From the National Front to indiscriminate massacres: how Colombia fell into barbarism: Introduction to 'You will not kill'

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“Many, to please tyrants, for a handful of coins, or for bribery or bribery, are betraying and spilling the blood of their brothers”: Emiliano Zapata

By

Sergio Ramírez

From the National Front to indiscriminate massacres: how Colombia fell into barbarism: Introduction to ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ /></p><p>The first chapter of the Final Report of the Truth Commission makes a historical account of the barbarism caused by the internal armed conflict; from the Thousand Days War to the armed struggle with the guerrillas, paramilitaries and drug cartels. PHOTO: Infobae (Jesús Avilés)</p><p class=Freedom, truth, equality, civilization, religion, institutions, order, progress, God, the defense of the Constitution, the law and even peace. The justifications of the sides to start and maintain an armed conflict are multiple, diverse and, clearly, debatable. However, regardless of whether or not there could be a “just” war, it is important to try to understand how and why the conflict that has affected the country for the last 60 years began and worsened.

On May 10, 1957, the dictatorship of Gustavo Rojas Pinilla ended, forced to resign due to a mixture of social protests and political pressure led by traditional parties. After the installation of a military junta, those same traditional parties put into practice the so-called Benidorm agreement (which they had signed in 1956), endorsed by means of the Sitges pact.

In December 1957, Colombians approved, by means of a plebiscite, a proposal that allowed the Liberal and Conservative parties to share public corporations and on May 4, 1958, Carlos Lleras won the elections, becoming the first president of the National Front.

This political coalition, which was in force between 1958 and 1974, considered the division between the so-called Bipartisan Violence and the internal armed conflict, is the starting point of a new chapter of the report of the Truth Commission, ‘You shall not kill. Historical account of the armed conflict', by commissioner Marta Ruiz, who throughout more than 500 pages seeks to provide clues to understand the causes of the conflict, the political violence and some of the circumstances that could explain its degradation throughout of the years.

Massacres, displacements, dirty war, disappearances, extrajudicial executions, perhaps one of the most important findings in this part of the report is that the largest number of victims of the war over the years have been civilians and non-combatants, in a loop of different types of violence that made Colombians think that there could be something wrong with the national DNA that made Colombia a violent country in itself, something that the report rejects. “Recognizing that violence responds to multiple factors and not to the nature of our society allows us to look at the past, examine ourselves, offer a context and act for the future.”

To do this accounts of victims, former state officials and different actors of the armed conflict are gathered, mostly collected by the late commissioner Alfredo Molano Bravo.

From the consolidation of the guerrillas in the late 1970s, the democratic processes and drug violence in the 1980s, including Belisario Betancourt's peace process, the illusion of the Constitution and the frustration of the recrudescence of new violence in the 1980s and 1990s, including paramilitary groups, and the attempts at dialogue during the government of Andrés Pastrana.

“The Truth Commissionis not constructing a history of violence in Colombia, but carrying out an exercise to clarify what happened during the insurgent-counterinsurgent armed conflict, between 1958 and 2016″

No it's just about learning about war, also about peace and the different dialogues and processes that have been carried out with insurgent movements, paramilitary groups and even drug gangs over the last decades.

In the end, the great conclusion is that, regardless of the justifications, trying to eliminate each other among brothers has been perhaps the greatest nonsense in national history and this is an opportunity to correct the path. After so many attempts, peace is still under construction and, despite multiple forms of violence or even because of it, Colombian democracy has been consolidating.

“No primer of any political party can be placed next to the Final Report”: Alfredo Molano Jimeno