February 13, 2014
Representatives of the Colombian government and the FARC-EP ended the twentieth round of peace talks in Havana today and issued a joint statement that provided an update on their conversations. In their thirty-second joint statement (see Spanish version here), the delegates underscored that they have been working non-stop to find a “definitive solution” to the problem of illicit drugs, particularly with regard to the first sub-point of the framework agenda dealing with crop substitution and integral development. The parties have now completed their first drafts that outline the basis for the solution. The teams will continue to hone the proposals that have been presented at the table in preparation for the next round of talks, which will resume on February 24th.
Today’s joint statement lays out several areas where consensus has been reached:
- Rural development is a key part of any the solution to the drug problem. The joint statement notes that “the essence of any solution must be set within the framework of Integrated Rural Reform” (the first item on the agenda, on which agreement was reached in May 2013). (See my earlier posts on the land agreement in English and Spanish.)
- Solutions must be designed with the participation of the affected communities. The statement underscores that “the definitive solution must emerge from a joint process that involves communities in the design, execution, monitoring, control and evaluation of the plans.”
- The institutional presence of the State must be strengthened in the territories affected by illicit crop cultivation. This includes “promoting integral development and the satisfaction of the rights of all citizens;” guarantees for “the security, convivencia, and observance and protection of human rights;” and “respect for and application of the principles and norms of the rule of law.”
- Differential approaches to the drug problem are needed in each of the regions. The delegates note, “We are … conscious that, given the diversity that characterizes the regions of Colombia, any intervention must have a differential focus, reflected in plans that are constructed with communities such that the plans recognize the economic, cultural, and social necessities, characteristics, and particularities of the territories and communities and guarantee soci0-environmental sustainability.”
- The need to close the agricultural frontier, recover damaged ecosystems, and promote sustainable development. The parties note in particular that “development plans of different kinds of organizations and associations–like the peasant reserve zones that already exist or those that will be created–will be supported when they coincide with the territories affected by illicit crops.”
The joint statement ends with words of appreciation for the support of the countries that have accompanied the process–Chile, Venezuela, Cuba, and Norway.
In a separate statement, Humberto de la Calle, the lead negotiator for the government, noted that the government team is working “with conviction, discipline and enthusiasm.”(View his statement here in Spanish.) De la Calle echoed or expanded the aforementioned themes, and underscored that the State would work with communities “to promote joint actions that would allow the conditions of poverty to be overcome” and facilitate “the transition to a legal economy.” (See his statement here).
Furthermore, De la Calle affirmed the government’s commitment to transparency–addressing an issue that has been the source of some criticism. “The confidentiality needed at the Table does not impede the Government’s commitment to transparency,” he noted. He called on the public to read the joint report on the process that was issued by the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP last month. (Read the Joint Report here.)
Finally, in a nod to the unfolding “Andrómeda” scandal over the apparently illegal wiretapping (“chuzadas”) of government negotiators in Havana, Humberto De la Calle noted simply that, “We are aware of the discussions under way regarding the activities attributed by some communications media to Army Intelligence. In particular, our attitude is to trust that the institutional mechanisms under way will clarify the truth of what occurred… For our part, we continue to work arduously day by day to construct accords.” Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón is expected to deliver a report of the Army’s investigation of the matter to President Santos on February 15.