RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Opposition senators accused this Monday in a censure motion debate by the Colombian Minister of Defense, Diego Molano, of those “politically responsible” for human rights violations committed by the security forces during the demonstrations that began last April 28.
“In our opinion, you are one of those most politically responsible for the systematic chain of crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated by agents and groups of the security forces in Colombia since April 28,” said leftist Senator Iván Cepeda, of the Polo Democrático Alternativo (Alternative Democratic Pole).
During the protests, the police have been the target of serious accusations, including sexual assaults, physical violence, and arbitrary detentions, and have also been blamed for the deaths of protesters.
Minister Molano, who will be the last to speak, stated on social networks that he has been “listening carefully” to the Senate session, where he will clarify doubts about the actions of the public force in the framework of the national strike.
“I reiterate that we accompany peaceful demonstrations and act to guarantee the rights and safety of those who march and those who do not,” the minister said in a message posted on his Twitter account.
A “PROPER” MOTION
Senator Cepeda, one of the most fierce opponents of the government of President Iván Duque, affirmed that the motion of censure is “appropriate” due to the state reaction that has been “‘the most violently repressive response in times of pandemic worldwide’, as stated by the (Portuguese) sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos”.
It is also, he added, because “his administration and the general policy of the Government want to take Colombia from having a simulated democracy to an openly despotic regime that is built on the destruction of the agreement and the peace process (with the FARC), as well as the weakened rule of law”.
“Minister, during these 25 days, you are directly responsible for this situation. You have designed the policy under which these massive violations have been committed, you have stigmatized the peaceful mobilizations and those who have promoted or participated in them, you have stimulated the violations by exalting their perpetrators and inciting violence,” he explained.
Cepeda added that “despite knowing about the violations and criminal actions, he has consented to the facts without condemning them and has not given orders to stop them”.
Protests began in Colombia last April 28 against the Government’s already withdrawn tax reform. Still, they have been going on -with less and less strength- since then with a melting pot of demands and making social discontent visible.