Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | May 31, 2014

Santos seems to be saying: I will prioritize rights of only a certain strata of children.


In the video above, the president-candidate Juan Manuel Santos asks a group of women, “would you lend your children to the war?”

Santos continues, “Raise your arm those who will lend their kids to the war?”

No one raises their arm. Of course not. Duh! We are people with emotions: We feel pain: You say kids and war in the same sentence, and our heart tickles for the ones we put to bed every night.

Santos then says, “So who will fight this war? We are asking of other mothers to put the dead, other mothers to put the wounded, other mothers to put the mutilated. This is what we are telling campesino mothers, and the most poor mothers, when we vote for war. How easy it is to fight a war with others’ children.”


This is an open question to Juan Manuel Santos.

Juan Manuel Santos, if you feel in your bones that young adults should not be fighting a war, why then has the State you govern not held FARC negotiators in Havana accountable for the recruitment of children in FARC ranks? Children as young as twelve years old, maybe younger.

By not stopping the recruitment of children into the FARC, you are are not telling, but rather forcing campesino mothers, and the most poor mothers, that they must give their children to the war, without a choice. You know the FARC come for the children at gun-point.

Juan Manuel Santos, are you prioritizing the rights of a certain strata of children and not all Colombian children? Are you prioritizing the feelings of one strata of mothers and not all Colombian mothers?

Juan Manuel Santos is certainly diminishing the pain of mothers whose children were taken by armed groups and whose babies became child soldiers — after all, the State he was elected to govern has done nothing to stop the recruitment of children into armed groups.

It is high time to hold the State accountable for upholding the rights of all children, regardless where they live, regardless whose side they are on, so-to-speak. (Are children ever on a side?)

Pain is equal: We feel the same emotions: Her pain is my pain: My pain is your pain: They are all our children.

On the watch of Juan Manuel Santos, the FARC continue recruiting children while talking peace.

Marta Lucia Ramirez — a woman — has joined Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, and has made him promise to set conditions for the FARC to stop the recruitment of children in order for peace talks to continue.

This is excellent news. It would certainly show commitment from the FARC if they stopped using children as sex slaves, cannon fodder, messengers, mules, and human bombs.

Now, here is an open question to Oscar Ivan Zuluaga and Marta Lucia Ramirez.

Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, would a Zuluaga government ratify the United Nations Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child for a Communications Procedure?

This would mean that children or their representative has the right to speak for themselves, in their own words, and file a complaint with the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child if children feel their State is not upholding the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The new law went into effect in April 2014. The law would only apply to Colombia if Colombia ratified the Optional Protocol.

Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, would you ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child for a Communications Procedure the moment you are sworn in as president?

We need to know the commitment to children goes past an election campaign. Because if it’s all talk, and no action, people will again feel cheated. 

And, really, how disgusting it would be to use the rights of children in politics — and yet, is this not exactly what is happening here?







  1. I do not agree with your interpretation of what Mr Santos is saying about children. Independently from the exact words, Mr.Santos also condemned the use of children as a war crime. It has to be understood that he is in the middle of peace negotiations with all sensitivities implied, whilst Mr. Zuluaga has not supported the peace process as a whole!! The problem with analysing subjects separately is that the sense of the political issues at stake can be lost. In this case I really support Mr. santos saying stop the war! I haven’t heard any of the candidates talking so clearly. And I think it deserves support!

    • Support would be well deserved when “saying stop the war!” is not about campaigning for re-election, but about serious considerations. “The sense of the political issues at stake” is lost in re-election gimmicks. This video is just that, a re-election gimmick. For example, where would the thousands of men who enter the army as an alternative to unemployment turn to? What is really at stake is also the thousands of men who make their own decision to become counter-guerrilla soldiers in order to feed their families. The army, sadly, is also seen by many as a way for social mobility. I, too, would love to support Mr. santos “saying stop the war!” if I saw past next Sunday.

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