One Month of Ceasefire Verification: DiPaz Open Letter

August 24, 2015
Bogotá, Colombia

Juan Manuel Santos
President of Colombia

Humberto de la Calle
Head Colombian Negotiator in Havana

Sergio Jaramillo
Colombian High Commissioner for Peace

Frank Pearl
Commissioner for Exploratory Dialogues with the National Liberation Army – ELN

Timoleón Jiménez
Commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – FARC-EP

Luciano Marín
Head Negotiator of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – FARC-EP

Nicolás Rodriguez
Commander of the National Liberation Army – ELN

Regarding: One month of the FARC-EP’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire and the Colombian government’s order to de-escalate the armed conflict.

Greetings,

We have completed a month (July 20 to August 20) since the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) declared a unilateral ceasefire and since the Colombian government ordered a de-escalation of the armed conflict.[1] During this time we, along with the Frente Amplio por la Paz, Constituyentes por la Paz, Red de Universidades por la Paz and Comunidades Construyendo por la Paz (CONPAZ) have verified these commitments after having been publicly invited to do so by the FARC-EP with the knowledge of the Colombian government.

During these four weeks, in the midst of uncertainty, we can state that it is still essential to work towards a solution based on peace and justice to this armed conflict.

It has been a month of hope for the exploratory talks between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) that we greeted in our July 6 letter expressing our hope that these negotiations will soon begin. We await an announcement from ELN commander Nicolás Rodríguez – according to media reports only hours away – and we are encouraged by discreet, yet optimistic, overtones from the Colombian government.

As we finished writing this letter we heard of the FARC-EP’s acknowledgement of their responsibility in assassinating Genaro García, a community leader from the Community Councils of the Pacific (COMPA). Even as we raise our voice to decry this irreparable damage and loss of life we see hope in the fact that that the FARC-EP guerrilla group has accepted their responsibility for this regrettable and painful act. We interpret their acceptance of responsibility as being at the core of hoping for peace with justice. We believe such hope to be present in all who are committed to this peace process, including both parties to the armed conflict.

We also find this same hope in the many lessons learned during this month of verifying the ceasefire and de-escalation in coalition with other civil society organizations who seek to build peace.

We are encouraged by the strength of the gospel that states: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God[2]…” and “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.[3]” God desires peace and justice.

We are joyful to be able to present a positive verification report. Both the FARC-EP and the Colombian Armed Forces largely complied with their commitments and moved from bellicose language to that of co-existence and peacebuilding. This has been, as the Conflict Analysis Resource Center – CERAC has already stated, the least violent month of the past forty years of armed conflict in Colombia.[4]

It seems we have started to live with less anxiety in relation to the armed conflict. For this reason we appreciate the FARC-EP’s decision to extend their unilateral ceasefire and we urge the Colombian government to extend their de-escalation beyond not carrying out aerial bombardments to also include restricting land-based operations. In other words, we encourage the Colombian government to deepen the de-escalation and reciprocate the FARC-EP’s proposals towards a bilateral ceasefire and bilateral cessation of hostilities.

Maximizing military gains seems to be giving way to a decreasing hostility that saves lives of women, men, girls and boys as well as saving nature from the ravages of war. Thus, one civilian’s, five guerrillas’ and two soldiers´ deaths, though few in comparison to previous months, are extremely grievous seen from the perspective of our faith, of an ethics of life. These deaths could have been avoided. Their blood, just as that of Abel, shed by Cain, calls out to heaven.

With the strength of our Christian faith, in memory our ancestors, in communion with the faithful of our churches and with our sisters and brothers from congregations and communities of faith, we lift up our cry calling for a bilateral ceasefire leading to a bilateral cessation of hostilities. You can count on our prayers, our effort and our energy for the dialogues to flow towards that goal.

In our observation during this month, along with other organizations that joined in the verification, we looked to the different regions and communities of Colombia and noted with concern eight events carried out by armed groups – paramilitaries or neoparamilitaries – that killed five people, including two children.

