EL ESPECTADOR, February 25, 2021
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
The Senator has sent a letter to the President in which he criticized the stand the President has taken on the false positives and demands that he ask the pardon of the victims in those cases.
By means of a letter, distributed by the portal Infobae, Senator Iván Cepeda criticized President Iván Duque harshly because of the false positives cases. We remember that last week the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) revealed that the cases of extrajudicial execution by members of the Colombian Army exceeded 6,000 victims, while the official statistics from the Attorney General’s Office show no more than 2,500.
President Duque has not made any official statement about that, except for a veiled reference in criticisms he made of the JEP. With that lack of an official message, Senator Iván Cepeda was ready for battle with the Chief Executive.
“It’s time for you to recognize the victims of crimes by the Colombian government. The least you ought to do, independent of the fact that there are responsibilities that might result from these investigations that would compromise your political mentor, is to beg pardon of the victims in the name of the Colombian government, and stop interfering with the independence of the JEP,” said Cepeda in his letter to Duque.
Along that line, the Senator from the Democratic Pole Party said that the tragedy of the false positives has not resulted in Duque issuing “one single public condemnation, one message of consideration for the victims, and much less, as a Head of State and Commander of Colombia’s Armed Forces ought to have done, a solemn request for pardon from the 6,402 mothers and families that are still weeping for their sons, and who are still calling for truth and justice.”
And along the same line, Iván Cepeda once again pointed out that the majority of the reported cases of false positives took place during the Álvaro Uribe administration. In that same sense he criticized the fact that the former President denied their status as victims, and had refused to admit the existence of an armed conflict in Colombia.
On that point, Cepeda also wrote, “The administration of ex-President Uribe not only opposed the recognition required by applicable regulations, but also arbitrarily refused to categorize crimes that compromised official responsibilities, tried to deny the existence of the armed conflict, existence of the proven connections between government agencies and paramilitary organizations, persevered in trying to eliminate the systematic character of all these practices from collective memory, decorated the violators of human rights, and assigned them to diplomatic posts.
On that particular point, the Senator stated that the Duque administration had used the same formulas in naming a person who was a denier of the armed conflict, Rubén Darío Acevedo, as Director of the National Center for Historical Memory. In the same way, he charged this administration with leading a statistical dispute, which we can see exemplified with the recognition of only 219 victims of the extermination of the Patriotic Union Party, “when entities like the Colombian government itself have recognized at least 4,153 people murdered in that case.”
With the same line of reproaches of President Duque, Iván Cepeda criticized his use of the term “collective homicide” and not “massacre”, and calling the government agents that participated in illegal wiretapping and police violence during protests “rotten apples”. Likewise, he pointed out that the government is pressuring the JEP to refuse to hear the testimony of the paramilitaries.
Last of all, he insisted that President Duque only mentions the guerrillas’ crimes in his speeches, “but he never says one word about those most responsible for the crimes that were committed, for example, under ‘democratic security’”. On that point, it’s worth mentioning that in his recent speeches, the Chief Executive has placed emphasis on the FARC and on his request that they not be permitted to hold public office, but he has never mentioned any cases where government agents were involved. “His constitutional duty is to not discriminate against the victims, nor to demand selective justice for only one sector of those responsible,” concluded Cepeda.