Madrid, Mar 16 (EFE) The vice president of Colombia, Óscar Naranjo, said today that the peace process with the FARC is “irreversible”, developed with “complete democratic participation”, and denied that it is based on “impunity”, given that 38 judges pertaining to special jurisdiction for the peace process study the cases of 6,900 ex-combatants.
Asked about the upcoming May presidential elections and the possible winner, he suggested that there is “resistance” to violence on the part of the Colombian population, during remarks made at a colloquium organized in Madrid by the International Spain Forum.
And he asked political leaders to “take note of the growing intolerance towards war and conflict,” when asked his opinion of Uribista candidate Ivan Duque, although Naranjo took pains to avoid appearing partisan.
He noted that the desire to “tear up” the peace agreement has disappeared from even the most radical political discourse.
With regard to negotiations with the ELN, he demanded “coherence” from its leaders, and called on them to demonstrate with “acts” the will for peace, which they’ve expressed in words.
Naranjo thanked the “collaboration of Spain” in the peace process.
The Spanish Foreign Minister, Alfonso Dastis, who introduced him, commended his “intelligence” and his “commitment to public service,” highlighting Spain’s “permanent” commitment to peace in Colombia.
“We seek peace, we did it and now we have to build it, and here we turn to our allies and friends in Spain,” Naranjo replied.
The agreement with the FARC strengthens the “democratic institutionality,” he said, and he cited the legislative elections last Sunday, the first electoral participation of the FARC in over five decades.
He justified the FARC’s 10 seats in the legislative branch as a small price to pay for the “conversion of bullets into votes,” as they abandon the armed struggle for political participation.
After 53 years of war, he admitted that other “unarmed” social conflicts persist, which can not be denied, and pledged to lessen the development gap between urban and rural areas.
He also evoked the memory of the tens of thousands of dead in the conflict. “His light and sacrifice compel us,” he emphasized.
On organized crime, he pointed to “signs of wanting to submit to justice.” The government has prepared a bill to facilitate the Prosecutor’s Office to prepare “collective” accusations under ordinary criminal law.
In relation to the coca fields, he said that now, after the conflict, an enormous opportunity presents itself for 123,000 families to replace coca cultivation with legal substitution crops.
The assessment of the fight against drugs and drug trafficking cannot be based only on “statistics”, he argued, but on a “multidimensional system” of political decisions of the state, institutions, budgets, sustainable development, and democratic governance.
Regarding Venezuela, Naranjo indicated that Colombia is not in favor of a potential military intervention, but of a “non-traumatic democratic solution.”
He defended the strategy of “economic sanctions” on specific groups and people, but stated he was not in favor of “general embargoes.”
He praised the “professionalism, correctness, prudence, and firmness” of the Colombian armed forces in the face of Venezuelan “provocations” on the border.
Regarding the Venezuelans “desperate” to emigrate to Colombia, he deemed it a pressing “humanitarian crisis” and was grateful for the support of international organizations.
This article was translated from the PanAm Post’s Spanish page