peace follows being a dream in a country of excesses like Colombia. Peace agreements are signed, thousands of soldiers are demilitarized, violence related to the armed conflict is significantly reduced. Good news lasts a year, two years, maybe three. Until suddenly murders skyrocketthe massacres and the forced and massive displacement of the civilian population.
It happened at the end of the eighties when several guerrilla groups disarmed and decided to dedicate themselves to politics. In a few years, thousands of militants from the Patriotic Union, the left-wing party where the former soldiers congregated, lay in cemeteriesincluding several of his presidential and electoral candidates.
Y it happens again today after the peace agreement signed in 2016 between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Government that put an end to more than half a century of an open war responsible for the country breaking world records with million displaced persons and refugees.
From January 1 75 leaders have been assassinated social and human rights defenders and 20 veterans of the FARC signatories of the peace agreement that must be added to the almost 300 assassinated in the last four years. At the same time there have been 40 massacres (This is how the simultaneous homicide of three or more people is called) that add up to more than 150 deaths.
Not even the long confinement of eight months in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the violence to decrease. Unlike, 2020 was an extremely violent year, with 91 massacres and 381 deaths in 66 municipalities in the country. The violence continued in 2021, with another 96 massacres and 338 victims, according to figures collected by the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (INDEPAZ).
The report of the prestigious organization Human Rights Watch on Colombia is demolition Man. “The civilian population in several regions of the country suffered serious abuse committed by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia’s other historic guerrilla group, FARC dissidents and paramilitary successor groups,” testifies the latest report.
The war is fattened with the civilians
A minority of FARC dissident guerrillas he rejected the peace agreement and refused to hand over his weapons. Other guerrillas who initially disarmed created new groups and resumed violent attacks. The decision of this 20% was influenced by the murder of hundreds of their companions and the defenselessness in which they lived once they abandoned their weapons. Last year, the violence unleashed between the guerrilla dissidences caused the massive displacement of 23,000 people in the department of Nariño, although the positive data is that kidnappings have decreased by 95% since the signing of the peace agreement.
More of 500 human rights defenders have been murdered since 2016, making Colombia one of the countries with the most crimes in the world. The humanitarian organization recalls that thousands of other human rights defenders, journalists, indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders and community activists “They have suffered death threats and constant acts of violence” and the Government has not adopted sufficient protection measures to prevent attacks.
The war in Colombia has left 262,197 dead, of which 215,005 were civilians and 46,813 combatants. Five civilians for each soldier, that is, 80% of the victims, is the result of the brutalities that occurred between 1958 and 2018, according to data collected by the National Center for Historical Memory (CNMH).
Commission for the Clarification of the Truth
The Commission for the Clarification of the Truthled by the prestigious Jesuit Francisco de Roux, will present its report at the end of June after the celebration of the presumably second round of the presidential elections on Sunday, May 29.
It will be the result of five and a half years of exhaustive work that has forced commission agents and investigators to travel all over the country to collect the testimonies of the victims.
In an interview conducted in November 2021 with the Vatican news agency, De Roux advanced some terrible figures: “8,675,000 Colombians (almost a fifth of the Colombian population) are part of the official registry of victims for different reasons. There is also 82,000 missingthere have been 2,000 massacres, 30,000 kidnappings, 18,000 extrajudicial executions and 25,000 people have been mutilated by anti-personnel mines”.
War crimes and crimes against humanity
The demobilization of paramilitary organizations between 2003 and 2006“who had close ties to the security forces and politicians,” according to Human Rights Watch, allowed thousands of Colombians to find out the whereabouts of the disappeared.
The Justice and Peace Law of 2005 offered a reduced sentences for paramilitaries that they confess their crimes and help find thousands of victims, clandestinely buried in inaccessible and hidden places in the complex orography of a country of more than a million square kilometers. Some 4,000 of the 30,000 demobilized paramilitaries collaborated with the courts and some 650 were sentenced to prison terms.
In January 2021, a judicial chamber of the so-called Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), created after the peace agreement, accused war crimes and crimes against humanity eight members of the FARC leadership for the thousands of kidnappings (79% of men and 21% of women) that their armed units have carried out since 1982.
The judge was very clear in her argument: “They were not excesses or errors, but war crimes”. The president of the court was even more explicit: “During the kidnappings there was torture and in many cases sexual violence. They were treated like animals.”
The Colombian State also he acted ruthlessly with his victims. In July 2021, the JEP accused several Army officers and non-commissioned officers for their participation in extrajudicial executions, known as “false positives”a criminal modality that increased the number of guerrilla casualties who, in reality, were civilians who had been summoned in other cities with false job offers.
Civilians, belonging to the humblest sections of society, including people with intellectual disabilities, they were assassinated and presented as dangerous guerrillas. Between 2002 and 2008 some 6,000 people were killed and presented as “false positives”.
Most of these extrajudicial executions occurred during the governments of former President Álvaro Uribe and his Minister of Defense and later President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, scandalously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. Perhaps one day they will both be tried for these heinous crimes..