Letter to the Federal Assembly of Switzerland
October 25, 2016
Members of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland
Honorable Members of the Federal Assembly:
I write on behalf of the more than 10,000 people who, last May, petitioned the Swiss government to stand with the people of Colombia in defense of the country’s democratic institutions. At the time, we asked that the Swiss government not accept the agreement between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the narco-terrorist group FARC for deposit in the Federal Council. We stated then that about 80 percent of the Colombian population rejected the main points of the Santos-FARC deal. The results of the Oct. 2 plebiscite, where only 17 percent of the electorate voted in support of the agreement proved us right. Eight-three percent of the electorate either voted against it, or exercised their democratic right to abstain.
We are grateful that Mr. Maximilian Reimann brought our petition to the Swiss Parliament in June. However, we were disappointed to learn that, despite Mr. Didier Burkhalter’s assertions that Switzerland would not involve itself in the politics of Colombia, Switzerland did indeed provide funds for the government’s campaign in the plebiscite. We were also dismayed to find that the agreement was taken to Switzerland before the Colombian people even had the opportunity to support or defeat the deal in the plebiscite.
Since the October 2 vote, President Santos and his political allies have shown their intention of ratifying the deal despite the results. We implore you once again to stand with the people of Colombia and not with those whose, due to political or economic interests, would disavow the results of a democratic process. The agreement Switzerland holds in the Federal Council was made null and void on October 2.
Please join us in demanding that the people’s will be respected.