Tuesday, April 20

Colombian-Venezuelan conflict: Failed recipe and indolence | Opinion


Migrants try to cross by boat from the Venezuelan town of La Victoria to Arauquita, a Colombian border town, on March 25.
Migrants try to cross by boat from the Venezuelan town of La Victoria to Arauquita, a Colombian border town, on March 25.Jebrail Mosquera Contreras / EFE

They keep looking back. Saying that everything is the fault of the peace process with the FARC, nor the fact that dissidents have doubled in the last three years allows them to accept its failure. They believe that with the narrative everything is the fault of the others, they will be saved from the balance that history will make them. This government and its failed recipe against violence that is eating away at us again is out of control.

We witness a lost Executive and other control entities, government appendages, too busy in removing presidential candidates from the electoral arena, as happened with Sergio Fajardo, with an imputation of charges for not foreseeing that the dollar would fluctuate and generate a detriment in his department when he was governor. Those of us who think that Francisco Barbosa would not get the megalomania virus that inhabits the Attorney General’s Office, like his predecessors, seems to be wrong.

Although many ministries take care of their work, the truth is that those called to guarantee life and generate employment are too busy making Corleone State-type assemblies to their opponents inside and outside the borders, missing a golden opportunity to reconcile the voters with different leaderships and sowing greater skepticism and unease.

Colombia has experienced one of the most violent weeks in recent years. It is inadmissible to want to deny that the humanitarian situation on the border between Colombia and Venezuela due to the displacements on the Venezuelan side, the massacres, displacements and confinements, are the return of the war. It is worrying that, for the head of the Colombian military forces, everything boils down, in his opinion, to a perception problem and terrorist acts, a response to despair.

No, they are not controlled, nor desperate, they are in full dispute for territorial control, for drugs, for illegal mining and the business of human trafficking. And the ELN is acting as a criminal group because it controls vast areas of the country and serves as a hinge for drug trafficking groups, FARC dissidents, the Gulf Clan. There is a real civil war in the municipalities of southern Cauca. And that is an objective fact and not a perception, general.

Desperate, who are capable of setting off a car bomb half a block from the public force in Cauca? I don `t believe. A few minutes from a military base? Either. Here the war returned. And it is not political violence, it is criminal, degraded violence that implies a very different way of dealing with it. The FARC dissidents went from being present in 56 municipalities in 2018 to 127 by 2021, according to data from Ariel Ávila of the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation. Massacres in Colombia have been increasing since 2018 and from 2019 to 2020 we went from 21 to 44 massacres.

The municipality of La Victoria, Apure State in Venezuela is now a land of blood and displacement. The Venezuelan Military Forces launched attacks against FARC dissident structures, killing innocent families and leaving 4,700 displaced people. The Government announces that, in three months, by June, it will send 2,000 men to the border. What will be the logic to wait three months, for when the displacement reaches 10,000 or 20,000, when everyone is infected with covid under the tents where they are sheltered from fear? Or for when we have a binational conflict of unsuspected magnitudes in the more than two thousand kilometers of border that we share with Nicolás Maduro.

The international community, UNHCR in its role in supporting migrants and refugees, and other organizations, to create bridges of understanding between nations, must look to this situation. The business for the Venezuelan military and the neglect of our State in those more than 2,000 kilometers of border that we share with Nicolás Maduro, a Molotov cocktail.

The International Red Cross this week focused on displacement as the most recurrent crime in Colombia. There are 2,000 in Cauca, 4,000 in Nariño, where it has not even been possible to get vaccinated due to the conflict, and the answer is the same. A recipe that includes the well-known security council, the offer of a Pyrrhic reward and the increase in force, as they did in Cauca last year with the dispatch of 2,500 men to whom violence explodes in their noses.

What are the dynamics of the violence that we are reliving and what should the Government understand? It is different and it is different because the FARC are not there, and they continue to act as if they were. These criminals act in a different way, precisely where the State was supposed to occupy the spaces and it does not do so efficiently. In each territory the armed action is different. Groups change from territory to territory. It is not the same in Catatumbo as in the south of Nariño. The expansion of criminal organizations in their aspiration to control illegal income is disappearing communities and leaders committed to legality, with substitution.

Doesn’t the government understand? He doesn’t want to understand it. I wonder if it seems appropriate to deepen the war with a view to the next elections. It would be mean. But possible. Are the military forces used to a dynamic of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia against the FARC lost? It would be extremely serious to have stayed in the past. Intelligence does not work, there is no interest in discussing solutions to drug trafficking through regulation, there is no determined deepening of the commitment to substitution, justice does not come to punish any crime.

How many dead later will they understand?

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