For more than half a century Colombia has lived an armed conflict that has left much pain, death, destruction, poverty and all the rigor of war that has fallen over Colombians, above all over the poorest people and in the most vulnerable areas.
Since February 23rd and August 26th in 2012 the Colombian government started exploratory dialogues with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who are the oldest guerrilla group in America and also the group that has most affected the region of Cauca in our country.
Officially, the round-table talks were established on October 18th, 2012, and for four years they were in talks until August 24th when they reached a finalization of the conversation about the last accord, and from then on as Colombians we are waiting for the steps to follow after finalizing the four years of dialogue.
But will all of Colombia support the agreement?
October 2nd will be the day that Colombia should decide if it does or does not support the accords, and, contrary to what you might think, not everyone supports the dialogues for different reasons. I had the opportunity to survey 28 people from San Nicolás and El Progreso in Soacha with the following questions:
Do you support Yes in the plebiscite; why; what do you expect from the agreement; and what are your fears?
This was the result:
The people that answered yes believe that we need peace because this will bring more opportunities, and this is something that Colombia needs; because since a long time ago we have been hoping for peace, and this is the closest opportunity to achieve it. Many of the people surveyed, as people of faith, believe that this is the will of God, that Jesus came to bring peace, and that indisputably if there is peace we can change our country.
Those that think not give the contrary opinion, an opinion that we respect. Many believe that this is just a government strategy, that it is a trick, and that there will be no peace if there is so much injustice and hunger. Others give the opinion that it is not fair that the guerrilla fighters who have caused so much harm are given more benefits than the people that have never wielded a gun. Others say that they support peace but not the plebiscite.
What do you expect from the agreement?
Both those who support the peace deal, and those who do not, expect something from the accords. Among the people I surveyed, many hope for more opportunities, reparations for the victims of the conflict, a true peace guided by God, that what’s agreed upon be implemented. Others say that they don’t believe in it and for that reason they don’t expect anything.
What are your fears?
Some of the people’s fears are that it’s all a farce, that the government doesn’t know how to manage the issue of reintegrating people into society, that some members of the FARC won’t turn over their weapons, that war proliferates in the city, that peace will be a good deal for impunity, and that the margin needed for Yes to win in the plebiscite won’t be achieved. And others say that they are not afraid; on the contrary, they are happy and as people of faith they say that with God all is possible.
To conclude, I come from a department that has suffered because of the armed conflict, and that’s why, beyond the many things I’m not in agreement with and the many fears that I could have, I say Yes to peace, and I hope in God that we reach a Colombia at peace.
And you, do you support Yes in the plebiscite for peace?