A group of counter-guerrilla soldiers failed a test, to drive through a supposed FARC road-block without being detected. So, following the military manual, their superiors “kidnapped” them: they tied their hands and drove them to an isolated place to be interrogated. And the abuse began: the men were punched and hit with sand-filled socks and machetes, they were burnt with iron bars on several parts of their bodies, ants were placed in their ears. Their heads were dunked in water until the soldiers nearly drowned.
Three soldiers received the worst of the abuse: they were taken to latrines where they were told to take off their clothes, and they were made to touch each other’s genitals with their faces.
The ten military officials responsible, all from the batallion Las Piedras in Honda, Tolima, have been asked to withdraw from their posts. They contend they were making the exercise “as close to reality” as possible and such physical and psychological traumas had been approved of, according to the Manual EJC-300-7, dated 2003.
What does that say about what the conflict in Colombia has done to these military officials who still believe it was okay to abuse in such a way? Surely, the violence has permeated all levels of Colombian society and violence is in the country’ s fingerprints; do you agree such cases of violence, of human rights abuses, have been institutionalized into Colombia’s character, by the military, by the government, by the news outlets? I mean, the “good guys” have let themselves react as a direct result of the actions of the “bad guys.” We’ve been corrupted; we’ve been made to play the bad guys’ game. That’s not good.