Every day we see in the news and in our daily lives how conditions regarding Human Rights worsen in rural and urban areas throughout Colombia as a result of inadequate actions and omissions by authorities at the national, departmental, and municipal levels. Although our legal system seeks to guarantee political and administrative decentralization, in reality presidentialism is very strong, so the conditions in terms of citizen security for the guarantee and protection of people’s rights are largely the responsibility of the president of the republic, who as head of state is responsible for the Armed Forces throughout the national territory.
With the purpose of identifying the 5 main causes of the deterioration in Human Rights in the country, this article leaves aside the electoral agreements of the current national government with leaders of criminal organizations to obtain political support in the territories in exchange for votes. and legal immunity, the dynamics of the entry of illegal resources and income not reported to the electoral authorities to guarantee the legitimacy of the financing of the campaign are also left aside, nor is the information widely known in the process for illicit enrichment by the son of the current president of the republic. These facts could explain a lot about the current situation, but we are going to focus on 5 very specific elements, in which the actions and omissions of the national government go against the construction of a country with adequate conditions for respect for human dignity, and economic, political and social development that improve the quality of life of all people.
1. Anti-crime policy of the national government
Much of the electoral success that brought Gustavo Petro to the presidency was the result of his promises to end violence through negotiation with illegal armed groups. He even went so far as to state in an inane way that three months after being president, the ELN would end, something quite far from reality that obviously has not happened a year and 5 months after his government began.
Although there is a public policy to dismantle criminal organizations, which is structured into four components, two of which are quite problematic: dismantling and transformation of the State. It is important to keep in mind that in reality, in none of the negotiations has the dismantling of criminal structures been required as a fundamental point, while the institutions in charge of national security are weakened, which means that this policy is nothing more than a document without government actions aimed at its real materialization.
Paradoxically, in the government that promised to strengthen spaces for dialogue with citizens, institutions, and all social actors, the opinion of the other institutions of the three powers of the State has been left aside, as happened with the criticism of this policy. by the Attorney General’s Office, an entity of vital importance in the justice system that was attacked for its positions, and subsequently ignored, since although it is known that “although the positions of the Superior Council of Criminal Policy can serve as a guide, they are not essential when voting on a bill”, this does not mean that it is okay to nullify the voice of the entities that have some level of responsibility in guaranteeing rights in the country.
2. Reduction of the economic budget for National Defense
The vision of the national government has been far from reality and objectivity, very marked by anachronistic ideologies typical of the communist ideology that at the time was part of the ideological platform of the guerrilla group to which Gustavo Petro belonged. An example of this is that, to direct resources to social programs, which are still not very clear, a reduction of one trillion pesos was presented during 2023 for the nation’s Defense Sector, and this shows as a result that by 2024, “of According to statistics from the Institute of Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz), as of March 23, 31 leaders and human rights defenders, as well as 4 signatories of the Peace Agreement, have been murdered so far this year and presented 27 massacres”.
This is also the result of a loss of operational capacity on the part of the security agencies as a result of the underhanded delivery of territories to illegal armed groups, the directives to lower the arms of members of the public force, and the tolerance with the violent actions of criminal organizations. The response of the institutions to the actions of violent groups has fewer economic resources, which demonstrates less support and political will.
3. Imprecision of the government’s guiding concepts: Human Security and Total Peace
The government’s rhetoric is confusing and does not allow a clear understanding of the concepts with which its policies are based, its objectives, the scope of its policies, or the logic of the government’s behavior. For example, “according to Law 2272 of 2022 (Total Peace Law), human security was conceived to […] protect people, nature and sentient beings, in a way that enhances freedoms human beings and the full realization of the human being through the creation of social, environmental, economic, cultural and Public Force policies that together provide human beings with the cornerstones of survival, livelihoods and dignity”. As can be seen, citizen security, the protection of Human Rights, the fight against illegal armed groups that are financed with illicit economies, are addressed with social and environmental policy actions. What makes national security, citizen security and the protection of Human Rights matters of minor importance or accessories to social and environmental policies.
