3 Guidelines Proposed for Peace in Colombia

Bogota Archdiocese Targets Corruption, for Openers

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BOGOTA, Colombia, DEC. 21, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Bogota Archdiocese proposed a three-step plan to restore peace in Colombia that calls for the elimination of corruption, reformation of ex-combatants, and creation of dignified employment.

«Let us place these three gifts before the crib of Bethlehem,» said a recent editorial in El Catolicismo, the official newspaper of the archdiocese.

The struggle against corruption «cannot allow the most minimal acquiescence,» the editorial urged. Such a struggle implies «crushing with the rigor of law the constant sprouting» of corruption that affects entities such as the police and the army, and uprooting practices «which have discredited collegial bodies of popular representation,» the text stated.

Although it is necessary to have «solid parties that have clear ideological programs and precise political platforms,» even more important is that «they assume firm ethical criteria,» the publication affirmed.

«In this struggle, the nation hopes that the new Ministers of National Defense, Interior and Justice will be as inflexible in their respective areas as their ancestors were,» the editorial adds.

When it comes to reforming those rebels who put down their weapons, «it is very good to demand that there be no impunity,» the editorial says.

«But for Christians, just as there can be no peace without justice, there can be no justice without forgiveness,» the editorial adds, echoing John Paul II’s message for the 2002 World Day of Peace.

From the perspective of the Church’s social doctrine, the editorial says: «The third battle is the most important, but it is also the most difficult one to win because of the macroeconomic» situation of the country, which is in talks «to reach a free trade treaty with the United States.»

It adds: «We must keep in mind the criteria indicated by the archbishop of Tegucigalpa: ‘Injustice and inequality are distinctive signs of the present world. We are not moving toward a more just system, even though the single market concept so presents it to us.'»

«Therefore, to attain peace it is necessary to have employment for all as a goal, given that this is a primary right that guarantees the fundamental right to life,» the editorial concludes.

Colombia’s civil war has left 40,000 dead over the last decade.

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