R. Zapatero: ETA’s end to violence was less difficult than peace in Colombia

This content was published on 29 November 2021 – 16:02

Madrid, Nov 29 (EFE) .- The former president of the Spanish Government José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said this Friday that the task so that he could end the violence of the terrorist group ETA, which he faced, was “difficult, but compared to Colombia, he it seems “something completely much more bearable.”

“I have had to face some end of the violence, I consider it a difficult task to see the end of the ETA violence and, compared to Colombia, it seems to me something completely much more bearable,” said the former socialist leader, about the end of the activity armed of the gang in 2011, during his government.

Rodríguez Zapatero intervened in a seminar organized by the Spanish Ministry of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda and the Carlos III University of Madrid on the recent fifth anniversary of the Colombia Peace Agreement, together with the former president of that country Juan Manuel Santos and the last head of the FARC, Rodrigo Londoño, architects of the process.

He trusted that the “peace treaty” solidifies and advances and congratulated Santos, “deserved” Nobel Peace Prize, for his courage: “You have done a mission in your life that justifies everything.” And he also expressed his appreciation for Londoño.

“You re-founded Colombia,” he told them, “hand in hand with peace, reunion, shaking hands, and you gave hope to those of us who think that pacifism, feminism, environmentalism … is what keeps us alive, with hope and willing to continue fighting “

According to Rodríguez Zapatero, with some 250,000 dead, millions displaced … it would be practically a miracle if peace were final in five years, when the agreement has an implementation deadline of 15 years.

Bearing in mind that conflict-related violence has been reduced by 95%, it has reportedly been an “extraordinary success,” he said.

“Without forgiveness, conciliation, meeting and coexistence, we would not have built any democracy, and that only has a means and an end, which is dialogue and recognizing those who think differently,” he said.

Without peace there is no justice and this requires the other, with mercy, generosity and forgiveness, he stressed.

And in relation to the 2030 sustainable development goals of the UN, he especially valued those of peace and gender equality because, without them, “there is nothing”, although he warned of the risks that lurk, such as the guerrilla movements that are still active. , climate change and the pandemic.


He considered that Spain, his Government, should have been at the beginning in this process because “Spain has duties and commitments, especially with Latin America and has the experience, capacity and soul” to do so.

Spain, with “humility”, has the duty “to be a leading country in conflict resolution, we should promote an institutional system,” he said in this regard, with universities and academies.

Of Spain, he pointed out that it is a stable and very peaceful democracy, but “we have barely been in the absence of political violence for ten years in the last two centuries,” between wars, coups, terrorist anarchism, the “terrible” Civil War, political violence. Francoism ”and ETA terrorism.

The Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, noted progress and obstacles that “threaten the peace process” in Colombia, such as undertaking a true correction of the structural causes of the conflict and totally ending the violence.

The Spanish Government wants to “redouble”, he stressed, the commitment to fully comply with the agreement and shows its willingness to provide formal and material support, together with the EU and the entire international community.

The director of the Kroc Institute Peace Accords Matrix, Josefina Echevarría, spoke of the “bottlenecks” that affect the peace process, such as the persistence of violence in various territories, delays in laws on agrarian reform (with gender perspective “and political participation and plan to replace illicit crops and social development. EFE

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R. Zapatero: ETA’s end to violence was less difficult than peace in Colombia