Posted on March 14, 2017 12:28 pm
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Categories: Human Rights

The Colombian State in Apparent Denial over Paramilitary Atrocities: Human Rights Lawyer Daniel Kovalik (S)

Human rights lawyer and University of Pittsburg professor Daniel Kovalik visited Colombia along with Democratic Congressman Hank Johnson to discuss the topic of forced disappearances and the implementation of the inter-ethnic chapter of the peace agreement.  believes that disappearances will not be ended unless paramilitarism is brought to an end.

El Espectador published on March 17 an interview with Professor Kovalik. The interview, conducted by Susana Noguera, was published in Spanish. Translation (or back translation) into English by Colombia Peace Report.

Why do you say that the United States and Great Britain have a responsibility to finance the search for missing persons in Colombia? Because both countries interfened at great length in the Colombian war. The United States, for example, created the militias which evolved into the paramilitaries. It was the approach decades ago to fight guerrillas in Latin America. A couple of years ago, for example, the Washington Post published a story about how the CIA helped the Colombian government locate and find FARC, and the same story had a phrase that caught my attention: that although the CIA had found Paramilitary groups, it never attacked them Why? Because the paramilitaries protected American companies. That increased the United States’s ability to exploit resources in Colombia.

Do the exercises of memory by the Public Force require a`mea culpa’? None of the people I have spoken to trust the State because it has been strongly linked to the paramilitaries. The state at large should take a look in the mirror to understand which state policies are providing incentives for paramilitarism and who are the officials participating in these armed groups. If this is not done, the problem will remain and the ranks of the missing will continue to grow.El Espectador