Peace brings “family bonds”
Mr. Guterres visited Llanogrande, a town in the northern province of Antioquia, together with Colombian President Ivan Duque and the former commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army Rodrigo Londoño. The town is one of several areas in the country where former guerrillas have reintegrated into civilian life.
There are 32 departments or “states” in Colombia. Up to 80% of the population in Antioquia province is affected, and it is one of the areas most affected by conflicts in more than 50 years.
Llano Grande is a small town with 150 residents, where the former “enemy” now lives and works. With the support of the United Nations and the government, this small village has become a place of peaceful rule. Five years ago, this may be unbelievable. FARC fighters and locals now consider themselves family members.
The head of the United Nations walked through the town and was able to talk to residents who had benefited from different re-merger entrepreneurial projects.
“I am very happy to come to Llano Grande, I have witnessed the achievements of peace with my own eyes,” Mr. Guterres said while visiting the tailor’s workshop in the town.
There, he talked with worker Monica Astrid Oquendo. Tell the UN News recently The actions brought about by the peace agreement have greatly helped their communities.
Mr. Guterres also discussed their labor with other workers and discussed the importance of women’s leadership in the peace process.
A new coffee brand
At the same time, a group of ex-combatants used the visit of the UN Secretary-General to launch Trópicos, a new coffee brand created by a cooperative with 1,200 members.
I am very happy to meet the members of the Llano Grande community in Colombia.
Every day, they reaffirmed their commitment to building a peaceful country and responding to remaining challenges.
They know that peace will not come from day to day. It takes effort to build and maintain. pic.twitter.com/zd1DVxQAwh
— Antonio Guterres (@antonioguterres) November 23, 2021
Mr. Guterres is very interested in the cultivation process of this plant and the different types of coffee produced in Colombia.
“tropical [Spanish for ‘tropics regions’] It is a brand with special geographical characteristics. The “rebellion” of the tropical region makes this coffee unique because it comes from the community and the people in the process of reintegrating. It not only has a social background, but also quality standards. We have carefully selected each grain in order to achieve high quality and provide’Trópicos’ to the world,” explains Frey Gustavo de Maté, one of its creators.
The Secretary-General also learned about other projects such as town schools, arepas (Colombian tortillas) factories and soap factories.
Afterwards, Mr. Guterres delivered a brief speech to the community on the town’s football field, congratulating everyone on their “enthusiasm and dedication” to these projects. He added that these projects have been supported by the government and the international community.
He also acknowledged that these projects have made progress amid financial difficulties and emphasized the need to redouble efforts to ensure their sustainability and involve the private sector.
The head of the United Nations acknowledged the work done by communities throughout Great Beaba and other nearby cities and towns, and he praised these communities as “examples of integration and reconciliation that received and normalized ex-combatants with open arms.” Democratic life”.
He added: “This shows the true human qualities of teamwork, generosity, hope and courage to build a better future.”
Peace does not happen overnight
After listening to more community members, Mr. Guterres said that they know better than anyone that peace will not come overnight.
“It takes effort to build it, take care of it, and maintain it… There is a paradox: the goal of peace is a society without enemies, but unfortunately there are enemies of peace,” he said, telling the victims Solidarity and express their family members.
According to the UN report, since 2017, there have been 30 homicides and 4 disappearances in Antioquia province alone, most of which are men.
Throughout Colombia, there were 303 murders of ex-combatants and 25 missing. Nearly 500 human rights defenders and social leaders were also killed in the violent attacks.
Mr. Guterres admired the “tenacity and commitment” of those who “continue to bet on building peace in Colombia every day”. He also warned that “ensuring their safety is essential to consolidating peace”.
The UN still promises
The Secretary-General reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to support the peace process and pledged that he will discuss security and housing issues with the government. “We will all use this meeting to strengthen our work,” he said.
However, he said that he “humbly” acknowledged that the work of the organization is secondary and that the basic work of building lasting peace belongs to Colombians.
“If this were a movie, we would not be candidates for Oscar for Best Actor, but for Best Supporting Actor,” he concluded.