Tumaco, in Nariño department, where eight peasants were massacred on October 5th while peacefully protesting against the forced uprooting of coca crops.
“Ever since we signed the peace agreements we are certain that most Colombians want peace. We are determined to continue our struggle in a legal way, nobody can change this decision”, said Carlos Antonio.
*Vargas is member of the Ezequiel Zamora Peasant Movement of Venezuela, member of CLOC-VC. Real World Radio is joining the Verification Mission in Colombia.
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