Firing military officers over the case of the disappeared of Soacha is a decision made too late: Petro

(Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN volunteer translator)

Bogotá, October 29, 2008
Since September of 2006, Senator Gustavo Petro has been warning about the errors in the system for measuring the efficiency of the military, expressed in losses [by the other side -SC ], and that this modality for grading them is generating “false positives.”
On September 19, 2006, in a debate in the First Commission of the Senate, Petro said to the head of the military portfolio that the construction of a promotion system within the military called “positive results, is a mechanism I would call a little ‘yuppie’ for measuring efficiency.”
At that time Senator Petro expressed to Minister Juan Manuel Santos that “according to this modality for promotion in rank, the ten last Army or Police officer, who have the worst results measured in casualties inflicted on the groups on the edge of the law, leave their military career,” and added that this policy of benefits to military officers for the deaths in combat reported “is stimulating false positives.”
Petro told the minister that he had to stop this policy of military promotions because it was what was causing the murder of Colombian citizens.
Today Senator Petro believes that “The solution that was taken is a late decision, it does not solve the fundamental topic, which is to change the policy of military promotions in Colombia, and now nobody will bring back to life the hundreds of thousands of citizens murdered by the very State,” said the Senator from the Polo Democrático [the Democratic Pole, an opposition political party—SC], and he added that what he is talking about is “a crime against humanity committed by the government of President Uribe and by public functionaries of the State.”
Petro said that in this case the Minister of defense knew about this because since September 19, 2006, he had presented hundreds of cases and had affirmed that this “systematic situation of murders of civilians” was coming from a policy created in the Ministry of Defense that kicks out of the military “those who produce the fewest casualties,” and added that “It’s a kind of benefit for producing deaths.”
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