El Tiempo, December 30, 2020
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
2021 will pass into the history books as one of the years in which Colombia confronted some of the most painful truths of its past.
It will be the last year of functioning of the Commission for the Investigation of the Truth, an entity created under the Peace Agreement to follow the footprints of what was behind the principal events of the armed conflict in this country. In November it will deliver a final report, explaining its findings.
The President of the Commission, the priest, Francisco de Roux, published an end of the year message this Wednesday. In his message, he urges the illegal armed groups to lay down their weapons. He makes special mention of the ELN and the FARC dissidents.
In addition, Fr. De Roux begs the government to “undertake the totality of the peace and surround the Integral System of Justice, Truth, Reparation, and No Repetition (SIVJRNR) with moral and political protection. The System is made up of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the Truth Commission, and the Unit for the Search of Persons Who Have Disappeared.
“The tragedy of the conflict imprisons the truth of the hatred, caused by force and greed, that has broken us as a human community, and it calls on us to change.”
The priest also proposed “that we do not reverse the steps taken by the Armed Forces when they tried to change the targeting of the war into an Army in the service of peace, in spite of the fact there are still guerrillas and criminal groups.”
Truth Commission Tweet:
“That the lies and the fears collapse in the New Year, and let’s get going, starting with the truth, on a future of hope, reconciliation, and brotherhood, in which we redeem the dignity that we deserve as people of Colombia.” @FranciscoDeRoux
Read the complete message from Fr. Francisco de Roux:
“From meeting with thousands of survivors of Colombia’s armed conflict, who carry the memory of kidnappings and false positives; from the pain of the soldiers, police, and former guerrillas now without their legs; from destroyed villages, displaced campesinos, Afro-Colombians, and indigenous people deprived of their land; abused women, children driven to kill themselves, families searching for the disappeared, and thousands who have fled into exile; and also from the pain left by the Covid; the Truth Commission extends its most sincere embrace.
The tragedy of the conflict imprisons the truth about the hatred, caused by force and greed, that has broken us as a human community and calls on us to change. All of us have to build Colombia, out of our cultural, ethnic, political, gender and generational differences, or there will never be a peaceful future for anybody.
We invite you to look straight at where we were wrong when we drenched the richness of humanity and the ecology that we have in blood and in revenge. We were wrong when we made it natural to live in the midst of war, of lies, of corruption, of injustice, and of cocaine.
“60 years of war have made it clear that armed confrontation does not lead to social revolution, but rather it causes suffering and terror.”
We urge, from the victims’ cries on every side, that the ELN, the dissidents from the FARC, and the Second Marquetalía of Iván Márquez, Romaña, and Santrich lay down their weapons. Sixty years of war have made it clear that armed confrontation does not lead to social revolution, but rather it causes suffering and terror to a people that is crying out, “Stop the war, stop it on every side, stop it now.”
We beg the government not to stop lending a really effective helping hand of peace to the insurgents, because we do not lose hope for the human being that is in them. We also beg that they go beyond the serious implementation of the PDET (Plans for Territorial Development), and undertake the totality of the peace and of the integrated rural reform, and encircle with political and moral protection the agencies in the System of Truth, Justice, Reparations, and No Repetition, and particularly the demanding tasks of the JEP.
We invite the agencies to place themselves at the service of life and of the human nobility of every person, the inclusion of every person, with no borders. We propose a dialog to transform our security. And not going back on the steps taken by the Armed Forces when they tried to change the targeting of the war into an Army at the service of peace, in spite of the fact that guerrillas and criminal groups still exist.
“We urge the politicians that are campaigning to leave off the marketing of votes and to have the courage to listen, and to work together to see that there will never be a repetition of the tragedy.”
We invite all to the security provided by the confidence that citizens believe in one another and trust their institutions. When everybody glorifies weaponry everywhere, that produces suspicion and provokes war; it gives no security.
We urge the politicians that are campaigning to leave off the marketing of votes and to have the courage to listen, and to work together to see that there will never be a repetition of the tragedy, so that the intolerable is not permitted any longer.
We urge that in the New Year the lies and the fears will end, and that we undertake, beginning with the truth, a future of hope, reconciliation, and brotherhood, rescuing the dignity that we deserve as the people of Colombia.”