RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010) proposed a general amnesty for the country to move towards total peace and escape from the political polarization affecting the country, in a proposal that has generated a debate in the political spectrum.
Uribe planted the seed of the proposal in an unofficial meeting he had last Sunday with the president of the Truth Commission, Jesuit priest Francisco de Roux. He said that “this country is suddenly going to need a general amnesty, almost a clean slate”.
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In an interview with local radio station, BluRadio on Wednesday, the former president of the Democratic Center party qualified this proposal and explained that a general amnesty does not imply impunity, because such a situation could lead to open cycles of violence.
Uribe assured that the amnesty is an idea he has had for some time and that it goes hand in hand with other issues such as ending corruption, fighting drug trafficking, and slimming down the state to achieve total peace and a better country.
The “asymmetry injustice demands a general amnesty,” said the former senator, who has several times pointed out his disagreement with a situation where military personnel are in jail for crimes committed during the armed conflict while former guerrilla leaders are free and occupy seats in Parliament, a decision that was agreed in the 2016 peace agreement.
Today, the former governor insisted that he does not have any mechanism defined but that it is simply an idea he thought of when he was asked what to do to achieve total peace.
The left-wing senator Iván Cepeda, one of the fiercest critics of former president Uribe, mainly for not supporting the peace agreement signed between the Government and the FARC, reminded that crimes against humanity could not be amnestied.
“If Uribe wants a general amnesty, the conditions are clear: crimes against humanity cannot be amnestied, and the truth is an unavoidable condition. That truth that precisely he has wanted to deny and that he refuses to recognize,” Cepeda wrote on social networks.
In Uribe’s meeting with Father De Roux, which was not official because the former president does not recognize this organization as he does not recognize any of those created by the peace agreement, the latter made a broad overview of his government’s actions to combat the extinct FARC guerrilla and of the decisions taken against Army officers and soldiers involved in “false positives”.
In Colombia, “false positives” are known as the extrajudicial executions of thousands of young people, mainly from low-income families, who were recruited by deception by members of the Army to take them to different parts of the country to be killed and then presented as guerrillas killed in combat to receive rewards and permissions from their superiors.
Last February, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), also arising from the agreement, raised to 6,402 the number of people who “were illegitimately killed to be presented as combat casualties throughout the national territory between 2002 and 2008”, a period that coincides with the Uribe administration.
However, Senator and former presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, another harsh critic of Uribe, agreed with the idea of amnesty since “social and historical forgiveness is an almost unrepeatable but fundamental moment in the peace of societies.”
However, he added that “before an amnesty, all assets must be returned to the dispossessed and complete truth.”