Claretian mediator in the Colombian conflict

Oct 16, 2009 | Claretian Family, JPIC

Colombia. Again the Colombian press highlights the contribution of the Claretian Fr. Dario Echeverri in his role of mediator in the national agreement for peace and reconciliation that the Church maintains. We copy the article that appeared in the national daily El Tiempo (Wednesday, October 14, 2009). The idea of the initiative is aimed at directing the country to find a way that may carry it to a rapprochement between the parties involved in the conflict.

The proposal, called ‘National Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation’, which the Commission on National Reconciliation promotes through its Secretary, Father Dario Echeverry, looks for a direct consultation with the people about what alternatives they want in order to end the war.

“What we intend is to listen to all sectors, to know their initiatives and to define a great national proposal containing what Colombians believe may be the alternative to achieve peace in the country,” the priest said

The purpose is also to have a broad national consensus about the proposal, so that the actors in the conflict will understand what the country wants.

According to Echeverry, the proposal is not that the Church assume this process alone, but that the people consider the initiative as their own, that they may may carry it out, “that all the sectors put their minimum”.

For this reason, “conversations” have been held with different sectors and forums have been scheduled in some regions of the country. More than 10 “conversations” that have included, among others, trade union confederations, university rectors, other religious cults, NGOs, indigenous groups, coloured groups and leaders of political parties have been made so far.

Meanwhile, forums have been conducted in Pasto and Barranquilla, and tomorrow there will be another in Bucaramanga.

Once the proposals that the Colombians see as capable of leading to paths towards peace have been defined, a document will be made that will become subject of debate.

“The purpose is to influence the coexistence of the Colombians and to affect as well the legislative agenda and that of the candidates,” the priest said.

Then, once these minimums for peace and reconciliation have been agreed upon, they will be given to the presidential candidates in the hope that whoever gains the Presidency may implement them.

“There is leadership on the part of the Conciliation Commission in this proposal, but we have found broad national support in organizations such as trade unions, NGOs and even other religious congregations,” father Echeverry said.

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