The Government of Colombia and the ELN Sign the Acuerdo de Mexico

March 10, 2023

The ELN and the Government of Colombia, chart peace in Mexico

The government of Colombia and the Army of National Liberation (ELN) signed the Acuerdo de Mexico on March 10 2023, setting a new agenda for peace dialogues in Colombia.  This agreement is considered the roadmap toward a covenant among Colombian society that will lead to a great National Agreement and reconciliation, as a result of structural transformations.  It also includes the initial elements for participation of society as a whole and for a cease-fire between the government and the ELN.

This negotiating table and new agenda are the instruments of a process begun in 2012, which is continuing its development today in a deepening crisis of drug trafficking, political corruption, and economy worsened by the global crisis that menaces life on this planet, according to the language of the agreement.  It adds that for the step of overcoming internal conflict in order to carry out political, as well as social, economic, environmental, and cultural transformations, it is necessary to have a national agreement that has the power to bring together / arouse the support of all sectors of society.

The majority of the people of Colombia have lost faith in those who by action or omission have worsened the crisis, the document drawn up on March 10 in Mexico in the presence of Vice-President Francia Márquez and Chancellor Álvaro Leyva.  the parties to this process identified the necessity of a great national Agreement that will be able to move forward the changes that Colombian society needs.  It should consolidate through the alliances of political, economic and social forces, movements, and organizations, communications media, and many different groups and expressions of the will of the people to advance these necessary changes.

Among other aspects, it indicates that this task with be carried out considering gender perspectives, the rights of women, of the LGBTQ+ population, the rights of ethnic peoples and care for Mother Earth.  In addition, initiatives and experiences of society will be included, along with recommendations and resources of national and international bodies intended to increase participation of women in constructing and maintaining peace.

The political solution to the conflict will be based in the commitment of all the political powers, institutions, and government authorities to work for a policy of peace in the country that cannot be changed by any subsequent government.

The two delegations called for democratic participation of all sectors of society, without exclusions, to agree upon the transformations that the various regions and the country as a whole will require and to undertake a process of transformations that will lead to full democracy.

National sovereignty, comprehensive peace, the defeat of corruption, protection of Mother Earth, overcoming the current system of exploitation and depredation, and creation of the conditions for social and economic equity: these are the banners that guide those who march toward these goals.

The President of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, hailed the Acuerdo de Mexico reached by the Colombian government and the ELN.  He stated, “We hope that during the next cycle of talks, which we have the honor of hosting in Havana, the advances toward peace in Colombia will continue.  The path is peace.”  Chancellor Bruno Rodriguez also stated on social media, “We consider the adoption of the Acuerdo de Mexico: New Agenda for Peace Dialogues between the government of Colombia and the ELN to be an important step forward.  He added, “We salute the signing by the parties to this agreement and the definition of the preliminary aspects for addressing a Cease Fire and participation in the next round of talks in Cuba.”

The agreement called Acuerdo de Mexico sets forth an innovative route map and establishes a shared vision of the peace that the negotiating parties seek.  With this agenda, these parties seek to establish a national agreement that is inclusive, participatory, and transformational.  As expected, the third round of talks will take place in Havana, as the Cuban authorities agreed to the request by the Colombian government and the guerrilla group.  Cuba is a guarantor country for these conversations.

Guarantor and accompanying countries reiterated their commitment to peace in Colombia.  “As an international community committed to diplomacy, dialogue, and peaceful solution of conflicts, we will continue to accompany the transformative decisions and the inclusive actions produced by this negotiating body,” stated Alejandro Malmierca,  the representative of Cuba.  He highlighted that in this framework, the guarantor countries are accorded the responsibility of defending the perspective of the right to peace and of non-intervention, supporting the fulfillment of the agreements and the commitments accepted.  “Because of this, we congratulate and recognize the determination and constructive work of all parties during these weeks of work, as attested to by the advances realized during this second cycle of discussions.”

Best practices have demonstrated that the broadest possible participation creates the greatest possible durability, impact, and legitimacy of the results of negotiations, he maintained.

“Guarantor countries and permanent accompanying countries welcome the successful beginning of the discussions regarding the principles that will guide participation for peace-building and the bilateral and national cease-fire,” said Angela Bargellini, of the United Nations.  They also congratulated the decision to centralize / mainstream the gender perspective at the negotiating table.

“ As guarantor nations, Brazil, Cuba, Chile, Mexico, Norway, and Venezuela, and, as permanent accompanying entities the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, and the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, we reiterate our firm commitment to, support for , and confidence in the Negotiating Table for Peace Dialogue between the Government of the Republic of Colombia and the ELN, hoping that this process will bring valuable and transcendental changes for the whole region,” she added.  She expressed this at the end of the second round of talks held in Mexico.  The next phase will take place in Cuba.

Source: Cubadebate

Colombian Vice-President Francia Márquez Analyzes the Message of Peace between the Government and the ELN

“I want to say to the ELN … that here is a Vice-President who comes from peoples who have fought, just as you who decided to take up arms have, we decided to take up the battle of resistance,” she said.  Francia recalled the historic struggles of the people of Colombia, especially of her ancestors, against a exclusionary system and an economic model that abandoned the greater part of the population.  In the same manner, she referred to the so-called poly-crises of the world (economic, environmental, health, and others, including war) which her country also suffers from.

“This shared struggle in many ways, differentiated, of course, is the struggle that we continue to attempt to carry out today, but removing armaments from the path,” she indicated.  She emphasized that arms and warfare “have only left us damage (…) profound pain in Colombia, a hurting society, a broken society.”

“What should we do? Should we continue to wage war, or should we accept the challenge of the leadership that President Gustavo Petro has called together, and of the youth (…) who have called for change?” she asked.

She stressed that war takes away resources that could be invested in health, in drinking water, in basic foodstuffs.  She stated that as vice-president she embraced this new agenda that seeks to put in place peace dialogue in Colombian society.

On March 10 2023, the second cycle of the Negotiating Table concluded and the Acuerdo de Mexico, New Agenda of Dialogue: Participation, Democracy, Transformations for Peace, including several points, were signed..

The principal focal points are participation of the society in construction of peace, Democracy for peace, Victims, End of Armed Conflict, and General Plan for carrying out the agreements between the National Government and the ELN.

Source: Prensa Latina