Colombia endured a civil war for decades. Over 200,000 killed, 25,000 disappeared and over 5,000,000 displaced. A peace agreement formally ended the violence in 2016. But that has not meant that peace has come at last to this war-torn country.
According to La Via Campesina, the International Peasant’s Movement, many aspects of the peace agreement are either not enforced or have been eliminated. Some of these issues: a provision to create a land fund for rural peasants has seen no compliance; political reform has not been addressed; the obligation of third parties to testify in investigations was eliminated, so that the role of multinationals can remain covert; political reform has not been addressed.
Additionally, since the peace agreement was signed, there has been violence against ex-rebels and their families, students, peasants and indigenous people. Why must the small, powerless people of the world be made to suffer?
On such person, a member of the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado, spoke at my school this past fall. He was in the U.S. to raise awareness of the issues confronting peasant farmers, notably the violence being perpetrated against them by paramilitary groups in the employment of multinational corporations. This simple man, a peasant farmer, had survived several assassination attempts. He and his fellow villagers had been targeted for their peace efforts, for their need to work the and to survive.
The people want peace. That is the case everywhere: the common people, the farmers and workers are typically just trying to make a living and take care of each other. The trouble is that they often get caught in the crossfire of competing powers.