HomeWorldA few days before the election in Colombia, violence increases

A few days before the election in Colombia, violence increases

So far this year, 74 social leaders have been assassinated

The electoral campaign in Colombia is immersed in the deep humanitarian crisis of the armed conflict and systematic violence against community leaders and human rights defenders, of whom 74 have already been killed this year according to the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (Indepaz). ).

Added to this are massacres in indigenous, Afro-descendant and peasant communities that, according to the UN Coordination of Community Affairs, confined or expelled more than 78.900 people from their homes in four months, to whom must be added 207 displaced persons on Tuesday the 17th since It crashed after the 40th massacre of the year. Added to these figures are 21 assassinated peace signers, the most recent being Gerardo González Correa, shot to death on Thursday the 19th at midday in Bogotá.

Violence has been going on for decades in Colombia due to the war between a government that analysts deeply link to drug trafficking, insurgent groups and the most powerful drug cartels that have been trafficking, also for decades, the largest amount of cocaine that enters the United States.

To repair deep wounds in the Colombian social fabric, between April 26 and 27 of this year, Ocaña, Norte de Santander, on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, was the scene of an unprecedented and televised public hearing, in which a general of the Jurisdiction Special for Peace (JEP) of Colombia, nine of his subordinates and a civilian confessed to committing in 2008, under the mandate of former President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, heinous crimes against humanity against 120 civilians murdered in cold blood to make them pass as guerrillas, that is, the so-called false positives.

This is the so-called macro-case 03 of the JEP that encompasses the false positives at the hands of the Colombian Armed Forces in the conflict with the now extinct guerrilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which reached a peace agreement in 2016 with facilitation and support from Cuba, Venezuela, Chile and Norway.

The peace tribunal calculates 6.402 victims, the majority murdered from 2002 to 2008, the two terms of Uribe.

Cuba was the scene of the historic signing of the peace commitments that, since the arrival of the current president Iván Duque, Uribe's dolphin, have been systematically violated.

False positives refer to civilians killed and presented as guerrillas to add to the list of "enemies fallen in combat" and collect rewards. Bloody policy of the extreme right-wing government of Uribe to encourage his troops; executions that they used to say that Uribe was winning a war with more than 262.000 deaths, the forced recruitment of 17.000 minors and the disappearance of some 80.000 people, according to data from the National Center for Historical Memory.

Victims heard their perpetrators confess their crimes. Photo: JEP

The confession of the 11

In a theater in Ocaña, a town that was the scene of many of the crimes sponsored by the Government, General Paulino Coronado, Colonels Santiago Herrera and Rubén Darío Castro, Lieutenants Álvaro Diego Tamayo and Gabriel de Jesús Rincón Amado, Major Juan Carlos Chaparro Chaparro, together with Captain Daladier Rivera Jácome, Sergeants Rafael Antonio Urbano and Mauricio Pérez Contreras, Corporal Néstor Guillermo Gutiérrez and the third civilian Alexander Carretero, admitted having orchestrated the death of the civilians whom they later passed off as rebel combatants.

Some of the relatives of the victims were present at the venue to hear the confessions and requests for forgiveness from the murderers of their children, husbands and brothers.

The murder of the civilians also turned their relatives into victims of persecution by the State, which classified them as collaborators with the guerrillas and stigmatized them in a society polarized by armed violence.

"I present to you my regret for not having acted more diligently, I offer my solidarity and help to try to restore the damage and pain caused," said General Paulino Coronado.

“I feel a great remorse that lacerates my soul. I know that we affect entire families, fathers, mothers, children, grandchildren. We left them and left a big void, ”she confessed.
“We committed war crimes and crimes against humanity,” admitted First Corporal Néstor Gutiérrez, accused by the JEP of being “maximally responsible” for the false positives in Norte de Santander. “I assassinated cowardly, to keep a government happy. They demanded results from us no matter what; we had contact with paramilitaries to get weapons,” he said.

He explained that "with the help of María Eugenia Ballena", who charged for each victim, drew up the list of those who should die. Ballena was designated by the JEP as a "victim recruiter in the 'false positives' in Catatumbo", and she was released in September 2021.

On Thursday, May 5, the JEP announced that it is preparing its first sentence and will carry out the mission of judging and punishing those most responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The court will evaluate, no later than three months, the contributions of those appearing and will attend to the allegations of the victims to then issue a resolution in which it will suggest the sanctions, and then, in another section, the evidence will be studied and penalties will be imposed.

Otoniel splashed 64. On March 22, the JEP refused to try Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, alias Otoniel, former head of the Clan del Golfo, one of the largest criminal organizations in Colombia, arrested on October 23 in Urabá, because now the extradited drug lord did provide data to the court.

In 10 hours, Otoniel drew up a list of 64 people and institutions involved in crimes: former congressmen, public officials such as the former governor of Antioquia Luis Pérez Gutiérrez, and generals Mario Montoya and Leonardo Barrero Gordillo, together with the Sergio Arboleda University and the University of Cartagena, and Ecopetrol.

The JEP sent copies to the Supreme Court of Justice, the Prosecutor's Office and the Attorney General's Office so that they could investigate those mentioned by Otoniel, who was hastily extradited one day before speaking to the press.

What is the JEP?

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) of Colombia was created during the negotiations that have been held since 2012 between the Government of Colombia, then headed by Juan Manuel Santos, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, People's Army (FARC EP) headed then by Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, alias Timochenko and concluded with the peace treaty in Havana, in 2016.

During the dialogues in which Venezuela accompanied the Farc EP and Chile to the Casa de Nariño, with the mediation of Norway and Cuba, the concern arose as to how Colombian courts, unable until then to impart justice for more than 50 years, would prevent the impunity for crimes committed during the conflict.

The JEP was created, transitional for 10 years (and possible extension of another 5 years), independent to judge and punish the so-called "major crimes", "macro cases" or "system crimes" classified in seven macro processes.

The third is that of "false positives", including kidnappings, racial and gender violence, the genocide of the UP and the damage to communities in specific areas of the country.

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