El Espectador Calls for Guaranteeing Safety of Demobilized FARC Fighters; History Has Proven Otherwise
Four ex-combatants and eight relatives of former members of this guerrilla group were murdered between April and July 2017. Colombia’s history is peppered with examples of cases where attempts at achieving peace were frustrated by violence against those who laid down their weapons. There’s more than the end of the war at stake.
Colombian history has several examples of persecution against people who renounced the use of weapons to engage in politics: Guadalupe Salcedo, the former guerrilla in the Llanos (eastern plain) was assassinated on June 6, 1957 after having surrendered his weapons along with his men.
In the words of Álvaro Villarraga, demobilized EPL guerrilla and now director of Acuerdos de la Verdad del Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica (Truth Agreements of the National Historical Memory Center): “In Colombia there is a great historical distrust inherited from the peace pacts and demobilizations of the 50s with the liberal guerrillas and the lack of respect the life of ex-combatants. ”
during the 1980s, Colombia suffered a genocide. After a negotiation between the government of Belisario Betancur and FARC, on 28 May 1985, the political party Unión Patriótica (UP) emerged. UP had major successes in the 1986 elections: seven congressmen, thirteen deputies, eleven mayors and 69 councilmen.
[…] While the UP harvested these electoral successes, a plan to exterminate it was orchestrated. State agents, paramilitaries and drug traffickers rolled out a plan called “El baile rojo” (The red dance). The first murder occurred in Barrancabermeja, Senator Leonardo Posada died after receiving several shots. Some 4,000 members of the UP were victims of this systematic violence.
In the decade of the 80, some 70 ex-combatants who’d benefited from the amnesty law were murdered.
What’s at stake, however, is the commitment to live as civilized people who do not resort to violence to settle their differences. Also, the legitimacy of the State and the implementation of the agreement with the guerrilla groups. In the words of the High Commissioner for Peace, Sergio Jaramillo, reconciliation also involves the “recovery of general trust, of confidence in the institutions which is the final goal that must be reached in order to achieve a stable and lasting peace” .