By Carlos Alberto Ruiz, a jurist
(Translated by Emily Ellis, a CSN Volunteer Translator, and edited by Steve Cagan, a CSN Volunteer Editor)
Piedad Córdoba has been given a disciplinary, not a criminal, punishment by the Inspector General of the country. An agency of the Colombian government in charge of watching public activity, they accused her of “collaborating and advising the guerillas,” of “trying to divide national unity,” of “instigating the guerillas to be hostile to the political parties,” of “using the help of other countries’ governments to look for a new government in Colombia,” and of “betraying the country and supporting subversion.”
Piedad is a Senator of the Liberal Party, one of the historic political formations dominated by a strong oligarchy that has taken advantage of all means to stay in power. But there she represents genuine liberal sentiment of the left of that group, a party that lost its position fifteen years ago. Precisely at that time, Piedad Cordoba didn’t run to find godfathers in the mafias but took on the responsibility of committing the sin one pays for dearly in Colombia: dreaming of transforming, betting on honor and being with those below, the very cause for which thousands of men and women have fallen into a state of clear revolt, with or without arms, in a nation that is about to construct itself and in whose future she is indispensable.
She is a women made on the bridge of institutional and popular politics, with a dissident, critical and unsubmissive character. She supports women, the LGBT community, the black movement, the indigenous and the poor. She is a supporter of human rights, people’s rights, personal and collective liberation; that is, she comes out against injustice, exclusion, and oppression. Therefore, her struggle is a cry for humanity present and absent and for building with the other, with otherness. That’s her ethic. That’s why she defends the right to be, to be a limit to shame. Consequently, whether she says so or not, and she has sometimes made it public and evident, she is the standard bearer for thinking of rebellion, revolt, revolution, for recognizing it as a probable alternative, when other alternatives, other roads in history have been mined, when they have been closed; when the only thing there is in them is to prepare for humiliation, to be ambushed to death.
She has just been ambushed. The senator who has been kidnapped and attacked by paramilitaries and the military, the woman who defends peace with justice, who daily suffers death threats and despicable offenses, published by communications media of a powerful class that hates her with a passion; the black woman who had to go into exile, the non-conservative woman who has faced attacks against herself and her family, such as systematic spying; the woman who defends sexual and reproductive rights, whose daughter was kidnapped for years; the woman who defends abortion, and is accused by a fanatical anti-abortionist; the same woman who went to the jungle to talk with the guerillas, to ask for and gain the liberation of those detained by the insurgency, is now punished by a would-be lawyer who accepted as evidence against her what any law student knows does not work. That’s why she denounced him, with proof, as a liar. That’s why the liar sanctions her, without valid proof. While the real allies of the Inspector General-prevaricator, who have given orders to kill countrymen with a chainsaws, are free and fat.
The friend of Commanders Fidel and Chávez, the leftist woman who enjoys the respect of thousands of progressives around the world, the woman of the 21st century who embodies the value of emancipation of the centuries, that strong men and sexist barons, from a political class that governs a country that one feels ashamed of, have never learned. A country with more than 27 million poor and homeless; with looting at the hands of companies and activities that pillage and kill without stopping.
Removed from office by the Inspector General for eighteen years, she wouldn’t be able to hold a public job in that time. In a country where politicians like Uribe get to positions like the Presidency by soaring from massacre to massacre. Or like Juan Manual Santos, Minister of War during the time of thousands of forced disappearances and executions of poor young people (“the so-called false-positives”), as well as illegal operations in neighboring countries and other international crimes.
Where hundreds of politicians have filled their pockets within the geometry of boundless corruption, Piedad pays with what she has—with her name and her moral heritage. That’s why she is ambushed by an Inspector General of the extreme right (supported by ex-leftist Gustavo Petro in his election) who, beyond burning leftist books or condemning liberal positions, serves in the most reactionary ranks of Catholicism, bordering on the ridiculous. He is merely a character whose visceral reply has served a purpose of the state. Substituting the attack for the physical elimination of Piedad, removing her from any kind of public office to make her more defenseless, to isolate her and, by other tricks, to eliminate what she represents for the future of the country. Maybe this isn’t anything more than a boomerang to them.
This, which is written in the pain of a country and of humanity produced by this news, and other news that come from the grave, by the fetidness of the executioners and the filth of those who acclaim them; this that is barely put together in the search for a response to the baseness, by one more of the privileged witnesses who have known an exceptional leader, both for her courage, her forcefulness, her qualities, and for coming out in a time of traders in which she has decided not to sell herself. This forces us to request those who defend the law in favor of justice, to come out in favor of investigating the Inquisitor Alejandro Ordóñez—the disgusting fascist Inspector General—, his court and his intentions.
An international committee should be set up now to study this breach of public duty, to pressure and demand responsibility from the Inspector General, to accuse him of this prevarication that has more than a domestic scope. With this ambush of a worthy woman, they are attacking values common to humanity, values that Piedad works for with honesty: peace, justice, equality, liberty, human rights and the right to struggle.
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