Review - False positives and violence in Colombia against social leaders

Published on
November 8, 2018

OtherWise helped to raise awareness about state violence in Colombia by hosting a lecture on the 5th of October in Vreemde Streken. Many Wageningen students and people of the wider Wageningen community joined to show solidarity to the Colombian people.

False positives is the name for the extrajudicial executions that took place in Colombia between 2002 and 2010. The military executed innocent civilians and listed them as guerrillas killed in battle and by that gained promotions or other benefits. Omar Rojas spoke this evening to talk about his book in which he, together with Fabián Benavides Silva, shows that the killings were not 4.500 cases, but instead there were 10.000 cases. Julian Cortes, WUR PhD student at the Rural Socialy department, talked about reincorporation of ex-combatants of the FARC. Itayosara Rojas, Msc student in rural development at Ghent University, presented a brief account of the recent killings of social leaders in Colombia. One of the social leaders, Daniel Franco Henao, spoke as a survivor of a bombing that was done to take his life. He explained the difficulties of him getting asylum in the Netherlands, since Colombia is still listed as a safe country.

Current-day the atrocities done by the government still remain unpunished. Many of the actors that caused the violence are in powerful positions in politics or other governmental organisations. In the face of this injustice, someone from the audience asked what can do about this violence. The moderator of the evening, Gerard Verschoor, assistant professor at the SDC department, noted that it is most important that we know about the situation and create awareness about it and attending the lecture is actually already supporting the Colombian people, by taking note of the situation. We are thankful for everybody that was present during the evening and showed engagement in the topic. Luckily there were free chocolates, provided by Vreemde Streken, to ease our hearts a bit.