“May this be the last day of war,” were the words FARC Comandante Timoleón Jiménez chose to begin his comments following the signing of a ceasefire agreement with the Colombian government, going on to recall former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who he described as “a warrior for peace in Latin America and the Caribbean, without whose valuable initiative and efforts, this historic event would not have been possible.”
Jiménez noted that 52 years after the beginning of the conflict, the FARC had reached agreement with the Colombian government, which “leaves us at the threshold” of a final accord, allowing for a return to legal, democratic political life.
What Presidents from guarantor and accompanying countries present here can attest to is that this agreement is not a capitulation on the part of the insurgents, but rather a product of dialogue between two forces which have been in fighting for half a century, without being able to defeat the other, he said.
The guerrilla leader said that the signing of the accords cannot be interpreted as something imposed, that the process involved long discussions and times of frustration, but that anyone who denies the importance of these agreements is causing great harm to the country.
He expressed his confidence that final agreement was near, to put an end to the conflict and signal the beginning of lasting peace. Remaining to be resolved, he said, are a few key points, but that a struggle will be required to ensure that what is agreed is, in fact, implemented. An ongoing mobilization of the people, Jiménez insisted, will be necessary.
He said that the FARC-EP will be involved in the country’s political life, using peaceful, legal means, with the same rights afforded all political, noting that the Colombian government must ensure that citizens are not persecuted for their political positions.
He likewise emphasized the important role communities will play in ensuring the peace in rural areas, and eliminating unemployment, insecurity, the lack of public services, crime, and paramilitary groups.
Jiménez commented that those who will benefit the most from an agreement are future generations, and that is why the FARC is extending its hand to youth, to construct of a new country, to defend peace and reconciliation.
The FARC-EP Chief of Staff concluded his comments as he began, “We are confident that within a reasonable time, we will celebrate the signing of a final agreement. May this be the last day of war.”