BOGOTA – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday that he had seen a “very clear” and “total commitment” by the Colombian government and the demobilized FARC rebels, now a political party, “to the building of peace.”
“We all know that a process of building peace isn’t easy. We all know that there are always difficulties, obstacles and even some boycotts. There are imperfections and delays, but for me the total commitment was very clear” by the government and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), said Guterres on a visit to the community of Buenavista, which is part of the central municipality of Mesetas.
Guterres, who is on an official trip to Colombia, visited Mesetas, in Meta province, where he learned firsthand about the area where former FARC rebels are being trained to productively reintegrate themselves into society and about the problems of the local community, which was strongly affected by the decades-long armed conflict.
In his speech to members of the community, the UN chief emphasized that despite the obstacles and “all the difficulties, problems, delays and imperfections,” the commitment to peace “is an historical fact,” not only for Colombia, but also for Latin America and the world “where unfortunately so many senseless conflicts are continuing.”
Guterres, who on Saturday met with President Juan Manuel Santos, several members of the government and top leaders of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (also known by its Spanish-language initials, FARC), the political party into which the guerrilla organization transformed itself, also said that it takes more courage to make peace than to make war.
He emphasized that peace is “an enormous opportunity” for “the state to be present throughout Colombian territory,” not only to implement “administrative presence or security” but also to bring education, healthcare and infrastructure, which “guarantee ... access to the markets to agricultural producers.”
“That is the essence of the presence of the state. There is no peace without development, there’s no peace without the possibility of creating conditions of prosperity for the communities,” Guterres said.