We want to draw attention to the presence of these paramilitary armed groups as they could destroy the agreements reached through the goodwill of the two sides in Havana or the dialogues with the ELN.

Our society still remembers the violent deaths of dear sisters and brothers, committed to their ideals, who believed in previous peace agreements and participated in political activities only to be assassinated. If this paramilitary threat is not handled we fear that the cycle of violence could simply continue.

We reiterate our call to the Colombian government and the ELN guerrilla to start official dialogues so that the end of the armed conflict might be whole.

We restate our commitment to do all that is possible to achieve peace with justice, according to the will of God who desires that righteousness and peace kiss[5] and that swords be beaten into plowshares [6].

Cordially yours,

Interchurch Dialog for Peace – DiPaz

Individual Signees:

Religious Leaders in Colombia

Hna Carolina Pardo, Franciscanas de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes de Rochester MN

Sister Valerie Usher Coordinadora de la Misión de las Hermanas Franciscana de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes de Rochester, MN, en Colombia

Hna Clara Ines Ordoñez T. Hermanas Franciscanas de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes de Rochester, MN

Constanza Guzmán, miembro Baraj Hermanas Franciscanas de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes

Gloria Gomez, Miembro Baraj Hermanas Franciscanas de Nuestra Señor de Lourdes

Soraya Jimenez, Coviajera Hermanas Franciscanas de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes

Lucio Rodriguez, Coviajero Hermanas Franciscanas de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes

Pastor Harold Arango, Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia, Pastor de congregación “ElConsolador” (Sogamoso)

Pastora Angélica Bernate, Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia, Pastora de congregación “Vida Nueva” (Bogotá)

Pastor Nelson Celis, Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia, Pastor de congregación “San Pablo” (Bogotá)

Pastora Zulanlly Chaparro, Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia

Pastor Martin González, Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia, Pastor de congregación “La Victoria” (Villavicencio)

Pastor Atahualpa Hernández, Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia, Director de la Escuela Luterana de Teología

Pastor John Hernández, Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia, Pastor de congregación“Emaús” (Medellín)

Curtis Kline, Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia, Coordinador del Programa Nacional de Derechos Humanos

Pastora Diana Londoño, Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia, Pastora de congregación “Castillo Fuerte” (Bogotá)

Nubia Estela Chaparro Camargo, simpatizante IELCO

Pastor Sergio Talero, Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia, Pastor de congregación “El Divino Redentor” (Bucaramanga)

Pastor Jairo Suarez, Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia, Coordinador del Ministerio Nacional Diaconía

Pastor Gustavo Torres, Obispo-Presidente de la Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia

Pastor Israel Martínez, Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Colombia, Pastor de Congregación “San Marcos” (Bucaramanga)

Jenny Neme, Directora Justapaz

Rev. Michael Joseph, Comisión de Paz de CEDECOL y Global Ministries

Pablo Moreno, Rector Universidad Bautista de Cali

Angélica Rincón Alonso, Justapaz, Iglesia Menonita

Lácides Hernández Alvarez, Presidente Confraternidad Carcelaria de Colombia.

Rev. Jairo Barriga, presbitero Iglesia Presbiteriana de la Costa Norte.

Ricardo Pinzón, Director Fundación Mencoldes

Andrés Alba, Iglesia Luterana de Colombia

P. Alberto Franco, CssR Secretario Ejecutivo Comisión Justicia y Paz

Hna Cecilia Naranjo, RsJ Religiosa del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús

Hna Gloria Diaz, Religiosa del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús

Hna Blanca Marina Rojas, Religosa Asuncionista

Idali Vallejo Rincón, Mujeres Ecuménicas

Hna Aminta Calderón, Religiosas de Santa Ana

Ines Calle Botero, Hermana del Sagrado Corazón

Hna Sara Manosalva Gomez, Religosas de Santa Ana

Hna Teresa Villalba Vargas, Hermana Claretiana

Elia Morales Lideresa comunitaria Bogotá

Hna. Amparo Serna, Superiora General de las Hermanas de San Juan Evangelista

Mónica Velazquez Vargas, Asociación Pacto Colombia, Grupo Ecuménico de Mujeres Constructoras de Paz

