DearColleague.us

Letter

 

From: The Honorable Ruben Gallego
Sent By:
matt.lee2@mail.house.gov

Date: 9/19/2016

Sign a letter to President Juan Manuel Santos

Signers: Gallego, McGovern, Farr and Hank Johnson

Dear Colleague:

The Colombian government recently finalized a landmark peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that – pending its ratification by the Colombian people in a plebiscite next month – will bring half a century of fighting to an end.

This breakthrough deserves to be celebrated, not just in Colombia, but here in Washington.  Beginning with President Clinton and continuing under Presidents Bush and Obama, the United States has provided generous assistance totaling more than $10 billion
to aid the Colombian people in their struggle against drug traffickers and illegally armed groups.

Despite this momentous success at the negotiating table, significant challenges remain.  FARC rebels who have spent their entire lives fighting the Colombian military must be reintegrated into society and combatants on all sides will be subject to a lengthy
truth and reconciliation process.  At this critical moment, Democrats and Republicans should come together to ensure that America is just as committed to helping Colombia secure peace as we were to helping Colombia wage war.

Please join me in writing to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to congratulate him for concluding the peace accord with the FARC and to express support for continued American assistance to Colombia as the government begins the difficult work of implementing
this historic agreement.  The text of the letter is below.  To sign-on, please contact Matt Lee in my office at
matt.lee2@mail.house.gov or by calling 5-4065.

Sincerely,

Ruben Gallego

Member of Congress

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Dear President Santos:

We write to congratulate you for finalizing the historic peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and to praise the persistence and visionary leadership of countless Colombian leaders and citizens who made this breakthrough
possible.  We also write to express our renewed commitment to ensuring that the United States remains a steadfast partner as you implement this landmark accord.

If ratified by the Colombian people next month, the peace agreement will bring an end to the longest running conflict in our hemisphere.  As you know, Colombians of all walks of life have suffered over half a century of fighting, which has claimed more than
220,000 lives and displaced over 6 million people.  This accord – the product of four years of painstaking negotiations – will help to reintegrate former combatants into society and promote security and economy opportunity in rural areas plagued by violence.
We strongly encourage your government and all relevant parties to ensure that it is carried out in a manner that promotes the rights of victims of all armed actors and honors their demands for truth and justice.  We also welcome the inclusion of provisions
on Afro-Colombian and indigenous rights and urge their full implementation.

For these reasons and recognizing the serious challenges that Colombia will face in implementing the agreement, we strongly support the Peace Colombia initiative announced in February during your visit to Washington.  We also believe that this commitment
must be honored by our next Administration. After standing with Colombia through decades of war, we must to continue to stand with the Colombian people as you work to build a just and lasting peace.

Again, congratulations for reaching this historic milestone.  Your progress is indicative not only of the Colombian government’s commitment to peace, but also of the Colombian people’s remarkable capacity for healing and forgiveness.  We look forward to
continuing to support Colombia at this momentous time in your nation’s history.

Sincerely,