Riot police officers confront protesters on May 5, 2021, in Bogotá (Colombia) .Juan Páez / EFE
What is happening in Colombia?
The keys to a conflict that spreads across the country
Police brutality became naturalized in Colombia when General Cortés Vargas was promoted to director of the Corps for his brilliant performance in the Banana Massacre (1928), in which strikers against the United Fruit Company abuses were shot by the Army. The soldiery that dissolved the labor rights of workers and peasants with bullets was awarded by the President of the Republic as a savior from anarchy and communism. The loss of moral references and legitimacy, the episodes of savagery and impunity recorded during the repression of the protests against Iván Duque's tax reform are evocative: reverberations of a violence of origin, established as a core subject in military desks.
It does not overwhelm the psychological approach of the academic and activist Edgar Barrero on the criminalization of protest and the aesthetics of the atrocious, on the mutation of young people recruited from the middle and lower strata of society, who develop pleasure in the Police Riot Squad National when they generate blood, pain, torture and humiliation to their class brothers. Sing to stop hitting you,
. The unit, dependent on the Ministry of Defense, was conceived with warlike prepositions, as a war machine capable of terrorizing with fascist attacks. Citizens, as the enemy; the control of public order, as a military offensive. The greater the violence, the greater the feeling of duty accomplished.
The consolidation of peace in Colombia transcends the agreements with the FARC. The hopeful scaffolding built five years ago in Havana will not withstand the unsatisfied generational push, nor the neglected social demands, if the culture of understanding does not settle in the consciences of a citizenry disturbed by almost a century of violence; Nor, if the manuals and confrontation of ideas in the academies do not dismantle the universe of values of the Security Forces, victims also by having normalized in their lives the death, the brutality and the shooting at the protester.
Responsibility is not exhausted by the excesses of the ESMAD uniformed men, who have undermined the institutional duty to guarantee the exercise of the rights and freedoms of all and the peaceful coexistence among compatriots. In the event that President Duque opts to support the authoritarianism proposed by Álvaro Uribe and the ideological executors of the gringo banana company, there is a risk of resuscitating, on a scale, the barbarism that replaced politics in the undeclared civil war of liberals and conservatives. The Police was a partisan instrument of social control, an appendix of the ideology and repressive policies of the governments of the day. Time is to demilitarize the body and move it away from the political factions to transform it into an armed institute of a civil nature, at the service of the security policies of democracy.