On November 6, 1985, one of the most violent events occurred in the city of Bogotá, with the M-19 and the National Army as protagonists. . The capture and retake of the Palace of Justice left nearly 100 people dead and 11 missing
President Gustavo Petro
Decreed by Law 1056 of 2006, every year on November 6 the “National Day of the Right to Life” is commemorated, dedicated to honor the memory of magistrates, public servants, civilians and victims in general of the holocaust of the Palace of Justice, an event carried out by the guerrilla of the M-19 and later by the National Army, who clashed with blood and fire and deployed their weapons power on the building that was located a few meters from the Casa de Nariño.
This year a particular event occurred and that is that the President of the Republic attended the Eucharist in homage to the victims, the particular thing here is that Gustavo Petro belonged to the urban guerrilla of the M-19, although on multiple occasions the head of state has indicated that while the unfortunate event occurred on November 6, 1985, he was under the power of the authorities in the North Canton being tortured, the presence of a former member of the M-19 generated various sensations, from rejection by some sectors, to conciliation and transition to peace by others.
Likewise, Vice President Francia Márquez was present at the religious celebration that began at 11:30 in the morning at the Primate Cathedral of Bogotá. It should also be remembered that a plaque was placed in the Palace of Justice in homage to the victims with the phrase “Let the fire cease!”, said by Judge Alfonso Reyes Echandía when the National Army was leading the violent retakes the Palace.
In the event in which the High Courts participated, the president of the Constitutional Court, Cristina Pardo Schlesinger, indicated: “The events at the Palace left great lessons. It is necessary that those of us who were spectators of these horrific events bring them to mind and do everything possible so that it does not happen again”.The Supreme Court of Justice published a resolution declaring the crucifix of this entity, which survived the Takeover of the Palace of Justice by the guerrillas, to be a “cultural asset” of the M-19 and its subsequent recovery at the hands of the National Army in a “blood and fire” operation that resulted in the destruction of the building.
According to the arguments expressed by the Court in its resolution, its importance as a symbol to remember the victims of the episode stands out more than its religious character:
“The Directorate of Heritage and Memory identified that the movable property called Christ of the Palace of Justice (…), beyond its value as a relic, is a testimony of the events that occurred in the so-called holocaust of the Palace of Justice that occurred on 6 and November 7, 1985, since it shows the traces of horror, of excessive violence; being also evidence of overcoming, reconciliation and survival of the institutions of the State. More than a religious connotation, the Christ is a symbol that has acquired a sense of memory as a tribute to the victims of the holocaust of the Palace of Justice. These values give it a historical, aesthetic and symbolic importance in the field of historical memory of the conflict in Colombia”.
The norm also establishes that its care and maintenance must be in accordance with what it represents in the eyes of the Court and, by extension, for the country in terms of establishing a historical memory around the Taking of the Palace of Justice, also called “Operation Antonio Nariño for the Rights of Man” by the guerrilla group:
“Carry out adequate and periodic maintenance of the property in order to ensure its conservation. Ensure that the property has a use that does not represent a risk or limitation for its conservation or is detrimental to its values. Establish mechanisms or determinants that allow the recovery and sustainability of the asset. Request the authorization of intervention before the competent authority that has made the declaration in case the asset presents direct damages, that is, when interventions that imply a substantial modification are required”.
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