So, yesterday, I received an email from a friend who told me that what I publish in this blog are lies. Are they? It is hard to make sense of what Colombia is living at this moment.
I was told: “You just excluded yourself from the debate by intentionally disinforming. (Read misinforming; it was written in a moment of passion!) From now on your opinion simply can’t matter because nobody can not be sure (Proof-read: nobody can be sure) whether what you are saying is even true. We might as well be debating the existence of unicorns.”
Indeed, in essence, when we talk about the peace negotiations with the FARC, there is much talk of “unicorns.” Nobody knows what is in fact true.
During the presidential elections, there was much talk about what these dialogues would “magically” achieve, and voters elected a “magician” as president.
Today, President Santos is sworn into office for the second time, and already the magic, for which he was elected merely three months ago, seems obsolete.
Juan Lozano wrote: “Broken is the spell.”
Lozano is a senator and the President of the National Directory of his party, Partido de la U, of which President Santos also forms part.
Lozano wrote: “A month ago, it was a paradise. Governed by the spell of Pékerman and the soccer team, many tragedies appeared having been left behind, and illuminated by the example of soccer where virtue determines ascendance, we celebrated the advent of a new Colombia able to conquer peace stemming from the FARC’s electoral ceasefire and their willingness to recognize victims.
Very idyllic were those days that doña Mechas managed to give an affectionate popular touch to the reelected Juanpa, while Uribe and Santos’s supporters hugged and cried out that there had been a goal scored by Yepes. From the Ministry of Finance they extolled that the fiscal situation was at its best and Santos, seemingly having learned from the errors of his past government, put on the face of one with a penalty, and expressed his intention to correct.
And it was not true. The spell comes apart day by day, and we return to show a face without make-up of a grey and bloody reality.”
Mauricio Vargas, a columnist for El Tiempo, wrote: “Seven weeks after the re-election of Juan Manuel Santos, there jumps to the consciousness that many of the announcements by the government, in times of campaigning, about progress (in peace talks) with the FARC and the ELN, were artificial fireworks.
… it is clear that the sumptuous announcement by the government, days before the voting, which said, ‘finally the FARC recognize their victims,’ was no more than mere electoral blah-blah-blah.”
(Duh! Of course it was! See: Week before elections, FARC and government announce agreement on illegal drugs.)
Vargas continued: “ … The truth is that the FARC are in the attack: against policemen, soldiers, against the civilian population and even against nature …”
Vargas wrote “Timochenko is afraid.”
Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry, alias Timochenko and alias Timoleón Jiménez, is the FARC’s highest in command. The U.S. State Department offers a US $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest/conviction on charges of drug trafficking.
Vargas argued the FARC leaders are afraid of being extradited to the U.S. on drug charges. Vargas pointed out the recent capture in Uraba of Venezuelan Chavista General Hugo Carvajal, who was a narco-ally of the FARC, is the reason for their fear.
See: International law trumps transitional laws.
A realist would be led to think that the FARC are again using the peace talks in Havana to regroup, in their strategic “combination of all forms of struggle,” in the way they did during the peace talks in El Caguan. The FARC have proven to be very patient in that they set themselves plans decades ahead, and they wait for the right time to carry them out.
If the FARC were serious about peace, why the attacks to civilians’ water supply and to the environment? Why the attacks to infrastructure which left four thousand residents of Buenaventura without electricity?
Further, Human Rights Watch recently reported, “FARC guerrillas are committing widespread abuses with impunity in the mostly Afro-Colombian city of Tumaco and its surrounding rural areas.” The abuses included killings, disappearances, kidnapping, torture, forced displacement, attempted forced recruitment, planting landmines, extortion, and death threats against community leaders. Does this sound like the behavior of a group who wants peace?
HRW said paramilitary successor groups and members of the security forces are also involved in the violence.
I want peace. I want the peace talks to succeed. I also want to believe in the unicorns. Who doesn’t?
I want pixie dust. I want a genie to grant my wishes.
The email from my friend said I was engaging in war propaganda through this blog.
His words point to another “it” about Colombia — any voice that someone does not like, or agree with, tends to be attacked. Sadly, such words contribute to self-censure, to less debate, and less voices being heard. This is important to note as victims come forward seeking redemption, looking for their voices to be heard so they may heal.
What victims say may not be what you want to hear. Dario Monsalve, the archbishop of Cali, said, “Alvaro Uribe could say he is a victim.” And he is: His father was killed by the FARC in 1983.
Lastly, the email from my friend said I have no journalistic ethics; and so I want to make clear: what you read here is a blog, it’s a voice.
As Joan Didion wrote, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” Didion’s words capture the essence of why I began this blog, and why I keep up this blog.
These days, this blog is here to make sense of “unicorns,” “spells,” “magic.”