Victims of Colombia’s violent conflict wrote to US President Obama to request permission to attend the next hearing of paramilitary leader ‘Don Berna’.
According to newspaper El Colombiano, in the letter, victim rights group ‘Madres de la Candelaria’ ask “to be allowed into your country, to where the majority of Colombian paramilitaries are extradited, to serve as an honest audience and to find ourselves as party to the truth. We seek your support and cooperation.”
‘Madres de la Candelaria’ was set up in 1999, initially by Colombian mothers seeking truth and justice for their many family members who had been ‘disappeared’ throughout the brutal period in Colombian history known as ‘La Violencia’. Today the Foundation is extremely influential and has many connections with similar truth and reparation associations across Latin America.
El Colombiano informs that the letter will be sent on October 8, along with over 100,000 signatures collected from men and women associated with the Foundation as backing for the request.
Allegedly the letter goes on to say “We collected signatures from citizens who, over the past 11 years have fought tirelessly for justice, truth, reparation, memory” and above all for the prevention of repetition of the tragedies they have each suffered at the hands of the Colombian Armed Conflict.
On Monday, the coordinator of the Foundation, Amparo Mejia sent a letter to Fernando Murillo himself, reminding him of his promise to the relatives of victims to aid them in finding out what happened to their loved ones. The former paramilitary head this week suspended his cooperation with Colombian justice, because he says the security of his family is at risk.
Mejia stated that she believed Obama to be a very understanding man and she hoped her contemporaries who attend the hearing will be “allowed to speak with the former paramilitary fighters.”