Recent concerns for Colombia continue to rise over Ivan Duque’s victory in the June 17th Presidential Election. Duque acknowledged through his winning campaign that peace and justice has not been fulfilled for the community and thus acquires an appetite for harsher punishment for former fighting FARC rebels.
Duque aspires to bar former FARC rebels from serving in Congress as a political party, a key concession allowed under the current terms of the peace agreement. A major concern falls under Duque’s incomprehension towards being both a member of Congress with a record of crimes against humanity. It is mistaken, however, that this outlook on peace discerns the fact that violence can be reinitiated as he calls for alterations to the peace deal. He claims, “to make it clear … a Colombia at peace is a Colombia where peace meets justice”. Any revision of the peace deal that involves sentencing FARC rebels guilty of serious crimes to proportional penalties is capable of reviving the tensions with former FARC rebels, thus hindering the peace sustained.
Adam Isaacson, Director of Defense Oversight for the Washington Office on Latin America suggests that “Duque is going to gamble that most former FARC rebels won’t go back to the jungles over the changes he wants.” Uncertainty for the Colombian community thus is concerned with the idea that the fall of the FARC Peace Deal could spark a new kind of tension that gives rise to resurgences, and yet convincingly “the FARC could also call his bluff, we already see that after a period of time when the vast areas of the country become newly safe, that the hot spots were getting hot again.”
Duque’s concerns for peace and justice is highly contested on the basis that his judgment for what’s best for the Colombian community obscures the fact that FARC’s presence in politics is protected by the constitution, making it no more an issue than it would if they were not. With FARC signing on to the peace agreement, there was a power vacuum on the land that holds valuable resources. The Popular Liberation Army (ELN) is no less a concern than what FARC first started out to be, and with Duque’s desires mirroring those of former President Alvaro Uribe, we can foresee that Duque’s future efforts may counteract peace making efforts through the use of extreme measures to promote conflict.
In 2016, former President Juan Manuel Santos struck the FARC Peace Deal, and Colombia’s Congress followed by ratifying it. By doing so, the FARC rebels ended the armed struggle that went on for over 50 years. The UN’s conflict resolution mechanism created terms for which FARC became demobilized and received a position in politics. While the Colombian community have felt robbed of their justice since the FARC Peace Deal was signed, plans to alter the peace deal are oblivious to the fact that the deal with FARC is not a deal with all remaining insurgents.
The future of the FARC Peace Deal administers many concerns for the Colombian community. Violence is beginning to resurge in the midst of the Colombian government’s failure to control the areas formerly held by FARC rebels. Restructuring FARC is one thing; however, other insurgents will newly claim the narcotic-trafficking routes in the areas the FARC once dominated. In this sense, as Isabel Montenegro in Social Communications’ puts it, “the future is uncertain for the victims if FARC return to war because the peace process fails.” As it pertains to peace and security, there will more likely than not be a challenge with Duque’s future intentions.
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