By Rafael Gutierrez Sonano, VANGUARDIA, June 11, 2020

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The bad things have continued because criminal law has not been applied in a way that could deter the criminals. They know that sooner or later they will be the beneficiaries of a mockery of punishment that they have no need to fear.

Among so many tragic stories and abominable crimes that have beset Colombia, experienced and suffered by my generation for decades, perhaps one more murder that appeared in an edition of the magazine SEMANA will be of little interest to society, now that our sensibilities are worn out and the average person is anesthetized in the face of so much barbarism. It concerns the murder of Carlos Aldairo Arenas “Cejas”, a humble, solitary, unprotected campesino guardian who defended the Parque de los Nevados (Snow-Capped Mountain Park). The park is one of the last refuges of the condor, our national insignia bird. At the modest place where he lived and rested, 4,000 meters in altitude, a group of FARC dissidents dragged him out—apparently some of them have already been captured—and they killed him. They did it so that they could take over some areas in Tolima to set up encampments for war and continue their insatiable terror machine that nothing (no laws) and nobody (no authorities) would stop.

If in earlier years Arenas’ work as tour guide and leader of a beautiful ecological effort was well known by the community in these far-away territories of national geography, in addition to the risks he took on, heading off those who would cut down the forests in the area of the páramo, why did they not prevent the murder? I was moved by this tragic event, which only came to light when a criminal was apprehended who had belonged to that guerrilla group for a long time, and it appeared that he had been involved in this distressing event. This series of bad events has continued because criminal law has not been administered in a way that would deter the criminals. They know that sooner or later they will be beneficiaries of a mockery of punishment, which they have no reason to fear. Meanwhile the environment, the natural paradises, rivers, and streams of our nation continue unprotected, thoughtlessly devastated, without mourners, forgetful of the old adage that teaches: God will always forgive, people will sometimes forgive, but nature never forgives.

That was the sad fate of Carlos Aldairo in his frustrated crusade for nature throughout his life, which his murderers would not forgive. Worse than a crime, it was a grievous mistake.

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