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The peace process in Colombia: the testimonies of the people

As part of the documentary undertaking 'Voces de Vereda', we’ve got spoken with some people from these communities, direct protagonists of the current peace process and in addition from the greater than 5 many years of armed conflict, by way of their daily, reminiscences, anecdotes , goals and future plans.

“Earlier than arriving in these lands, I used to work in the fields, I've all the time been a peasant. I noticed that the people from right here got here with their pockets full of silver. And I got here on August 22, 1985. I've been here for 34 years. I bought a bit of land down there on another sidewalk, and there I started to lie down, to do farm work and to plant coca. Coca gave one the food; instantly we didn’t recognize it, however silver gave us. And he still provides it. “

Colombia, and particularly this region, skilled the cocalero growth in the 90s. How did you expertise it, as a farmer who devoted himself to the planting of coca?

We have been used to taking tons of silver: 100, 150 or 200 million put to him that I took each month. There were people who took little, there two kilitos, that added 4 million each two months; however another one took rather a lot. There have been people who, monthly, have been taking 300 or 400 million. In fact, likewise it was spent. Imagine the lack of control!

How was the pressured eradication of illicit crops that the Álvaro Uribe authorities (2002-2010) promoted?

It was a blow … a blow that there isn’t any option to explain it. It was an unprecedented change, a total change. From above, fall to the floor. What are we going to stay? Nicely, there have been some saveries stored there, buried. But when we eat them in 5 or 6 months, what are we going to keep consuming? On this farm the place I am there have been four households. When tearing off the coca bush … depart, because, what else? 80% of that employees left as a result of that they had nothing else to do. That they had nothing but coca. They didn’t have a horse, they didn’t have a cow for milk, nothing at all, only coca. When the coca was removed, at what second was he going to plant meals? Completely demoralized, they left and left that there thrown out. The people who stayed right here was because we had the small farm, we had the cattle, the goods. So, how are we going to go? And I stated, no, I'm not leaving. I keep right here. I’ve meals, I’ve the animals. I am not leaving.

And has it gone properly?

Right here you reside excellent. Right here if one endures wants at the very least nobody is gossiping. But there are few needs which might be suffered. My dad stated that where you got the food there, it was high quality. And right here I obtained it.

How do you handle to outlive in a distant area like this, in the center of the armed battle between the guerrillas, the paramilitaries and the Public Drive?

I have recognized the right way to reside because I do know, as a peasant, what the guidelines are in order to not have problems with anyone. So, what did I do? By all attainable means be impartial. In case you requested me for a favor, I did it as a favor, which could be very totally different from committing myself to you. Life isn’t taken care of but by oneself, no one else. That boy who left, who obtained on the horse, that's my son; These two women which might be listed here are my daughters. If I instantly had not completed a very good brainwashing, or I might not have given them a very good instance, the place have been they? In the guerrillas? In the paramilitaries? Or they have been already lifeless.

Nonetheless, did you’ve got issues with any armed actor?

Sure, in my household we are all displaced. Some of us are displaced by the paramilitaries, others by the guerrillas, but we’re all displaced.

“I know, as a farmer, what are the rules for not having problems with anyone”

Why did he have to maneuver?

A military fee arrived right here:

– Who lives right here?

-Yes sir, me.

-We’d like a favor.

-Yes tell me.

-To see in case you do us the favor of loading a consignment with the truck.

And yes, two timers of fuel arrived at the moment, I threw them into the truck and left. Two troopers have been going to go up however I informed them that I'd higher go alone:

-Ah! Why?

-I do the work alone, because there’s the guerrilla there, they take a look at me the truck full of army they usually can kill me and kill you. Then, let me go alone.

-Ah good, sensible, go alone.

And sure, I went there alone. And since a motorbike arrived two days later [de las FARC-EP]:

“They sent me to say that please come tomorrow at 9 in the morning in that part.

-Ready. So long.

He went on the motorbike. What did I do? I assumed it, and that's what happened. Sure, “Did you carry this, and this, and this?” Sure sir. Properly, thank God I did not deny it. If I had denied them they might have killed me, as a result of they advised me: “It's a good thing he had the ability not to deny us, otherwise you would have had to make your own hole”. And I informed them: “I do not live committed to you or to anyone. You ask me for a favor at any time, I come and I do it without any commitment. Like those people [el ejército]”

-Yes, but you recognize it's forbidden … Do the favor and vacate the area. Two days of deadline we will provide you with.

And all this armed to an incredible poverty. Who would purchase me cattle? Who would I supply cattle in two days to sell? However I'm previous and I do know the laws around right here …

And he left?

