The Truth Commissionarising from the Peace Agreement with the FARC in Colombia, is presenting in Argentina a crude and voluminous report Over the crimes committed by guerrillas, paramilitaries and state agents throughout six decades of internal conflict. The first presentation was this Thursday at the Rector’s Office of the National University of Tres de Febrero (Untref) and was given by one of the eleven members of the Colombian commission, Dr. Saul Francowho called to pass “from an Army to face war to an Army to cultivate peace”. Forced disappearances, acts of sexual violence, massacres and torture are some of the horrors portrayed in the ten-volume report, which concludes that Colombians suffer “collective traumas” that pass “from one generation to another for decades.”
The report “There is a future if there is truth” It was prepared with the voice of 28,562 people, 14,928 individual and collective interviews, 731 cases and 1,203 reports delivered by NGOs, public and private companies and victims’ organizations. It also includes the words of former presidents Ernesto Samper, Andrés Pastrana, Álvaro Uribe and Juan Manuel Santos. The text warns that the State was “one of the great responsible for the systematic murders that left the conflict” and he especially cites the extrajudicial executions, the so-called false positives, which left at least 6,402 dead between 2002 and 2008.
Praise for Mothers of Plaza de Mayo
Noticing the presence in the auditorium of Vera Jarachfrom Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Founding Line, Saul Franco He recalled that he came to the Truth Commission thanks to the application of the Mothers. “They are a reference, an example and a challenge. They accompanied us in Colombia. The worst of the worst forms of violence is enforced disappearance. An unmistakable and incurable pain, and it is an enormous act of humanity that women like them do the work they do, “she said.
In his presentation, Franco assured that Colombia is one of the most violent countries in the world. “We have spent almost 60 years of an armed confrontation with different intensities and distributions in the regions, extremely harmful, which has corroded democracy,” explained the doctor of Public Health, and in this sense he said that the Truth Commission estimates that there have been at least 121 thousand disappeared in the last six decades.
Franco explained that from the Truth Commission they tried to make the country understand what had happened, but in addition to describing the scenario they were interested in knowing why, and finally what Colombia should do so that the conflict does not spread. “We did not stay in Bogotá reviewing the files, from the first day we made the decision to go out into the field without a standardized theoretical framework in mind. We were going to listen to 30,000 people from all strata. And we heard the country“, he explained in a pedagogical tone.
The brutal figures of the conflict
“We have at least 700 thousand deaths. And the question is not how many die but who dies”. In this sense, Franco remarked that the main victims are not combatants but civilians, who account for between 80 and 90 percent of the total. The figures exposed by the Colombian researcher are so forceful that it is difficult for him to process them.
According to the Truth Commission, in Colombia there are eight million people displaced by the war and at least 30 thousand boys and girls were included in the conflict. “The damage to mental health is very great and in many cases irrecoverable”warned Franco, who also warned about the damage to nature caused by the armed conflict. “After Afghanistan, Colombia is the second country in number of antipersonnel mines. In parallel, the rivers in Colombia became floating cemeteries. Fishermen who did not fish again for fear of finding human heads or torsos,” this doctor with 40 years of experience as a university professor described with astonishment.
Findings and challenges
When reviewing the main discoveries of the Truth Commission, which culminates its task with the simultaneous presentation of ten extensive reports, Franco returns to an element that he repeated throughout the talk: the main victim was and continues to be the civilian population. “The peasants and the indigenous populations were cannon fodder in the conflict,” He explained while pointing out that “although it is a war with a military face, it is a highly complex war” because economic, social and political interests come into play that operate to control the land and wealth.
Franco acknowledges that drug trafficking has further complicated and clouded the internal war, although he warned that the solution “is not to attack the small farmer who farms, or persecute consumers, but to resolve the transnational economic and financial nucleus,” for which what is needed “change the focus of national security”.
At that point in the exhibition, Franco welcomed the arrival in the government of Gustavo Petro and emphasized: “Luckily we had to deliver the report to a government that is committed to accompanying our proposals”. The Colombian researcher celebrates that the new Ministry of Education has promised that the results of the report will be presented in schools throughout the country, and also says that Velásquez’s appointment as head of the Defense portfolio is “the most daring of Petro.” The expectation is now very different from that generated during the outgoing government of Ivan Dukefor whom, in Franco’s opinion, “the Truth Commission was never in his vocabulary”.
In addition to Jarach, Franco’s conference was attended by the head of the Executive Secretariat of the Institute for Public Policies on Human Rights (Ippdh), Remo Carlotto; the judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court), Verónica Gómez; the director of the National Genetic Data Bank (BNDG), Mariana Herrera; while the presentation was given by the rector of Untref, Anibal Jozami, who highlighted the “Latin American vocation” of the university.
The Secretary for Human Rights, Horacio Pietragalla Corti, will participate this Friday in a new presentation of the final report of the Colombian Truth Commission that will be held at the former Esma property in the city of Buenos Aires. The event will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the Haroldo Conti Memory Cultural Center, and Pietragalla Corti will be accompanied by commissioners Saúl Franco and Carlos Beristain, and the Executive Director of Open Memory, Verónica Torras.