LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales said Monday that Colombia needs to guarantee that peace prevails there by implementing social justice, after the triumph of the “No” option in the weekend referendum on the peace pact Bogota signed with the FARC guerrillas.
“As a government, we confirm our vocation for peace. I want to tell you that peace without social justice ... is not a guarantee. It’s important to guarantee peace with social justice, a peace with sovereignty, a peace with identity and dignity,” the Bolivian leader stressed in a press conference at the presidential palace.
He also emphasized the “democratic vocation” of the Colombians who supported the peace process and expressed “their solidarity with the families of the victims of the war of more than 50 years.”
“We’re convinced that our continent will be a continent with peace and the responsibility of the authorities is to guarantee this (with) social justice,” he emphasized.
Morales added that he did not want to speculate on what the Colombian people are thinking after the plebiscite, but he said he felt that everyone is seeking peace.
“We cannot lose hope, we cannot stand still, we have to continue with the effort so that peace is completely solidified,” he insisted.
According to Morales, in contrast to earlier periods, now it is perceived that achieving peace is under way in Colombia because one no longer hears that “there are new kidnappings, new massacres, new murders.”
On Sunday, Colombians went to the polls to express their sentiments on the peace pact concluded between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas, but those voting against the accord eked out a victory with 50.21 percent of the votes, versus 49.78 percent for the “Yes” option.
Voter abstention in the referendum was 62.57 percent.
Morales did not attend the historic signing ceremony for the peace pact, although 13 Latin American leaders and Spain’s King Juan Carlos were on hand, because – he said – he did not receive a telephone call from Santos inviting him.
Nevertheless, Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said that Morales was indeed invited to the ceremony in Cartagena via communications with Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca.