"We bring hope and a bright future to our nation that is broken." Uncomfortable truths that threaten our dignity, a message to all human beings, regardless of political or ideological options, cultural and religious beliefs, ethnicities, or gender. When delivering the final report on a historical work, the president of the Truth Commission in Colombia, Father Francisco de Roux of the Jesuits, began his speech by stating that he was revealing the truth about 60 years of armed conflict. The document contains 896 pages and is chilling. Between 1985 and 2016, there were 450k666 deaths, eight millions forced displacements, and 50,770 kidnappings. The main victims weren't combatants. These were civilians.
The figures may give you goosebumps. Father De Roux's speech, however, is harsh. "We call for healing the physical, symbolic, multiethnic, multicultural, and multiethnic body we have as citizens of this country." A body that can't survive a Choco heart attack, Gangrenous arms in Arauca and severed legs in Mapiripan.
Paramilitaries, guerrillas and Armed Forces are all responsible for these atrocities. Drug traffickers, police, and the Armed Forces are also included in the report. The Truth Commission's study focuses on the period 1958 to 2016. This is when the Colombian people suffered a greater tragedy. It reflects a death rate of 700,000. Most of these were young people, with 110,000. Gustavo Petro, the president-elect of the next four years, was present at the event with Vice President Francia Martez.
The Commission determines that the most violent period in the conflict was 1995 to 2004, when 45% were killed. According to the report, everything can be attributed in part to a strategy of terror that was paralleled with the greatest territorial confrontation and extension of armed groups and paramilitarism.
The Commission also recommended that the new government change its security policy, implement authentic rural reforms, and enter into a peace deal with the ELN (National Liberation Army guerrillas). Father De Roux said that Colombia must reject violence as a way to resolve its conflict. "We call to awareness that our way to see the world and relate to one another is stuck in a war mode in which we can't conceive Others think different."
The final report reveals that Colombia's most effective way to wage war on the country has been to eliminate all "enemies". It also recalls the extermination of the Patriotic Union party group. "We believe there is a way for us to work together despite our legitimate differences," stated the Commission president.
After three years of hard work by the Commission, the study was completed. The main goal of the Peace Agreement was to place the victims at its center to create the foundations of reconciliation. The report was positively received by the international community, which included the UN Verification Mission, and the United Nations High Commission's Office. They invited Colombians into the truth and announced their unconditional support for peace and the protection of the rights of victims.
This Wednesday saw a major milestone in the path of dialogue with the meeting between Gustavo Petro (the man considered to have led the country in the shadows over the past years) and Alvaro Urbine (the man). Petro also met Rodolfo Hernandez who was his opponent in June 19 elections.
General Eduardo Enrique Zapateiro has resigned as commander of the Colombian National Army (Ejercito De Tierra) effective July 20, when Gustavo Petro is to be inaugurated. After four decades of service, his resignation is a result of his inability to support the leftist leader at the investiture day after his famous disagreements. Petro claimed that generals were "on the payroll" of the Clan del Golfo during the recent presidential election campaign. I have never seen anyone receiving ill-gotten cash on television. "Colombians have seen you get money in a trash bag," Zapateiro said then.