Morning in Havana

cr. Kristian Sanabria
cr. Kristian Sanabria

Morning has Broken in Havana: Ricardo Esquivia reflects on the recent announcement in Havana that set a date for an end to the armed conflict in Colombia.

A short reflection using two Biblical passages as a framework: Peter 1-19: ‘And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.’

This has profound content because we are prophets; because we believe that we are builders of peace. We are building peace looking towards the land being regenerated and our people reconciled.

In the last 60 years, we have gone forward with very little light. There have been approximately twenty peace accords with armed groups. What we are now seeing is like a light that is beginning to shine. A light at the end of the tunnel. It is a light that shows us there is a way out.

On the other hand, it says ‘in a dark place, until the day dawns’. We can be sure that dawn will come. I believe the day is dawning even with all that is still happening, with all the difficulties. Morning has broken.

It continues by saying until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.’ The moments we are living are stars of hope. That which was set down as a pact on September 23rd in Havana between the Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, and the Commanders of the FARC is a star of hope. We need to believe and think that it is true that we will see the dawn soon. We need to transmit that conviction to the people with whom we work because people still have doubts and there still are six to eight months to go until the final agreement.

I also want to add to this a passage from James 3-18: ‘Peacemakers who sow in peace reap the fruit of righteousness.’

This brings us into the topic of transitional justice and transitional justice is completely absolute in this moment in which we are living because ordinary law cannot enable us to go forward. People have come to the conclusion that it is not possible to defeat the armed groups. It has been tried for sixty years without success. We have to be realistic and understand that these are warring groups and that war is criminal because in war one kills the enemy. If ordinary laws were applied, they would have to sentence all of the people who have participated in this conflict to 60 years of prison and that would not allow the peace accords to happen. For that reason, there has to be an extraordinary law-which is a form of transitional justice.

It is important to achieve peace as a fruit of justice. The victims are asking for justice, truth and reparations. It seems to me that this passage from James calls us to think deeply about this, to make sure that our work is carried out in peace so that is will bear the fruit of justice. How can we help so that transitional justice does not veer towards punitive justice that could be the seed of future conflicts? Instead, that we go forward towards restorative justice, real justice, and begin to resolve this situation. That no more armed groups be created. For all these reasons, these two passages invite us to reflect and see that there is hope and to see that light in the morning that shows another day is dawning, but that we must also work to make that happen.