Hna Blanca Marina Rojas

Elizabeth Caicedo Corral, Lideresa comunitaria Cali

P. Carlos Guevara Rodríguez, Iglesia Episcopal, Comunión Anglicana

Leopoldina Mendoza Torres, Comunidades Eclesiales de Base, Colombia

Abilio Peña, Comisión Justicia y Paz

International Religious Leaders

Rev. Dr. Vitalino Similox Salazar, Secretario General Concejo Ecuménico Cristiano de Guatemala

Harold Segura, Director de Relaciones Eclesiásticas para America Latina, World Vision

María Luisa Rosal, Secretaria Ejecutiva School of the Americas Watch, Washington

Pablo Ruiz, Equipo Latinoamericano de School of the Americas Watch

Raimy Ramirez Jimenez, Miembro Iglesia Presbiteriana de Venezuela

Rev. Gloria Ulloa, Pastora Presbiteriana y Secretaria Regional AL del Consejo Mundial de Iglesias -CMI

Rev.Milton Mejía, Secretario General Consejo Latinoamericano de Iglesias -CLAIRev.

Felipe Adolf, Consejo Latinoamericano de Igleias -CLAI

Rev. Christopher Ferguson, Secretario General de la Comunión Mundial de IglesiasReformadas (CMIR)

César García, Secretario General Congreso Mundial Menonita

Marcelo Leites. Secretario Ejecutivo Regional – FUMEC ALC

Dianet martinez – MEC CUBA- FUMEC ALC

Johana Nuñez / Edith Muñoz – MEC COLOMBIA-FUMEC ALC

Eli Marín – MEC Por la Equidad-FUMEC ALC

Óscar Reicher / MEC Chile-FUMEC ALC

Ely Orrego – MEC Chile-FUMEC ALC

Kathia Alva – MEC Perú -FUMEC ALC

Edoarda Scherer -MEC Brasil- FUMEC ALC

Rev. Maake Masango, Iglesia Presbiteriana South Africa

Sandra Milena Rincon Vidal, Coordinadora de Proyecto Colombia, Equipos Cristianos de Acción para la Paz / Christian Peacemaker Teams

P. Joseph Rozansky, Oficina de Justicia y Paz y Reverencia con la Creación OFM, Roma

P. Dario Bossi – Misionero Comboniano – Brasil, Red Internacional de Iglesias y Minería

P. Fracoios Houtart, Profesor en el Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales (I.A.E.N.), Ecuador, Bélgica

Red Europea de Comités Oscar Romero

Roland Fernandes, Secretario General Adjunto, Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church

Presb. Darli Alves de Souza, Secretário Regional para o Brasil Conselho Latino-Americano de Igrejas, CLAI

Luis Ma. Alman Bornes, Iglesia Anabautista Menonita de Buenos Aires – Argentina, Grupo Belga ‘ Solidario con Guatemala’

Chris Weisser, Integrante de la Iglesia Luterana, Alemania

Emilie Smith, Copresidenta de Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, Canadá

P. Juan Cejudo Caldelas, Redes Cristianas, Cadiz España

P. Tonio Dell’Olio, Pro Civitate Christiana y Libera International, Italia

Jairo Mejía Vaca, Ecuador, miembro de la fraternidad Secular de Carlos de Foucauld, responsable de la Fundación “PROAÑOS” en Colombia

Conrado Sanjur, Coordinadora Popular de Derechos Humanos de Panamá, COPODEHUPA.Sacerdote diocesano de la Iglesia Católica

María Elena Sanabria: Articulación Nacional de Comunidades Eclesiales de Base de El Salvador

