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A dream that came true
On February 20, 2012 at 10:00 am we left the airport in Maiquetia, sister Republic of Venezuela, in a small aircraft that would lead us to the rebel Cuba of Fidel. The advance was made by Comrade Mauricio Jaramillo, head of the delegation, Ricardo Tellez, Marco Leon Calarca, Andres Paris, Sandra Ramirez and myself, who were appointed by the National Secretariat of the FARC-EP to explore, discuss and agree an agenda for dialogue with the government of Juan Manuel Santos.
Three hours later we landed at Jose Marti airport in Havana, where we were greeted with warmth own this brave people who have known how to face the most cruel and ruthless US blockade.
The first impression was breathing the fresh air of the island that time of year, with much emotion because my silent dream was always to meet in person, the story of heroism and resistance of the Cuban people and their leaders, who, despite major economic constraints, continue to build its national project. I could not believe he was fulfilling that dream !, less, that corresponded to me to be part of this mission, as difficult as the war itself but so necessary for all Colombia.
Two days later, the commander Mauricio told us the conclusion of the first meeting with government representatives in House; a beautiful place located in El Laguito, site protocol Cuban government. Today, four years later, this place is recorded in the history of the FARC-EP, because there passed the discussions laid the groundwork for what today we intend to finish, to achieve peace.
When we got the news of the meeting Sandra and me struck me the usual questions when it takes so many years in the mountains and suddenly we find ourselves in a scenario like this: How do I see? How will I salute the counterpart? The answers had immediately: I will dress as best I feel, simple, informal and greet with respect, sure who heads is representative of a regime that has persecuted us for many years with the firm intention of annihilating, but today as equal forces shall stretch our hands to tell us tacitly “Let’s talk because we can not continue in an endless war.”
On February 23 began the meetings between the delegations of the FARC-EP and the government to agree on the work schedule and then the discussion about what the agenda items would be to compromise.
From the outset, the government thought he had found a defeated and demoralized guerrillas, strategy indicated that sought to subdue the insurgency in the talks, his ultimate goal was to go for guns, but they were wrong, the debate was just beginning. So was this difficult period of 6 months to come and go at a time with a feeling of frustration of a new attempt to find the path of peace, others with hopes for the results of exchanges with the government delegation and went Agenda building.
We have the support of Cuba as host and guarantor, along with Norway, plus the invaluable role of Venezuela, still led by Commander Hugo Chavez, undisputed world leader. From the first moment were pledge collateral of the seriousness of the process, were always attentive to the whole development of the talks and helped the parties reach an understanding to come to discuss the serious problems it has today Colombia.
On August 26, 2012, at 17:00, the FARC-EP and the Colombian government signed the General Agreement ending the conflict and building a stable and lasting peace that includes a thematic agenda of 6 points, the which it is the navigation chart of this peace process we advance.
Today, February 20, 2016, we are full of optimism about partial agreements that can lead to the signing of a final agreement that will lead us to the end of the conflict, become a movement or political party that enables continue fighting for change fundamental that requires Colombia to the majority and to achieve the good life.
Four years in the land of Martí, in ongoing debate in a political struggle, to which everyone contributed, I learned a lot, clearing doubts, recognizing women and men of Cuba as patriots of dignity and freedom. Sleep every day with the hope that reality that desire of the majority, a stable and lasting peace; I will continue contributing my bit.
Por Carmenza Castillo, integrante de la Delegación de Paz de las FARC-EP