STATEMENT BY U.S. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES P. MCGOVERN (MA)
Dear Friends and Supporters of Peace in Colombia,
Today is a day that all of us have awaited for years, for decades – many of you for much longer than I have. With the formal signing of the Peace Accords, Colombia begins a new chapter in its history, a chapter filled with hope, and a chapter that demands the commitment and good will of all Colombians to fulfill.
Over the past sixteen years, when I have been most deeply engaged on Colombia, I have been privileged to meet with thousands of Colombians from many of its regions, rural and urban, rich and poor, Afro-Colombians and Indigenous, campesinos and business leaders, elected officials and labor activists, young people and senior statesmen, victims’ advocates, human rights defenders, religious and community leaders. They have shared with me their stories and their insights, their sorrows and their dreams. It has been a journey that has affected me deeply. I have been humbled by their trust and their faith in the future.
It’s for their right to a future where Colombians may live and work in peace why I remain so committed to helping build a new Colombia – a Colombia at peace, that is not afraid of revealing the truth about its tragic past, that is dedicated to reconciliation and the rejection of violence, and committed to economic and social development that leaves no child, no region, no neighborhood behind. It will not be easy, but it is one of those glorious tasks worth every ounce of effort.
While I regret I cannot join you this evening at this celebration of the Peace Accords, I am honored to have been invited to witness the formal signing of the Peace Accords in Cartagena and I am with Secretary of State John Kerry at this historic event.
May peace be with you and with all of Colombia –
Congressman Jim McGovern
September 26, 2016
CARTAGENA – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, traveled to Colombia with Secretary of State John Kerry and other American dignitaries to witness the signing of the peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Monday. Senator Cardin released the following statement:
“To witness firsthand the formal conclusion of the world’s longest civil war is a powerful and moving experience.
“Today’s signing is a historic turning point toward a new day and a brighter future for Colombia. The accord has the unanimous support of FARC’s leadership as well as the apparent majority of the Colombian people, which leave me optimistic as the nation prepares for a referendum shortly to affirm the path of peace.
“That’s a path they deserve to travel after a half century of violence and destruction that left hundreds of thousands dead and an astounding seven million people internally displaced. The conflict took a particularly devastating toll on young men and women on both sides, impacting generations.
“Beyond today’s signing, the work of peace is a never-ending endeavor and there must be serious commitments to justice, accountability, and reconciliation by all parties if Colombians are to achieve the future they deserve.”