Colombians Petition Swiss Government: Do not endorse Havana deal with Farc Narcoterrorists
We respectfully ask that the Swiss Government stand by the People of Colombia and that it respect the Colombian Constitution and its institutions
Earlier this month, the negotiation team for Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the narco-terrorist group FARC announced that, in order to ensure the implementation of the “peace” accord they have been negotiating for more than four years, they would elevate its status to that of a “Special International Humanitarian Accord” to be ratified by the Swiss government. This most recent maneuver by the Colombian government is both unconstitutional and anti-democratic, and we respectfully request, in the name of all the undersigned, that the Government of Switzerland decline from participating in this autocratic and illegal maneuver, as it would amount to a coup against the Colombian Constitution, it’s Congress, it’s Constitutional Court, and – most importantly – its people.
To begin, there is no basis for investing the negotiations between the sovereign government of Colombia and a homegrown narco-terrorist group with the classification of a “Special International Humanitarian Accord,” comparable to the Geneva Convention. The terrorist war that the FARC has waged against Colombian society has always been and still is an internal conflict. Indeed, the only “international” element of the deal would be its ratification by the government of Switzerland, which has no competence or standing to revoke or amend Colombia’s Constitution. To re-characterize the negotiations in Havana now is nothing more than a disingenuous way of bypassing both Colombia’s institutions and its citizens, to push through a deal that is widely unpopular in Colombia.
The way the Santos government is incorporating this “special accord” into the Constitution is illegal in many ways. First, there are only three ways to amend the Constitution. The government has rejected the first two – a referendum and a Constitutional Convention – and opted for the third: ratification by Congress of a legislative act. As set fourth in the Constitution, any proposed amendment has to be ratified in eight separate debates in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, in two separate legislative sessions. The rationale for this is obviously democratic: amending the constitution requires thoughtful consideration by the People’s representatives and ample time for input from different segments of society and the public. However, in its haste to push through the Havana accords on a public growing increasingly skeptical and unsupportive of the government’s actions, this proposed amendment was tacked on to a legislative act already in its seventh debate. As a result, it will not go through the process proscribed in the Constitution – Colombian Senators will never even get to debate it. It will only be voted on in one House Committee meeting, and one House of Representatives hearing. In short, it’s illegal.
Furthermore, the amendment itself attaches an “indelible clause” to the deal struck in Havana, making it irrevocable by any government in the future – something that Colombia’s Constitution expressly forbids, due to the anti-democratic nature of such a clause. Additionally, it requires that any future amendments to the Constitution be in accordance with the Havana deal, in essence placing this irrevocable document above the Constitution. Finally, and most egregiously, this will be done without anyone knowing what the Havana Accords even are, as the negotiations have not been concluded and those points where agreement has been reached have not been published, except in draft form.
In sum, the agreement made between a handful of government negotiators and a their narco-terrorist counterparts will supersede the Colombian Constitution, and this document will be ratified by one House Committee and one vote in the House of Representatives, without any of them ever having read it.
To placate the international community, the Santos government has promised a plebiscite. This too is a disingenuous ploy. Not only is a plebiscite asking a single yes or no question not an appropriate mechanism for the electorate to ratify a complex agreement – the Constitution does not allow it – but the Santos government lowered the threshold for voter turnout from 50 percent plus one of the electorate to 13 percent. In any case, the plebiscite will be an afterthought; coming after the amendment to the Constitution is completed.
Consistently, polls show between 80 and 90 percent of Colombians oppose the main points of the deal: impunity for those responsible for atrocities and political eligibility of FARC terrorists, among others. President Santos’ favorability is currently of only 13 percent – the lowest for any head of state in the region. With public opinion decidedly against what has been negotiated so far, it is no surprise that the Santos government has sought to sell its deal abroad, using the goodwill of the Swiss people to meet its ends.
We respectfully ask that the Swiss Government stand by the People of Colombia and that it respect the Colombian Constitution and its institutions. Please do not aid this emerging autocracy or the implementation of a narco-failed state in Colombia by supporting or participating in this scheme
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