It’s not too late to build peace

Often the haze produced by political noise makes us lose sight of the essence. This is what has happened with the Peace Agreement. Five years have passed since the pact between the State and the FARC, which ended a war of decades, earned a Colombian president the Nobel Peace Prize, motivated celebrations from shores as different as Russia and the United States, and put our country in the international spotlight for being a reason for hope for the world, a sign that, despite the difficulties, dialogue shows a way. And yet we keep doubting, stumbling. We lose ourselves in minor politics, in individualistic squabbles. We forget the basics: betting on peace is the best and the only country project that may be able to unite us. If we allow it, if we do not forget the essence.

Perhaps the international look will do. It should do. During his visit to our country, António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), wrote: “For a world marked by conflicts, many of them without an end in sight, Colombia sends a clear message: this is the moment to invest in peace ”. He also used us as a reference for another contemporary tragedy: “The peace process here in Colombia inspires me to make an urgent call to the protagonists of the conflict in Ethiopia for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to save the country.” Finally, he concluded: “As a friend and ally of Colombia, I have a very simple message: we must seize the historic opportunity of the Peace Agreement and not take a step back.”

We agree with the secretary general. A five-year period has been enough to overcome the resentments that left alive the plebiscite and the politicization of the Peace Agreement. It is time to take up what was agreed upon as a unifying opportunity and a moment to fill the historical gaps in our fragile democracy.

These five years have left us with certainties and diagnoses. We already know that some of them betrayed the agreement and returned to arms, to irrational violence. Before them, the state must be strong. But we have also seen the unwavering commitment of ex-combatants who, despite being hunted down and killed, and censored in public debate, have continued to insist on keeping their promises. For them it has been worth all this effort; for them, too, persistence is justified.

But the benefits of the Agreement go much further. Ultimately, what was promised at the Teatro Colón is what we have known for years that the country needs. We are still in debt to an agrarian reform, to improve political representation, to reach the abandoned territories with the State and to change the paradigm of the war on drugs. These objectives do not have surnames, they are spaces that could serve for consensus, since what is at stake is the well-being of the country, of our democracy, of our institutions.

Colombia is inspiration for the world. Peace should also be an inspiration for Colombians. We already defied all the odds and sat down to talk. Let’s not forget that one day we were a country without a future and now we have carved out a new opportunity. Let’s resume peace as a national project. It’s not late. It is never too late for peace.

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It’s not too late to build peace