Practically, it is assumed that, with the improvement of policies unrelated to security, this will improve, which has led other people to warn that “in this field, we must be very careful not to turn social policy into an instrument of the security policy. Social investment is not made in poor sectors because there is violence or crime, but because social conditions need to be improved”. And in the face of criticism of this institutional position that the country gives to criminal structures, the head of the national government states that:
“We proposed, and this is what we propose now, to change the concept towards human security. “Human security is not my invention, it is a global discussion that takes place today in the United Nations” .
In this way, an idea of security proposed by academics, without logical or empirical support, is extrapolated as a guiding criterion for government actions and omissions, as a reference to work on one of the most important government responsibilities: the protection of life and human security. It is well known to all people that transplanting general ideas to countries and societies with particular conditions rarely gives good results.
4. Political and ideological affinity recognized by the national government with the main illegal armed group
It is very clear to Colombian society and the international community that the current national government has a subversive origin, which made its way into the democratic system through peace agreements and the laying down of arms more than 20 years ago. This insurgent origin against the State coincides with an ideological sympathy with the insurgent groups that remain in arms, as Otty Patiño, the head of the peace delegation, stated when beginning the dialogues with the ELN, stating that “not only There is sympathy between the commission, but there is also political sympathy between the ELN delegation and the current government. It is a sympathy that seems obvious, but one confirms it in meetings”.
Hence, the silence of the national government in several cases of impact on the life and integrity of the public force in cases such as the retention of almost 80 uniformed Police officers in the Los Pozos sector, in San Vicente del Caguán, is not surprising ( Caquetá) in 2023, the expulsion of soldiers in areas where armed groups predominate, the multiple murders of public officials, or the intermediation of the national government in the release of the father of Colombian soccer player Luis Diaz, where a car carrying valuables can clearly be seen as a prerequisite to the delivery of the kidnapped person, which would be a successful extortion with the approval or complacency of the national government.
Although the statements of the representative of the national government, Otty Patiño, refer to the ELN, it can be deduced that the same occurs with communist organizations, and perhaps this explains why the actions of the public force focus mainly on attacking the Clan del Gulf, a group made up mainly of pockets of paramilitary groups, with whom there is no type of ideological or political affinity.
5. “Ceasefire” agreements tailored to the interests of criminal groups
As a result of the different negotiations with criminal groups, ceasefires have been used with the purpose of reducing the intensity of violence, however, this has only been a strategic advantage for criminal structures, because they only lay off, or stop The violent actions against the representatives of the security organizations are suspended for short periods, and the arms of the public force are lowered, while the criminal groups continue to carry out all the actions of the illegal economy and criminal income, among which are kidnapping. , extortion, drug trafficking, micro-trafficking, illegal mining, among other activities that directly affect communities in all territories, both rural and urban, this, because “the ceasefire makes preventive military operations difficult and police and reduces the possibilities of repressing illegality”.
In this way, it is considered that “the reversal of the order of priorities in the current process generates advantages for the guerrillas and disadvantages for the State”. Proof that ceasefires are a strategic advantage for criminal groups is that “in court As of March 2023, there were 210 violations of the ceasefire by armed organizations with which the Government seeks to advance peace talks. This indicates that, on average, there are 2.6 violations of the cessation every day, the majority carried out by the dissidents under the command of alias ‘Iván Mordisco’”.
Thus, the strategy of carrying out dialogue to lower the arms of the public force, while nothing changes, and the dismantling of armed groups is systematically delayed, is very favorable to criminal structures that take advantage of the government’s position to strengthen their economic and military structures and their territorial control.
As if that were not enough, efforts were recently directed to create a multi-donor fund with the international community, to finance the criminal structure of the ELN and thus prevent extortionate kidnappings, which becomes an extortion of the international community to stop committing crimes for a few months, without this implying the release of the people kidnapped at the time of the agreements.
The big question that arises after seeing these errors of the national government is whether they really are errors, or are they actions that are part of a short, medium and long-term strategy, to weaken the democratic system and its institutions, no longer to exercise government, but for the seizure of all state powers and territorial control as a fundamental requirement to create a political system like the Venezuelan one, protected by a communist ideology, and with the support of all the criminal structures that can benefit from that type of government.