The Fight for Peace and Justice in Colombia

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12/07/2019

Late last August, prominent FARC commanders Iván Márquez and Jesús Santrich declared that they would be taking up arms against the Colombian state once again. The announcement signified a partial breakdown of the 2016 peace agreement which was meant to mark the end of the decades-long conflict. The vocal cynics within Colombia’s hawkish right wing will consider this a prophecy fulfilled, parroting familiar narratives about violence being the only way to “deal with” guerrillas. But this simplistic view obscures the failure of the government to end the continuous murder of activists or address the inequities that gave rise to the armed conflict in the first place. In addition to students, a number of unions, LGBT groups, farmers, indigenous groups, and members from the recently formed FARC political party themselves joined the march as a loose coalition of progressive forces. A few months later in July, at least fifteen thousand from these same networks marched throughout Colombia’s major cities under the slogan #DefendamosLaPaz, or “Let’s Defend the Peace.”

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