Thursday, April 16, 2015

Killing of 10 Soldiers Brings no Peace to Colombia

After more than two years of peace talks, Colombia thought they’d finally seen light at the end of a long tunnel. In the last few months, the rebels had affirmed a independent cease-fire, pledging to stop carrying out attacks, and to stop recruiting child fighters. The two sides had even agreed to work together to find and destroy the thousands of land mines littering Colombia after five decades of war. However, that progress came to a halt when at least 10 soldiers were killed late Tuesday night. The government is claiming this to be an attack by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The attack took place in a village in western Colombia called La Esperanza. President Juan Manuel Santos is claiming that the attack was a “deliberate attack” by the FARC and also stated that the military could resume bombing guerrilla encampments, lifting a ban he imposed in March for the sake of the peace talks. In a TV news conference Mr. Santos stated, “This implies a clear break of the unilateral cease-fire pledge. This is a reprehensible action that will not remain unpunished and demands decisive measures, and it will have consequences for those involved. Acts of this nature and seriousness demonstrate once more the need to accelerate the negotiations to put an end to this conflict.” The military was ordered to hunt down the guerrillas who carried out the attack and the FARC bloc believed responsible for the attack are considered to be among the most aggressive. According to a military official, the soldiers were attacked with grenades, gunfire and explosive devices.

I wish there was a way around all of this violence, to think of living inside a country of war for years is terrifying. I think if there is any chance of achieving peace within this country, the issue needs to take front-and-center stage. I concur with Mr. Santos efforts for not wanting to continue to call for war, but noticing that this attack means that they need to put forward a conscious effort to dilute the conflict. It’s dangerous for the citizens of Colombia to be burdened with this daily struggle.

Brittany Schrum



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