Colombia: The Fight for Peace
In 2016, a peace deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels was supposed to end one of the world’s longest civil wars. But peace today remains elusive, as the right-wing government of Ivan Duque has been accused of refusing to honour the agreement. With hundreds of social activists murdered since in the past three years, the fight for peace still continues.
redfish travelled to Colombia to speak with members of parliament, human rights defenders, as well families of victims of the war that lasted over half a century who are still fighting for justice today.
Victoria Sandino, a member of FARC who today sits in Colombia’s Parliament, told redfish about the precarious nature of the peace deal: “Let's say that the agreement has a crisis of implementation precisely because this government does not want to fulfill the Colombian State’s duty. This is an agreement we made with the Colombian State, so all governments are obligated to comply with the agreement. This government doesn’t want to comply.“
Carmenza Gomez lost two of her sons to the war. Recalling the response of the government to the death of her first son, she said: “I told him I’d come to collect my son Víctor Fernando’s body and he said: ‘he died in combat.’ I said, ‘what do you mean? ’He said, ‘yes, the army killed him.’ I said, ‘but he wasn’t a guerrilla or a soldier.’ I’ve been asked if I’d forgive the people that killed my son. No, no, no.They took a part of, if not all of, my life. Not just mine, but of all my family.”
The southwestern region of Cauca has seen the highest number of social leaders murdered in recent years. Fernelly Acosta, a community coordinator in Kitek Kiwi, recalls the horrors of the 2001 Naya massacre in which 120 people were killed by a right-wing paramilitary group, aided by the Colombian army: “They killed children, young people, pensioners. There are children who had their parents killed in front of them. People had their throats cut and were tortured. These are very painful crimes and to this day we are still asking for the truth.”