Two statements from March 2002 on the breakdown of peace negotiations

IssueDecember 2002 - February 2003

Who said all is lost in Colombia? Women propose stopping the war now

We women saw the unsuccessful peace process between the government and the FARC as exclusionary, not based in the grass roots. Now we view with terror the spectacle of war: a patriarchal concept, both retrogressive and obtuse, has elevated war to the role of midwife of history and humanity, and unfortunately, at present, is defining the destiny of this country and of the world. We know, by the wisdom gleaned from centuries of grief, exclusion and resistance, that arrogance is a poor counsellor for any decision, that one cannot harden his or her speech or heart when the subject is the life and dignity of a people. For this reason, today we raise our voices for life, for peace and for social justice in an effort to lift them above the noise of the trumpets and drums of war.

We will not negotiate with traffickers in death, vendors of magic formulas, those who make a spectacle of misery and pain, those who design strategies and mechanisms to enrich themselves and be in the limelight while the rest kill one another. Of course, we persist in seeking a negotiated outcome for our country, rebuilding a life and society in the midst of the violence and upheaval and desolation that others try to impose as our destiny. Since patience and tenacity, tolerance and solidarity are still on our side, we will refuse to send our children to war and to support any humiliating act or violence in our houses, our streets, our neighbourhoods, our cities, villages and pavements.

We will continue analysing the alternatives for development of the country, educating our sons and daughters, marching, singing, working, loving, weaving initiatives, giving birth to projects in the interest of liberty. From so much insisting, another peace process will be born: One that includes all ethnicities, all generations, all social classes and religions, those who live in the countryside and those who live in the cities, and the various military groups and professions. Reason, for so long seen as the domain of masculine supremacy, is now on our side. We are clear about our ideas and have the will to design outcomes with less arrogance and more tenderness, with more wisdom and generosity, based neither on monetary gain nor on a false sense of honour, but based on the dignity and happiness that we deserve. This is a historic opportunity to change the style in which conflicts are confronted in this country and in the world at large. It is time to raise our voices and our proposals and to show the powers that be that, as a country, we still have the opportunity to create a worthy and generous outcome.

We call on all Colombian women not to let their hands and wombs produce any more instruments for war and violence.

Consensus of Mujeres Del Barco De La Paz (Women of the Ship of Peace)
Ruta Pacifica De Las Mujeres De Colombia

Civil Resistance to the War in Colombia

The worst of all scenarios has been imposed on the country: war. Those who enthusiastically proclaimed a military solution to this prolonged conflict now have an immense responsibility in terms of the costs of a war that is not going to resolve the deep-seated and serious problems of this country. Those insurgents who made the decision to deepen and intensify the conflict with their attacks on the civil population have assumed a very large quota of responsibility.

It is essential that we promote civil resistance to the war and reaffirm the democratic reconstruction for peace and country. We cannot succumb to an ephemeral triumph of an establishment that didn't understand that negotiation takes places between two parties, nor can we succumb to the intransigence of a guerrilla war whose political commitment to peace is contradicted by its own warlike actions.

We demand that the warring parties respect and give protection to the civil population in the zones where tension has been reduced, as well as in the areas of the country in which there are thousands of individuals trapped in the midst of the paramilitary siege and armed confrontation, such as Arauca, Catatumbo, Cauca, Nariño and Putumayo.

We call on the international community to join the efforts of the people of Colombia to insist on dialogue and negotiation, which will be inevitable even after the disaster of a useless and prolonged war, which will further expand poverty, and both the humanitarian crisis and the crisis in human rights in Colombia.

We call for a NATIONAL CONGRESS FOR PEACE to evaluate this failed process and to establish a mandate for the new government to re-establish dialogue with a view to designing strategies for the Colombian people to build a new nation.

Signed by the following peace initiatives:
Paz Colombia, Redepaz, Mandato por la Paz, Asamblea Permanente de la Sociedad Civil por la Paz;

Plus the human rights groups: MINGA, CIDHES, Comite' Permanente por la Defensa de los DerechosHumanos;

And the following social organisations:
CUT (Colombia's largest trade union federation), ONIC (National Organisation of Indi'genas), Proceso de Comunidades Negras (Black community organisations)(The 1,000-person Congress, with quotas from every region of Colombia and organised by an even broader spectrum of groups than the signatories of these two appeals, took place in Bogotá in May).

Topics: Peacemaking, Women