Colombia yearns for prosperity, peace three years after FARC deal

World Today

Colombia yearns for prosperity, peace three years after FARC dealPeople take part in a demonstration against Colombian President Ivan Duque’s government policies, in Bogota on November 24, 2019. (Photo by Juan BARRETO / AFP)

Three years ago, Colombia’s government signed a controversial peace agreement with FARC rebels, but peace remains elusive, and Colombians have been marching to express their discontent with the government.

CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports from Bogota.

Colombian protesters took the streets on Sunday for a fourth consecutive day. This time demonstrators were calling for the end to violence allegedly committed by anti-riot police after a student protester was left in critical condition due to an injury caused by a tear gas canister. 

The largely peaceful protests began on Thursday when demonstrators from listed grievances against the government. The complaints ranged from economic plans to corruption to the killing of human rights activists.

This Sunday marked three years since a peace agreement between the Colombian government and FARC rebel group went into effect. But violence in the country continues. According to Bogota think tank Indepaz more than 730 activists have been killed from January 2016 to June 2019.

“This is because the state has not fulfilled its agreements,” said Fabio Domingo Cortez, the mayor-elect of the town of Fuquene. “Their lack of compliance has been the main reason for  the students going on strike, and also the unrest in the agricultural sector, and the social leaders’ killings.”

President Ivan Duque says he will begin a “national dialogue” to address the route of the discontent. On Sunday, he met with mayors and governors from around the country. 

“I will plan proposals that will aid your development plans and help us, as well be more effective in the territories,” said Duque.

In an exclusive interview with CGTN to mark the anniversary, FARC member and former peace negotiator Ricardo Tellez said, despite difficulties in the implementation, they remain optimistic as they see more civilians supporting peace efforts.

“This agreement is for the Colombian people, and they are the ones who have to defend it, and they will enjoy its benefits,” Tellez said. “To return to war would be a crime. No one in the FARC wants that.”

The United Nations also marked the occasion with a statement calling on Colombians to remain committed to the efforts that “make peace sustainable.”