The Missing Image: Peace Process Needs Photo Showing Guerrilla Fighters Hand in their Weapons (S)
La Silla Vacía thinks that the Colombia Peace Process is missing an iconic photograph capturing the moment when fighters disarm — a picture like the iconic image of M19 Commander Carlos Pizarro leading a disarming ceremony in 1991.
Juanita Vélez and Juanita Léon explain in a note that such a picture would “help many people who are incredulous about the process to believe that FARC will really stop posing a threat to democracy”.
“However, that photo does not exist and probably will not exist. The reason is the same that explains many of the things in this process that are inexplicable for so many Colombians and that surely led to the victory of ‘No’ in the referendum: FARC do not feel that they have been defeated by the Colombian State and they do not want to have anything that conveys the impression that they were.”
“Therefore, the negotiations were presented from the beginning not as an act of surrender of FARC in exchange for the magnanimous generosity of the state toward the demobilized — as former president Alvaro Uribe and his followers wanted — but as a process between equals, in which each concession made by FARC received a reciprocal gesture from the Government.”
That means that, “Colombians will not go through the ritual that may come to symbolize such process, in a clear, beautiful and definitive way that marks the end of the armed struggle and the beginning of a transition”.
FARC insists that weapons will not be handed to the State. “Weapons will be silent when the will to use them stops”, which won’t happen unless conditions under negotiation are met. There’s a clear distinction, according to Silla Vacía. FARC is not “integrating” into Colombian society but have signed a Peace Agreement to “transform” society.
In line with that, the Agreement rather than establishing the conditions for their demobilization, establishes the conditions that must be created so that neither they nor anyone else in Colombia feels that weapons are necessary to engage in political activity or to be treated with a minimum of respect and dignity in the countryside.
“Such a picture, however, could help the peace process far more than all the interviews and optimistic speeches from the High Commissioner for Peace and President Santos on the change represented by the agreement with FARC”. La Silla Vacía