EL ESPECTADOR, July 2, 2022


(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The Truth Commission’s Report was received with hostility by a sector of Colombia’s political class. That was to be expected; we even predicted in an editorial that this is the challenge of remembering things in the heat of the moment, but it’s still lamentable. Especially because between the speech by Fr. Francisco de Roux, Director of the Commission, and the public policy recommendations that the Commission made, there is a road map that, with sufficient political support, could become reality and help build a more inclusive country. If we wanted to carry out an act of reparation to the victims of the armed conflict, we would do well to stop arguing about the document, and do a better job of implementing the proposals. We hope that the incoming administration of the President-Elect, Gustavo Petro, carries out the actions promised in the expression of good will that he gave last Tuesday.

Along with the testimonies that were collected, which are doubtless the most powerful and painful support of the judicious work of the Truth Commission, they provide a series of recommendations that should be implemented. Let’s not do what we have done so many times in Colombia: call together groups of experts to propose solutions that are then ignored.

The Truth Commission makes several proposals. With regard to drug trafficking, “the Commission concluded that it’s time to go forward with a definitive commitment to overcoming prohibitionism.” In order to arrive at what was agreed upon in Havana, they propose creating a Ministry of Peace and Reconciliation. They also propose reforming the system for naming the Attorney General, in order to guarantee the independence of that office, “using criteria of merit and recognition of professional experience, gender equality, publicity, and transparency.” With the objective of guarantee the rights of the victims, they recommend limiting extradition, something with which the President-Elect himself has said he agrees, but this will need the cooperation of the United States.  Other measures are making the Museum of Memory independent and autonomous, complying with the points related to agriculture in the Agreement so as to reverse the rates of concentration of land ownership, reform our politics, and see that the government forcefully supports peaceful protests.

What’s interesting is that all of these proposed measures are either part of the Havana Agreement, or are the logical conclusions that would result from analyzing the armed conflict and its roots. It’s about reforms that are ambitious and, at the same time, workable, if and when the Congress and the administration are receptive. After the Commission interviewed more than 30,000 people, and did the titanic work of collecting the information, we can’t fail to take advantage of this historic opportunity.

It’s not for nothing that the Commission launched the Report with the slogan “We have a Future if we have the Truth”. Now that we have an integrated vision of the conflict and of the recent past, the remaining challenge is to invent the Colombia of the future. Let’s not leave those recommendations on the table.

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