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A few days after the National Peace Congress held in Colombia, the 10th International Meeting of Intellectual, Artists and Social Activists Networks in Defense of Humanity held in Caracas, Venezuela recognized the contribution of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to the peace process in Colombia.
“Hugo Chavez’s contribution to the peace process in Colombia was a true obsession for peace”, the member of the Inter Church Commission, Avilio Peña told Real World Radio.
The peace talks taking place in Havana between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government of Juan Manuel Santos were supported by Chavez, who thought peace in Venezuela began by securing peace in its neighbour, Colombia.
Avilio Peña says that the voice of the peasants, African-descendants, indigenous and mestizos besides those directly involved in the conflict (State and guerrilla groups) is essential to achieve sustainable and long lasting peace. “They have a lot to say about peace because they have been victims of the war”, says the human rights activist.
He criticized the different contributions from sectors and communities do not reach the peace process.
“There is huge concern at this stage over the fact that that voice, the voices of the victims who live in areas where the armed conflict takes place is not heard”, said Peña.
But, how is it possible to talk about long lasting peace in Colombia now, considering all the previous attempts failed?
Avilio Peña says that the Colombian government thinks about peace as a necessary condition to do business. “They think peace is great to prevent any obstacles to foreign investment”. Also, the armed groups taking part in the talks believe “there are several signs that the political option not only seems to be a strategy but also a possibility”.
The National Peace Congress will take place from April 19 to 21 in Bogota, Colombia.
About the expectations for the Congress, Avilio said that “the biggest challenge is the union of the social sectors that aim to build peace”. For that end he thinKs the mobilization of urban and rural sectors around the Congress is essential.
To ensure the participation of the society as a whole, Avilio highlighted the need to secure minimum conditions including a cease fire.
“Este triunfo de Uruguay debe ser un llamado urgente a analizar, revisar, renegociar o anular cuando corresponda todos los tratados bilaterales de comercio y de protección de inversiones que ha suscrito el país, antes de exponernos a nuevas demandas en las que podemos correr con distinta suerte que en la recién finalizada”.
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