A great scandal has produced in Colombia the testimony that former president Álvaro Uribe gave before the Truth Commission, an organism that is the son of the peace agreement and that must present its findings in November of this year.
The show was grotesque for several reasons, firstly because it was not a credible show because Uribe has said on many occasions that he does not know the Truth Commission because he considers it a concession to the Farc. Second, because his testimony was a pack of lies. Without blushing, Uribe lied during the six hours that the intervention lasted and arranged the pieces in such a way that his lies avoided shedding light on the questioned role he played as governor of Antioquia and as president during the most fateful years of the war.
In the name of truth, the former president denied everything that almost no one dares to deny. He denied the collusion that took place in Antioquia during his government between the military and the paramilitaries, denounced in great detail by former leaders of the self-defense groups such as Mancuso.
He denied that he had had ties to the paramilitaries despite Mancuso having said the opposite. According to their versions before Justice and Peace, during Uribe’s government the paramilitaries entered the fourth brigade of Medellín like Pedro through his house. Mancuso has also said that it was with the consent of the generals, and Pedro Juan Moreno, his secretary of government, that they prepared massacres such as that of El Aro, in which more than 40 peasants died.
Uribe also denied any responsibility for false positives, that macabre practice that occurred in various military units during his government and that allowed the military to assassinate civilians to make them appear as guerrillas killed in combat. Of course, he had the luxury of defending the policy of the body counting and the system of rewards and incentives in exchange for casualties that he established as a strategy to defeat the FARC, and even had the cynicism to describe it as transparent. However, when it comes to assuming political responsibility for the outrages that were committed, he wriggled it out and said that those responsible were the soldiers who had deceived him. In other words, Uribe blamed the soldiers and the military for the abuses that were committed under his orders.
What is relevant in the lie, said Derrida, is never its content but the intentionality of the one who lies. And in Uribe’s case, his intention is clear: he wants to impose his truth on us so that we forget the false positives, the massive arrests, the dispossessions that occurred in his government, the profiling of journalists and politicians of the opposition, and the assemblies that were concocted against magistrates of the Cortes because they dared to investigate the links of Uribe politicians with the paramilitaries in Congress.
He wants to impose his lie on us because he is afraid of the truth. That was very clear to us.
its Show It was a failed show, beginning with the decision to receive the commissioners at El Ubérrimo, the cattle ranch from where Uribe manages the threads of power and tames his horses. However, his lies did not bewitch or become true because the country today no longer copies him, as his downfall in the polls demonstrates well.
What we Colombians saw was not a former president giving his version to clarify the truth but rather a despotic and ill-tempered hacienda owner with the pretense of a caporal who treated the commissioners who came to take his version as farm laborers.
We saw a former president managing the country as if it were his farm. Such a feudal image is the best invitation to the past. In short, we saw a former president desperate to fill us with lies to prevent the truth from coming out.
His truth was not only a long and tedious lie: it exposed the rottenness of power in Colombia. The truth above all: Uribe also represents all those elites who do not want to assume their responsibility in this war.
Uribe is not the only ex-president who has wrung the bullet, nor is he the only ex-president who owes us the truth. Former President Samper, former President Gaviria and Juan Manuel Santos have paraded through the commission, and although the latter asked for forgiveness, his mea culpa it was not enough at all.
In terms of expenses, it must be said that the FARC’s hieratic pardons have not been enough, nor have the paramilitaries’ complaints, saying that they were not responsible for anything because they were only following orders from the political and economic establishment.
Telling the truth is always difficult. But when the degree of mistrust between all legal and illegal actors is as high as it happens to us in Colombia, telling the truth becomes an almost impossible act.
The cover of the show in El Ubérrimo was the general amnesty proposal that Uribe launched as a recipe for Colombia to find peace and happiness. Amnesties are actually the worst form of impunity and in the globalized world where amnesty for heinous crimes is not allowed, they are conditional on truth and reparation for the victims. A general amnesty in exchange for nothing, like those proposed by Uribe, is a ticket to impunity that today is practically impossible.
If Uribe came down from his pedestal he would know that the best amnesty is the truth. The truth has to be reconciled with the pain, inequity, injustice and discrimination that the war has distilled. On the other hand, Impunity without truth, as Uribe seems to propose, is the best recipe so that nothing changes in Colombia.
Subscribe here to the newsletter from EL PAÍS América and receive all the informative keys of the current situation of the region