Looking Toward the Future with Hope

LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE WITH HOPE

Sincelejo, August 25, 2016
Ricardo Esquivia Ballestas

“Anyone who is among the living still has hope” (Ecclesiastes 9;4)

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Today an important and significant step has been taken for the Colombian people. Two groups of warriors, the national government and the FARC-EP guerrillas, have shaken hands and signed an accord in which they commit to putting an end to a war of nearly sixty years.

We, as a people, from the grassroots, full of happiness and hope, with our hand on the plow and our feet firmly on the ground, look ahead with expectation and tempered enthusiasm.

Upon looking ahead, we see the enormous challenges and obstacles on the path towards the horizon of justice, peace and reconciliation.

We don’t want to think only with our desires, nor let the enthusiasm and joy of this moment dull our understanding and keeps us from taking the opportune and pertinent steps that we need to in order to take advantage of this great opportunity.

The way is not clear. The plebiscite has not yet happened. The ruling classes, who have control of the establishment and the State, have not yet arrived at an agreement and argue among themselves, creating confusion. Many of their reactions are unpredictable and they are capable of resorting to inciting violence.

There are still many warriors on the path. Agreements have not been made with the ELN, EPL, organized armed groups, and drug traffickers. Administrative corruption is rampant, and the electoral businesses of clientelism have much power.

All this is aggravated by social injustice, inequity, accumulation of land into the hands of few, racism, and a great addiction to violence invite us to be cautious.

Popular wisdom says ‘he who sleeps on the floor never falls out of bed’. With our feet firmly on the ground and sleeping on the floor, we welcome these accords, and embody faith and hope as we continue to cultivate peace in our region as we have done for all these years.