Conflicts & War

In search of truth, reconciliation in Colombia

By Ovidio Castro Medina

Bogotá, Nov 21 (EFE).- The horrors of war remain a heavy burden for victims across Colombia, millions of stories that must be pieced together in the quest for reconciliation and truth.

In every corner of the country, people campaign to absolve the names of family members they say were used as instruments of war.

This push for reconciliation is being led by the Truth Commission following the 2016 peace deal between the government and left-wing militant group FARC.

The Commission’s task is titanic. Colombia’s conflict directly affected at least 8.5 million people, victims of murder, kidnap or forced displacement.

 This is the case for Deyanira Achagua, whose two brothers were killed and registered as FARC guerrillas in Casanare, to the east of Bogota, in so-called false-positive cases.

Of the 6,402 identified cases of people executed by the Colombian army and reported as killed in combat between 2002 and 2008, what is known as the false positive scandal, most were in the region of Casanare, which had a rate of 12 cases per 100,000 residents.

“It’s not easy to forgive, I understand that other families do it because it is a personal act from the heart,” Deyanira told Efe. “But forgiving is healthy, it frees you from pain, sadness and anger,” the farmer from Yopal, the capital of Casanare, added.

Her voice trembles, but she goes on to discuss the tragedy that struck her family and that also took one of her cousins.

She also acknowledges the work undertaken by the Truth Commission and its legal branch.

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