The voids, lagoons, still-unresolved imprecisions, and concerns go even beyond the main points Human Rights Watch takes issue with in its critical report about the agreement on victims/justice.
The agreement on victims’/justice has basically a long list of social, economic, developmental, reintegration, relocation, and reparation rights or guarantees that would seem to imply overwhelming costs that could be only covered in a small fraction, according to some observers. It appears that the FARC and Colombian government could allow in this agreement a loop-hole for FARC members and its sympathizing “masas” (“masses”/supporters) and “militias” to fit into programs for victims via a clause of displaced persons (guerrillas consider themselves to be “displaced persons” because of the state) whereby they are apparently to be supposedly “guaranteed” for what could be indefinitely (it is not clear)—beyond effective reintegration into society—jobs, economic support, welfare-style programs, financial credits, a kind of vague, undefined political community autonomy of sorts (with some kind of degree of influence on “territorial” and national levels), community self-supervision, and ambitious public works and development programs on national, “territorial,” and local levels.
Moreover, there doesn’t appear to be anything really specific on the judicial part of how to dismantle illegal narcotics.
While, naturally, there would be the need to provide economic, social, developmental, educational, cultural and psychological support to the reintegration into civilian society of guerrillas (as well as of government troops eventually leaving the security forces and of ex “paramilitaries”), the obvious question is, How can all of these lofty goals be fully achieved, when the costs would seem to be overwhelming?
Could this have the potential to set up a situation of eventual unfulfilled promises and the dashing of high expectations that could be perhaps cited by the FARC or others to say that an overall peace accord was not upheld and thus the apple cart gets upset? Could the FARC insist on these items being satisfied before it supposedly truly fully disconnects itself from its entire armament, even if the FARC has gone partially, mostly, or completely through demobilization as a guerrilla force? The FARC is to start to “lay down weapons” within 60 days of the signing of an overall peace accord, but it is still not determined how or where its weapons would be stored or handled, and eventually decommissioned or destroyed. And there appears to be an unclearness or a discrepancy of interpretation between the Colombian government and FARC on whether the FARC is to lay down all of its weapons within 60 days after the signing of an overall peace agreement or if this is to be done in stages that go hand in hand with implementation of the accords that could go beyond the 60 days.
According to the Western official closely following the Colombian peace talks, “The problem as I see it is that even if there were the best of intentions on both sides, the agreement as exists currently is so complicated and involves so much that there are not the resources (money), people or infrastructure to make it work, even over the 10 year period that Santos is announcing. This thing is way too complex and promises too much to too many people. The problem underlying all of it is that I don’t think the FARC is totally well intentioned. So whether I’m right or wrong about the intentions, implementation is going to be a total mess.” According to this official, costs for post-conflict could run as high as 80 billion dollars over a decade or longer, and the international community’s talk of pledges so far for funding it would cover less than three, four or five percent of that figure. Moreover, Colombian former mining and energy minister Carlos Rodado told me that the international community sometimes doesn’t come through on its pledges and puts in conditions to benefit its respective countries’ own contracting companies for part of the funding.
While intentions remain to be seen in the proof of the pudding, I see that both the Colombian government and FARC leadership are sincere in wanting to achieve an overall peace accord—though they want to get it on their own respective terms as much as possible—and this could result in one side or the other, or both, trying to push the envelope too much, perhaps particularly more so the FARC in current circumstances given that it seems sometimes to perceive (correctly or incorrectly) that Pres Santos is supposedly so anxious for an overall peace accord as the clock on his presidency ticks away that he may be vulnerable to “giving in” or further “giving in” to FARC positions, a supposition which Santos would deny.