On the sixth anniversary of the signing of the peace agreements, we share the message of Monsignor Héctor Fabio Henao, delegate for Church-State relations of the Colombian Episcopal Conference, the official representative of the Church to facilitate peace talks.
Sebastian Sanson Ferrari – Vatican News
November 24, 2016 was a historic day for the Colombian people: the signing of the peace agreement with the FARC took place. Six years later, on Monday November 21, in Caracas, the delegations of the Colombian Government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) held a joint act to reinstate the peace talks table.
In this context, from the Catholic Church, they consider that a very important phase has begun, in which negotiations must be made on the basis of the recognition and dignity of each person, of each community. This is emphasized by Monsignor Héctor Fabio Henao, delegate for Church-State relations for the Colombian Episcopal Conference (CEC) and representative of the Church to facilitate these dialogues.
Since the IX National Reconciliation Congress, Henao told Vatican News that, in the dialogues, “there is representation of multiple sectors of society and here an exercise of recognition and appreciation of the dignity of each person must be carried out”, comments Henao . He also encourages hope, from all sectors, that “we are capable of turning the page and opening ourselves to a completely new horizon.” On that horizon, there can be justice and reconciliation and a much stronger and much more active democracy in the country, according to Henao: “Here it is about transformations in the world of democracy.”
The Episcopate delegate recalls the message that the Holy Father conveyed to them during his apostolic trip to the country, in 2017, about the importance of stopping hatred and violence. In effect, Francis said, during a prayer meeting for national reconciliation: “Do not be afraid to ask for and offer forgiveness. Do not resist reconciliation to get closer, meet again as brothers and overcome enmities. It is time to heal wounds, to build bridges, to iron out differences. It is time to defuse hatred, and renounce revenge, and open up to coexistence based on justice, truth and the creation of a true culture of fraternal encounter”.
Henao insists on the urgent need to leave behind the decades of death and violence, because “the social justice that we seek will not come from the hand of violence, but through dialogue.” In addition, he claimed: “We have to work to achieve the social transformations that our country urgently requires.”
According to Henao, “a new spirituality is needed that opens the path to reconciliation, and that is the fundamental contribution of the Church, its work for integral human development, together with the victims, to achieve a reconciled and peaceful nation ”.
The pronouncement of the Colombian government
In an act to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the signing of the peace agreement, the President of the Republic, Gustavo Petro, said that this is enough time to carry out an evaluation and acknowledged that “Total Peace has to do with compliance with what has already been signed, breaking his word is a generator of violence”. According to the local newspaper Time, Petro was emphatic in saying that his total peace project implies a world political change. And regarding the role of Latin America, he explained that the region must combine efforts to change some of the world policies.
“The commitment of this government is to comply with the peace agreement with the FARC and to carry out negotiations that would also imply transformations of the economic and political structure of the country, towards the other actors of the violence in Colombia. The pact is still in force,” the president concluded.