Sure, I went to Villavicencio [capital del departamento del Meta]. My family was composed of eight people. They gave us a mattress, some pots they usually paid us a number of days of lease and that's it. I started working, but I received tired of that life. I stated, no, I'm going to get killed, to do something, however I'm not staying here anymore. And I came once more. If they will kill me, pay attention, however I cannot take extra needs here. Enduring needs in a city [o ciudad] It is rather large. One right here [en el campo] has the food, the banana, yuccas, chickens. If not then I start for the lagoon and there’s fish. There’s a lot of mountain animals to eat. Round here if one will get thirsty, he bends down and drinks water. Go to a city to see who provides you a bag of water. If you do not carry 200 or 300 pesos no one provides you. Then no. I'm leaving, I'm leaving. And, yes, I got here. I started over there [a hablar con la guerrilla, que le había forzado a desplazarse]I obtained scolded, why did I do it? And once I arrived I did not discover cattle, only horses. The cattle had all been misplaced … the hens, all that had been lost. Claiming to whom? No one, because who’re you going to say?

Has the safety state of affairs improved in consequence of the Peace Settlement?

Yes. The little ones that got here to be here as farmers have been quiet. We aren’t afraid of the military; we aren’t afraid of anything, as a result of earlier than we lived in a really terrible nervousness. Around here, in the countryside, many people have been killed by the army, of “false positives” [personas asesinadas por la Fuerza Pública, acusadas falsamente de pertenecer a la guerrilla]. And who was going to denounce them? Nobody. That they had the authority. Right here got here the military and I turned forwards and backwards, pushed these doors with a rifle butt, took these mattresses out … did what I needed to do, and everyone trembled with worry. It was disastrous. It was a monster, for us it was something fearful. They might kill me and report me as a guerrilla fighter killed in combat. Already. Then we have been very afraid. At the moment, no. At the moment the peasants are properly ready, they’ve information of human rights. As we speak one is with the soldier there and passes, nicely greeted. A beauty at the moment.

One of the points of the Peace Settlement is the voluntary substitution of crops for illicit use in change for assist from the State to encourage the manufacturing of different crops. Have you adhered?

Yes, we made the agreements with the State; the peasant's commitments have been to adjust to the eradication [de la coca] and never once more to hassle with that. To that we dedicated ourselves, to tug that root, not depart even the slightest raicita on earth. We comply They came, they did the assessment and, certainly, not a kill.

“We aren’t afraid of the army; we aren’t afraid of anything “

What are the options to coca?

Some feedback have come from the State saying that the various is the sacha inchi, that I have no idea what. Sure. However that may be a crop of rich people! To place to supply a hectare of sacha, it doesn’t value if not the crap of twelve million pesos. And if there are peasants who typically do not get sufficient for food, much less for twelve million.

And do you assume that coca cultivation will finish?

As issues are occurring in the country, coca doesn’t assume it ends; Will probably be inspired once more. The State, the Government, the gentlemen of Congress, the excessive courts, all blame the peasant. However no. Largely it isn’t the peasant, it is the abandonment of the State in the direction of the peasants. If the State stated, properly, we are going to lend the farmer six million here, at low interest, one as an alternative of going to plant illicit crops, mess with that crop that has no problems, or worry that what take no one Great, but the place is the assist?

The implementation of a Peace Agreement, and especially one reminiscent of the Colombian one, which aims, on paper, to impress structural modifications at a social, financial and political degree, is taken into account as a medium- and long-term process. How do you see this process in the close to future?

At the fee we’re going, this isn’t going to final long. This is what several farmers assume, as a result of it isn’t being fulfilled. I consider that 70% shouldn’t be being met. It is for two years that the peace process agreement was signed and we may have fulfilled 30%. Where the conflict was suffered, where the struggle is being suffered, the help has been totally minimal. We who’re the ones who till the land, the ones we produce. You go to any town, any metropolis, name Colombia, call another country and you eat food that has been worked by the farmer. I was saving water from the cattle. Who eats that cattle? Right here they take it out on vans to Bogotá and who is aware of the place else they’ll take it. There goes my sweat. So, I do not understand why in Colombia there isn’t a help for the peasant.

“The problem of the coca is not of the peasant, it is of the abandonment of the State towards the peasants”

What is lacking from this peace process?

* This interview was carried out inside the framework of the documentary challenge Voces de Vereda, funded by the European Union and the Frame, Voice, Report !, undertaking of the Barcelona Metropolis Council and the Catalan Agency for Improvement Cooperation via the DevReporter Grant of Lafede .cat

This can be a non-profit rationalization.

Examine here the entire Special: Peace Process in Colombia