José Salvador Gómez: Fundación Hermano Mercedes Ruiz, El Salvador

Ana Guadalupe Pérez: Asociación Salvadoreña Para el Desarrollo Juvenil: Acción y Vida. El Salvador

Armando Márquez Ocho: Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad con América Latina, SICSAL

Miguel Zepeda Santos: Red Juvenil de la Libertad, El Salvador

Leonardo Astudillo, Presidente de la Fundación Pueblo Indio del Ecuador

Emperatriz Montalvo, Directora Ejecutiva Fundación Pueblo Indio del Ecuador

Nidia Arrobo Rodas, Fundación Pueblo Indio del Ecuador

Patricio Del Salto, Fundación Pueblo Indio del Ecuador

P. Gabriel Barriga, Fundación Pueblo Indio del Ecuador

Magdalena Pupiales, Secretaria Ejecutiva del Centro de Formación de Misioneras Indígenas del Ecuador

Rev. Daylíns Rufín Pardo – Pastora en la Fraternidad de Iglesias Bautistas de Cuba

Rev. Luis Carlos Marrero Chasbar – Pastor en la Fraternidad de Iglesias Bautistas de Cuba y Teólogo del Centro Oscar A. Romero

Gabriel Coderch Diaz, Director Centro Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Cuba

Mareelen Diaz Tenorio Vicedirectora Técnica Centro Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Cuba

Irma Bernal Collazo Vicedirectora Económica Centro Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Cuba

Canterac Troya, Coordinación Red Regional agua, desarrollo y democracia (REDAD) Piura, Peru

Yves Carrier, Teólogo Québec, Canadá

José Frías, Comité Oscar Romero – Sicsal, Chile

Claudia Huircan Equipo de Jupic-Misioneros Claretianos de Argentina, Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay

César Correa Valenzuela, Coordinador Oficina de Justicia y Paz e Integridad de la Creación

Sociedad Misionera de San Columbano, Chile.

Gerardo Dure: Comité Oscar Romero de Argentina

Gustavo Zarza: Corriente Nacional Emancipación Sur, Argentina

Cora Grevisse: Frente Popular Moreno, Argentina

Osvaldo Acosta. Equipo de Comunicación Popular Presencia y Memoria, Argentina

Céline Clavel, Coordinadora para América Latina y el Caribe de Pax Christi Internacional, Bruselas, Bélgica

Yves Carrier, Teologo Québec, Canada

Fernando Bermúdez López, Comunidades Cristianas de Base de Molina de Segura en España

Carmen García Soage, Comunidades Cristianas de Base de Molina de Segura en España

Asunción García Gomariz, Comunidades Cristianas de Base de Molina de Segura en España

María Dolores Atienza, Comunidades Cristianas de Base de Molina de Segura en España

Hnas. de la Misericordia de las Américas, de Latinoamérica y Caribe

Equipo de Pastoral Social de la diócesis del Alto Valle RioNegro, Argentina

Maricarmen Montes, Consejo Directivo Sicsal global

Leticia Gutiérrez, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Hildelisa Preciado, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Gabriela Hernández, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Carmen Mendoza,Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Dalia Ruiz, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Leticia Rentería, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Alfonso Anaya, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Norberto Pérez, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Juan Ramos,Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Lourdes del Villar, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Angeles González, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Marisa Rodríguez, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Graciela Tapia, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Leonor Aída Concha, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Rosa Barranco, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Bertha Vallejo, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

Elizabeth Alejandre, Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Romero, México

[1] https://www.mesadeconversaciones.com.co/comunicados/comunicado-conjunto-55-la-habana-12-de-julio-de-2015

[2] Matthew 5:9, NRSV.

[3] Matthew 5:7, NRSV.

[4] http://productos.cerac.org.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MonitoreoMensuallDeMedidasDesescalamientoDelConflicto_Reporte.pdf

[5] Psalm 85:10, NRSV.

[6] Isaiah 2:4, NRSV.

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