While one arm of the extreme right conspires in Congress, in the high Courts and in the big media corporations, against the agreements signed with the FARC for a political solution to the conflict; the other arm, that of the military extreme right, intensifies persecution against leaders of social protest and the legal left. With this reactionary pincer movement they hope to stifle the efforts of millions of Colombian women and men for peace.
The left-wing movement The Patriotic March has been in existence for 5 years, during which it has suffered the murder of about 130 of its activists, and 70 of them have been killed this year. An increase which demonstrates systematic extermination with a political aim all over the country, despite which the Attorney General continues to assert that they are “individual cases” which “do not show a common pattern” and that supposedly “they are not connected”.
It looks as if they want to reach another 5,000 murders, as in the genocide perpetrated against the martyred Patriotic Union, while asserting – as they still claim 30 years after it occurred – that “there was no systematic national plan” against that left-wing organization, and neither was there against other contemporary movements such as the Popular Front and To Struggle.
The strategy is still the same: to murder and to hide their responsibility, saying that the culprits are “dark forces”; thus they hide the counter-insurgency strategy of eliminating left-wing opponents and social activism. This is the strategy they implement today with public forces carrying out covert operations and para-state forces which obey the call for “civic resistance” against the present agreements for a political solution.
Political persecution against alternative and left-wing leaders includes murders, threats and assaults carried out in a covert manner; these complement the open persecution carried out by the Attorney General’s office by imprisoning social and left-wing activists, presenting them as “accomplices of subversion” and accusing them of the crime of rebellion. By means of these Judicial “False Positives”, there are today thousands of activists in jail, a greater number than the actual guerrilla fighters imprisoned who today number only about 2,000. All of them are political prisoners, but the government denies their existence, just as it denies that there is a political genocide under way against alternative and left-wing forces.
“The High Commissioner notes that Human Rights Defenders are imprisoned for years and then released for lack of evidence”, states the 2015 UN Human Rights Report.
The regime intensifies political persecution while the government is signing agreements for a political solution with the FARC and promises “to remove violence from the contest for power”, as is stated in point 5 of the Agenda for negotiation signed with the National Liberation Army. So who should Colombian society, so anxious for peace, believe: the government’s peaceful words or the regime’s warlike deeds?
Those who are promoting the peace agreements coexist in the governmental coalition with those who drive political persecution; does not the Attorney General belong to the same political party as the present Colombian Vice-President?
Colombian society demands recognition of responsibility for advancing or opposing the current search for a political solution from each of the forces which compose the governing elite, whether or not they are part of the present governing coalition. And they cannot hide their responsibility even if they adopt the method of covert operations, because sooner or later the truth will be known.
It is in the mobilization of the majority of Colombian men and women who are seeking a political solution to the conflict and a just peace based on truth that the country’s future lies, in this historic juncture which we face.