Santos said that Colombia is a country that cannot resort to violence as a means for change, and that real reform must come from law and democratic institutions.
“The great reforms, the real reforms, are not made in the bush, or with abductions, or by destroying electricity towers, or attacking villages, laying mines, recruiting children and killing innocents. We are making major reforms, the real reforms … with laws!” said the president.
The head of state offered as example the recently enacted Victims Law, stating that, “[The Victims Law] pays a moral and historical debt to the victims of violence, thanks to the effectiveness of our democratic institutions.”
Santos added that Colombia’s constitution of 1991 emerged from a peace treaty between the government and the M-19 guerrilla movement, as a result of the organization’s choice to “forego the use of weapons” and take “the path of democratic debate.”
The president also called for “national unity” among Colombians, and for them to overcome animosity between citizens of the same country.