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Monday, 05 August 2013 00:00

05-08-2013: Historical memory in Colombia

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The historical responsibility of violence

This morning, 5th of August 2013, commander Pablo Catatumbo read a communiqu? written by the Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP, called ?the historical responsibility of violence?. In Colombia there has been going on a polemic discussion about the victims theme. The Colombian State and their mass media have carried out huge campaigns to convince Colombia and the world of the fact that the guerrilla is victimizer of the conflict.

The FARC-EP, on the contrary, have insisted on the necessity of an in-depth and independent analysis of the causes of the conflict, the reasons of the existence of the guerrilla forces in the country, to establish responsibilities. They claim that

?The State, by action or omission, is responsible for what happened during

the conflict?.

It?s important to understand the reasons for the insurgency to make these claims, yet a lot of people think (not least for media manipulation) that the FARC-EP are trying to elude responsibilities of their actions, which is a quite cursory analysis. In a recent interview, commander Pablo Catatumbo stated:

?We have made mistakes, some serious, indeed. But whatever official propaganda says, aggression to the population has never been a strategy of the FARC. I have no problem in saying to a woman or a family: "I feel sorry about the pain we have caused with the death of your loved one." But this is much more complex?.

And that?s the heart of the matter. State terrorism in Colombia has been a carefully mapped policy, which forced 48 peasants to take up the arms in 1964.? They didn?t do it for fun, they didn?t do it because they were violent by nature, they did it because State terrorism forced them to do so. President Juan Manuel Santos, in recent declarations at the Constitutional Court, recognized the responsibility of the State, by action or omission, in the conflict, which is an important statement to start with.

In today?s document, the FARC-EP further state that it?s crucial to make the necessary institutional changes, like the reforms on Justice, in order to make the judicial branch independent again from the executive branch. If we want to (?)

?move away from State terrorism to start the construction of real democracy, both parts should submit to the Constitution???

The Colombian Constitution, in its article 22 says that: Peace is a compulsory right and duty. The fact that the Colombian State refused to accept a bilateral ceasefire indicates that the State is acting in contravention of the Constitution.

Finally, the FARC-EP allude to the victims theme. Observing the attitude of the mass media, which are ?nurturing hatred?, the issue of victims should be

?assumed with wisdom, realism and regard for truth, (that`s why) we propose the immediate creation of the Committee, consisting of national and international members, to study the history of the conflict, from the beginning of violence, to prepare the material necessary to evacuate the fifth point of the Agenda, which refers to victims (?)?

After the reading of the document, a journalist asked about the issue of the recruitment of children in the conflict; Pablo Catatumbo responded that that would be precisely one of the tasks of the committee the FARC-EP propose: the reconstruction of historical memory and the search for truth.

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