Diva Díaz confronted the commanders of the Colombian former FARC guerrilla who were accused of kidnapping of his father and sister. Why were they cruel to my family?, the woman asked the former guerrillas who were full of forgiveness and tears for their crimes.
Six years after signing the peacethe former rebel leadership responded for 21,000 kidnappings perpetrated over six decades of conflictin an emotional three-day hearing that concluded on Thursday.
Díaz heard the repentance of the executioners of his family. The ex-kidnapped and their relatives had the opportunity to question them face to face for the pain and humiliation inflicted on them, with the judges of the Special Peace Jurisdiction (JEP) as witnesses.
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in head of Timochenkotheir commander at the time of the disarmament, Joaquín Gómez, Julián Gallo, Rodrigo Granda, Pablo Catatumbo, Jaime Alberto Parra and Pastor Alape, moved to tears, blamed themselves for those crimes of war and against humanity in the auditorium of the court arising from the 2016 pact.
As agreed in Havana, the ex-guerrillas They must repair those affected and tell the truth to avoid jail. The victims will have 15 days to make their observations and the JEP foresees that before finishing it will impose sanctions.
Some of the testimonies and confessions:
– “Ruggedness” –
In September 1998, Juan Antonio Díaz was kidnapped by the FARC. He spent 16 months in captivity, which ruined the prosperous merchant from the city of Neiva (downtown) and his relatives.
“The family was completely broken,” recalls Diva, her eldest daughter, during the hearing. In exchange for his release, the guerrillas demanded a fortune, but his relatives could not pay it.
Juan Antonio was made to believe in captivity that they had forgotten about him and that his children were “the worst thing in this world.”
In December 1999 he was released, but at the same time one of his daughters was kidnapped. The merchant reported to the media and in October 2000 he died at the hands of a hitman.
Twenty-two years later, Diva unburdens herself and asks a stinging question: “Why did they take such a swipe at my family?”
“El Paisa”, then head of the Teófilo Forero Column, directly responsible for the kidnappings, could have answered him, but he returned to arms and authorities presume that he was murdered in 2021 in Venezuela.
His boss in the Southern Block, Joaquín Gómez, assumed responsibility and acknowledged that “there was cruelty against his family, emotional blackmail and deceit.”
“I am aware that your father’s life is irreparable and that we caused unimaginable damage by causing his death,” read the feared commander, now gray-haired.
– Ordeal on foot –
On behalf of his four brothers, Héctor Angulo confronted the “secretariat” of the FARC for him kidnapping and subsequent murder of his parents Gerardo and Carmen Castañeda.
Both were 68 years old when a rebel command held them while they parked their car in La Calera, a neighboring municipality of Bogotá. After a long journey on foot through a mountain range, they ended up in San Juanito, almost 120 kilometers away.
Héctor denies the suffering of two old men who “were not involved in criminal things.” They worked in a clothing workshop until that fateful April 19, 2000.
After the peace agreementthe sons walked the same steep route alongside veterans who participate in the search for the remains of their victims as a gesture of repair.
They found Carmen’s remains, but while they were searching for her, Héctor suffered a heavy fall. Gerardo’s body has not yet appeared.
Jaime Alberto Parra, known as “the doctor” of the FARCHe listened to her claim with an expressionless face.
“It was us as an extinct organization guerrillathose of us who held them captive, those of us who forced them to walk, those of us who murdered them and disappeared,” acknowledged Parra.
Retired Sergeant Major César Lasso, released in 2012 after 13 years of kidnapping. He was wearing a police jacket and the iron chains with which they tied him around the neck, causing him “the greatest humiliation.”
Army Colonel Raimundo Malagón also attended, dressed in camouflage, rescued in a military operation in 2018 that ended 10 years in captivity.
Pastor Alape told him regretfully: we looked at “the military as the representative of State violence” and “we were not able to look at the citizen under the uniform.”