23 August 2014 ~ 0 Comentarios

Colombia and the farce of reconciliation

by Carlos Alberto Montaner


 President Juan Manuel Santos has taken some victims to Havana so they may reconcile with their former executioners. The idea behind the ceremony originated in psychological therapies. It is an extension of the processes of marital healing where a serious offense was inflicted. Whoever committed the offense repents, and the victim forgives. At that point, they resume their relationship and, little by little, the emotional ties are restored. Without that process, it is difficult for one party to regain his or her trust in the other.

The problem with that model of therapy is that it works only among individuals, not collectively. It is probable that the victims really forgive, because that way they free themselves from the anguish provoked by hatred and the desire for revenge. Nevertheless, the repentance of those who commit crimes against “class enemies” while struggling for causes that they believe to be just is very rare, almost nonexistent.

Che Guevara expressed it in a phrase that’s sincere and eloquent: “Hatred as a factor of struggle, an intransigent hatred for the enemy that compels one beyond the natural limitations of a human being and turns one into an efficient, violent, selective and cold killing machine.”

Can anyone imagine Guevara or Stalin ashamed and contrite because they were murderers? Or Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet or Videla? Can anyone believe that Tiro Fijo or Mono Jojoy would be willing to repent of their “revolutionary” crimes? Is Timoshenko, the current chief of the FARC, willing to do so?

Nor is Havana an ideal place to attempt a reconciliation. The island is not exactly the canton of Basel. Do the Cuban hosts repent of executing thousands by firing squad, of persecuting homosexuals, of staging acts of repudiation? Do Fidel and Raúl feel remorse for having sunk a ship loaded with refugees, drowning two dozen children? Or shooting down, over international waters, two unarmed civilian planes that were helping rafters? Are they remorseful for the deaths of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero?

The Tupamaros, the Montoneros, the Death Squads of the murderous right, the communist guerrillas of the FARC and the narcoparamilitaries that fought them, all those violent and irrational groups on the left and the right don’t believe that they have anything to repent of. They are full of justifications and ideological and political alibis.

Some years ago, intrigued by that lack of empathy, I asked a person who had “executed” 13 political enemies if he felt any remorse. Paradoxically, he was a good man, tender in a family environment. In addition, he was timid and compassionate. He had killed some people in ambushes and some in shootouts provoked by others. They were political crimes. He looked at me in amazement and answered, unhesitatingly, "Yes, my conscience bothers me when I think of those who got away.” And he then proceeded to tell me about his failed attempts at taking the lives of other violent gunmen.

No one should trust these collective processes of reconciliation. They’re usually a farce. In my opinion, the communist narcoguerrillas of the FARC are willing to relinquish their firearms but only to try to assume government through the Chavist means of an electoral process. They have not renounced achieving power or creating a collectivist dictatorship but they have renounced the method used thus far. They’re really not asking for forgiveness. They’re faking it. (As we know, “Paris is well worth a Mass.”)

With $100 million or $200 million provided by drug trafficking, plus Venezuela’s contributions, and hiding behind the figurehead of a potable leftist face — as the communists did in El Salvador, hiding behind Mauricio Funes — they’re going to try to reach the House of Nariño “legally,” taking advantage of the divisions and weaknesses of the democratic groups. Once the presidential chair is occupied, they would launch a feast of patronage and sinecures with which to recruit a precarious majority and, through it, fully dismantle the foundations of the Republic.  

Santos knows this, but his objective, like that of half of Colombia, is to end the war at any price. We’ll see if afterward the Colombians manage to retain their freedoms and win the game. Let’s hope that “peace breaks out” but let it not be the start of another expression of horror. 

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