Colombian President Gustavo Petro instructed military and police officers to get ready for the transformation he intends to lead, which includes seeking peace through dialogue with the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels.
Petro said this weekend in front of the new military high command, that troops must prepare to be an army of peace, after decades of conflict.
It was the first time Colombian armed forces swore allegiance to a former guerrilla fighter who took up arms in the 1970s against the State before signing peace in 1990.
”It is about changing the very conception (...) what is demanded by the Colombian people (...) is an army that begins to prepare for peace, that ends, hopefully, if we achieve it, as an army of peace, said Petro, who also forecast a profound transformation of the Police after criticism over bloody repression carried out during protests under the previous government of Iván Duque.
We are facing more complex problems than those of the old security doctrine based on the false belief that there is an internal enemy in Colombia (...) There is no internal enemy in Colombian society, Petro insisted.
In one of their first actions after Petro's inauguration August 7, Colombian troops created a joint command among all forces to curb the murdering of social leaders nationwide, known as the Unified Command Post for
Life” which shall seek to curb homicides through joint actions.
Unified Command Posts for Life are to be deployed nationwide where massacres and assassinations are prevalent.
Also this weekend, a peace choir made up of children of ex-Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) fighters performed in public following an initiative from the Philharmonic Orchestra of Bogota. The children, aged 2 to 17, sang by a sculpture made of blended metal from guns turned over by the guerrilla combatants after signing peace deals. The choir initiative has been fostered by the Ford Foundation and the UN Verification Mission.
This choir symbolizes everything important and the results that crystallize and concretize the peace process, said David García, general director of the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra.
The idea of the choir was conceived last year and in November it made its first appearance during the visit to the country of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. However, it was only this week that the choir made its official presentation.
García also said the choir was the first stage of a more ambitious project which includes music education for those children so that they can join a philharmonic orchestra of peace.
Life for ex-combatants has not been easy. According to the United Nations, more than 300 peace signatories have been killed since the agreement, 31 of them this year, according to the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz).