BOGOTA – Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos said on Monday that the greatest achievement of his administration, which will conclude its term on Tuesday, is the signing of the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), while he also lamented the murders of social leaders in the country.
“No peace is perfect, nor easy to consolidate, especially in our country, affected by so many forms of violence. The assassinations of social leaders are a pain with which I am left with,” Santos said in his last address on television as president of Colombia.
The Colombian Prosecutor’s Office said earlier this month that it has received 1,291 complaints about threats against social leaders and former FARC guerrillas in 2018.
In his farewell message, Santos said he leaves office “with the satisfaction of having made great progress towards the vision” of consolidating peace and improving education in the country.
“Colombia cannot resign itself to suffering an endless war,” said Santos, who will hand over to President-elect Ivan Duque for the 2018-2022 term.
Santos stressed that he tried to stop the war by all means with the support and “generosity of the majority of Colombians,” especially the victims of violence, whom the president hailed as their “greatest teachers.”
Santos also wished Duque “every possible success, for the good of the country” and that he will keep his promise not to intervene or be “a sting in the neck of my successor.”
“Being president is a unique and challenging job, which has left me with wonderful memories and also some heartaches, which are, after all, part of life,” Santos said.
He stressed that just as Colombia could not resign itself to living in war, the country cannot remain indifferent to the citizens who suffer from poverty.
“We still have a way to go to completely eradicate poverty, to reduce the unacceptable gap between the richest and the least advantaged,” Santos said.
The president also recalled the visit made by Pope Francis to Colombia, in which the Pope “exhorted us not to let ourselves be robbed of hope, to think big, to fly high. Let us listen to him! Do not let yourselves be robbed of peace.”