By Lisandro Duque Naranjo, EL ESPECTADOR, April 4, 2021

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

Looking at the chaos of violence that is ravaging several regions in this country—Cauca, Nariño, Chocó, Catatumbo, Antioquia (The Arauca problem results from other geopolitical circumstances, even though this administration is a co-offender in all of it.)—I wonder if the different armed groups—whether Sinaloa, whether different FARC dissidents that are competing among themselves, the ELN, the Caparros, the EPL, the Golfos, the paramilitaries (even though they are spreading into all of the aforementioned)—whether they aren’t generating, in a much shorter period, more dead victims and displacements than, in much more time, the FARC ever did when they and the classic ELN marked out a territorial hegemony in their war against the enemy of both: the Colombian government.

It’s evident that, as they greedily filled the vacuum left by the demobilization of the FARC, the profusion of organizations, small and not ideological—truly a bee sting operation—it makes you think that the war had fewer deadly consequences when there was one main enemy of the government, hierarchical, that controlled the insatiability of the proletariat that flourished in that whole archipelago of rogues and adventurers. We suppose that some portion of the guerrillas (never the quantity claimed by Sr. AUV), cheated by the President’s failure to carry out the Peace Agreement, added themselves to those chaotic armies. But they, the demobilized, are not the only cannon fodder incorporated into these precipitate gangs, they are even the least, because there were always the “raspachines”, who picked the coca leaves and were hounded for that, the coca growers who had been defrauded by the promise of crop substitution, and, well, those workers that were available anywhere anything was going on: the mercenaries. And now all of them are going for the whole business: processing it, taking the stuff to the seaport, the crowning achievement, you might say. What a story, you can keep on with the extortion, that’s peanuts. And by now they’ve changed the southern part of this country into veins of routes and rivers that have left blood all over the map. All of them went there, because the FARC are no longer there to stop them.

The water got dirty after the takeover, in effect, because the government of Juan Manuel Santos, with considerable lack of foresight, believed that it would be enough to sign the Agreement and take the demobilized guerrillas out of their areas of influence. And voilà. As if the FARC had rebelled for their own sake, and there was not a destitute population remaining in those regions, for whom it would be necessary to provide, as they say now, economic sustainability and services like schools, health, and quality of life. All of that was very clumsy, and maybe a real peace policy ought to consist in a better way of guaranteeing that those demobilized people stay where they were, instead of banishing them to unfamiliar places just to sit around, stay in line, and feel a deep need to return. Or if by chance that would be impossible—I can’t see why—at least the barges or the buses in which the ex-guerrillas are headed for uncertain destinations would have met on the way, and going in the opposite direction, with caravans of doctors, judges, officials to issue land titles, teachers, artists, builders, etc.; in short, all the people that we have agreed to recognize as the nerve center of governance. Ah! And the 16 electoral districts, which continue to be messed up. But no: the guerrillas went and left a forgotten Colombia behind, and the only ones that are on the road are soldiers for whom all of this has been too big.

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