Colombia expelled from global conflict memorial organization over armed conflict denial

Dario Acevedo (C) (Image: Military Museum of Colombia)

The global and Latin American organizations of memorial sites expelled Colombia’s National Center for Historical Memory (CNMH) over its far-right director’s denial of his country’s armed conflict.

The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC) expelled the Colombian organization “attending the concerns” of the Latin American network of memorial sites RESLAC over far-right CNMH director Dario Acevedo.

The CNMH was expelled over Acevedo’s refusal to acknowledge the armed conflict and other “exclusionary and biased pronouncements” made by the controversial director, the ICSC wrote.

Colombia seeks to censor victims in conflict memorial museum

The memorial sites’ organization wrote Acevedo in September last year to inform him that, unless he complied with the organization’s standards, Colombia’s organization to commemorate the victims of the armed conflicts would be expelled.

In order to renew your membership of the The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, we asked you to explicitly state your adherence to the declaration of principles to which all members of the Coalition, not only in the Latin American region, but in our seven networks with over 275 members in 65 countries around the world. In addition, at the explicit request of the members of the Latin American region, we asked you to conform to the following working criteria:

  1. That you recognize the armed conflict in Colombia, as established by Colombia’s Victims’ Law.
  2. That you seek to guarantee the right to truth of all victims, their families and organizations.
  3. To recognize the centrality of the victims of all armed actors and ensure their full participation in the consultation, decision-making and execution of symbolic reparation measures.
  4. To support the memory exercises that are being developed from the civil society and recognize the places of memory, archives and museums generated by the communities, as essential for the education of the generations young people in democratic principles.
  5. To try to build a culture of coexistence for the non-repetition of past of political violence in Colombia
International Coalition of Sites of Conscience

After having received no response from Acevedo, the CNMH was expelled from the international organizations.

Acevedo told local media said he didn’t sent a response to the ICLC, but to the Colombian Network of Memorial Sites that, like the CNMH until recently, also is a member of the global organization.

“The error was not to have sent it directly to the international organization,” the controversial CNMH director said.

The CNMH’s expulsion from the international network of memorial sites is only the latest of many controversies triggered by Acevedo.

The controversial director was appointed in 2018 by President Ivan Duque, whose far-right Democratic Center party also denies the armed conflict.

Duque replaces fraudulent academic for far-right ideologue at Historical Memory Institute

Until Acevedo’s appointment, the CNMH was a highly respected institution frequently cited by the international press, for example about the number of victims of the armed conflict.

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