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Creativity to Face Brutality

Maria Paula Unigarro Alba

Posted on April 29, 2019 16:34

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Violence is rising in Colombia, however, creative ways of claiming peace are also doing so.

The situation in Colombia seems to be getting worse every day. Today, challenges to peace come directly from the institutions that should be protecting its citizens.

On April 22nd, Dimar Torres, an ex-FARC member, was assassinated. Dimar was highly recognized in his community for his commitment to the peace agreement, and for his active participation on reintegration activities lead by the Agencia de Reincorporación y Normalización – government agency in charge of these processes. Dimar is not just one of 100+ ex-combatants that have been murdered since the peace accord came into force. He is one of the few cases in which the author of the crime has been identified: he was brutally killed by members of the Colombian Army.

All aspects from this case are shocking, from the cruelty with which the murder was committed, to the management the government has given to the situation. Members of the community found Dimar’s dead body close to a military camp; he was shot three times and had visible signs of torture. When the news came out, the Defense Minister Guillermo Botero stated that the killing occurred accidentally as a result of a struggle between the ex-combatant and the officer.

Nevertheless, videos taken from peasants of the zone demonstrate that this is not the case. Furthermore, Army General Diego Villegas gave a speech in which he accepted the responsibility of the crime by the armed forces. He asked forgiveness on behalf of his troops and requested the Prosecutor General’s office to investigate the facts. In this same vein, Senator Roy Barreras assured that it was not an accidental event, but a protected person homicide, which responsibility relies on members of the military forces.    

This crime is a major sabotage to the peace process. It not only corroborates government’s inability to protect ex-combatants and social leaders contributing to the peace accord implementation; it was a direct attack to peace committed by the Army. This gives former guerrilla members clear incentives to take up arms and go back to illegality.

In spite of the critical situation the Colombian transition is facing, there are a couple of things worthwhile highlighting that demonstrate that opponents to the peace process don’t have an easy path: first, General Villegas' speech is plausible as he assumed responsibility for the case voluntarily, and even contradicted the Defense Minister's declarations. Second, in light of the lack of security guarantees in the country, last Sunday more than three thousand social leaders traveled from all over the country to Bogota to install a humanitarian camp in the capital. The initiative seeks to give visibility to the humanitarian crisis that the country is going through; for one week, along with symbolic activities, there will be a massive asylum request by leaders in several Embassies.

This shows that there are voices clamoring for justice and truth through innovative ways. This demonstrates that after long years of war, there is a creative society that is not willing to give up on peace that easily.

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Source: Al Jazeera

The Colombian social leader, known as an 'untiring fighter' for human rights, was killed last week at her home.

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