Colombian Truth Commission Report: Live Updates

Credit…Federico Rios for The New York Times

BOGOTá, Colombia – The head of Colombia’s national truth commission thanked the many victims of the country’s decades of internal violence for “overcoming fear” to tell their stories to the panel that the newspaper reported. The long-awaited report on the fighting will be released on Tuesday.

At the presentation for the release of the report, the head of the commission, Father Francisco de Roux, spoke at length about the often painful work, which lasted nearly four years and involved more than 14,000 individual interviews. individuals and groups.

The commission’s report is intended to be the most comprehensive account of Colombia’s long and brutal internal conflict, lasting at least 58 years, involving almost every sector of Colombian society, and causing cost hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

The report, which was overseen by a group of 11 commissioners, was the product of a 2016 peace agreement between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and the government. At the ceremony marking the release of the report on Tuesday, the commissioners sat on the stage of a theater in Bogotá, some wearing shirts and reading, “There is a future if there is truth.”

The Trustees were instructed not only to investigate human rights violations by all parties between 1958 and 2016, but also to write an extensive history of how the conflict affected social rights, economic, political, cultural and environmental – and then make recommendations that will put the country on the path to lasting peace.

The committee was also asked to examine factors that led to the conflict, including the proliferation of paramilitary groups and the rapid growth of what has become an almighty cocaine industry.

The Colombian conflict began as a war between the government and the FARC, the country’s largest rebel group, but eventually evolved into a complex war that included both paramilitary groups and the US government, provided billions of dollars in aid to Colombians to help them. against the uprising and the drug trade that financed it.

The conflict left the country with scar remains unhealed – an estimated 260,000 people have been killed, most of them civilians, and more than five million people have been forced from their homes due to the violence.

The report was presented during a ceremony at a theater in the capital named for Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, a presidential candidate assassinated in 1948 largely seen as the precursor to conflict with the FARC. .

The investigation is expected to be highly critical of the US role in the war. Today, despite more than 20 years of US efforts to eradicate the cocaine trade in Colombia, the drug’s base plant, coca leaves, is still being grown at a record rate, according to US data.

The report comes at a pivotal time in Colombia. Just this month, the country elected its first leftist presidentGustavo Petro.

Mr. Petro has campaigned on issues of social and economic justice and inclusion – topics also driven by the peace agreement and the transitional justice process that accompanies it. He now has to face epic quest delivers on its promises amid a deeply divided society and an economy plagued by high inflation, large deficits and chronic poverty.

Mr. Petro and Vice President-elect Francia Márquez attended the announcement ceremony. The outgoing president, Iván Duque, a conservative who campaigned against the peace deal, did not.

Father de Roux told the audience that he believed Petro would implement the recommendations of the report.

Mr. Petro then took the stage and the two shook hands, and Father de Roux handed the president-elect a report. The sanity of the moment stands in stark contrast to Petro’s last major public appearance, when he accepted the presidency to thundering applause.

Mr. Petro told the audience he believed the report could help “put an end to the cycles of violence” that the country has suffered for generations, but that can only happen if the report Foxes must not be used as a weapon of revenge. Societies will always have conflict, he said, “but conflict cannot mean death.”

The report is not of a judicial nature, and the commission will not issue a judgment or penalty. That process is being done by another agency, Special Jurisdiction for Peacethat is also created by the peace agreement.

Instead, truth commission means “establishing moral and political responsibilities,” according to the committee’s documents, while attempting to establish a common truth and “lay the groundwork for transitions.” necessary changes to make peace possible.”

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