As my work is focused in Soacha, Colombia, I feel that it is important to update you all on a very important event in the history of the people here.
In late 2008, 11 young men from Soacha were lured by promises of secure, high-paying jobs in the department of Norte de Santander. These promises were made by colonels of the Colombian military who took these boys to the region and ruthlessly killed them. Why would the Colombian military do this to citizens?
Simple...increase the body count.
What the military did to justify these murders was dress the bodies in fatigues that guerrillas would wear and claim they were killing the enemy, in order to impress superiors and to gain money for their brigade. This case is not isolated though, and has occured in other regions of Colombia. It is referred to here as ¨falsos positivos.¨ The government, including the then Secretary of Defense, Juan Manuel Santos (who is the president-elect), pushed itself away from the scandel until President Uribe was forced to acknowledge the human rights abuses committed by the military in order to fight the guerrillas. This has been attributed to what has been called the ¨body count mentality¨of the military. In order to look like they are successful in this battle, the military compromises lives of normal citizens who have been shown to have no connection to the guerrillas, paramilitaries, or drug trade. Unfortunately this idea has been imbedded in the nature of the military for decades. The history of falsos positivos is a long and painful story which will continue for some time.
If you have some time, I recommend watching these videos. They present a fuller picture of the issue and where I have been focusing my research.
Palabra del dia: ¨Mentiras¨--lies. El gobierno dice mentiras.