A victim of Colombia’s armed conflict is suing a Colombian House representative-elect for defamation, discrimination, and aggravated harassment following slanderous statements made via social media.
Maria Fernanda Cabal, representative-elect for the right-wing Democratic Center Party of former President Alvaro Uribe, caused outrage on social media Sunday by suggesting that a FARC rebel victim, Angela Giraldo, was smiling at her victimizers during a recent victims representation forum at the peace talks in Havana, Cuba.
Cabal posted a picture on Twitter of Giraldo smiling at a man, supposedly from the FARC delegation, with the caption: “She who greets the FARC with a big smile is a representative of the victims?”
The man, in fact, turned out to be Jaime Avendaño, a member of the Colombian government’s team of negotiators, according to Colombia’s Semana news magazine.
Cabal also insinuated Stockholm Syndrome was at play, where victims begin to feel affection for their victimizers: “This ‘victim’ who greets the FARC very happily… Stockholm Syndrome?”
¿Esa que saluda con una gran sonrisa a las Farc es representante de las víctimas? http://t.co/GHSdvvh03O
— Maria Fernanda Cabal (@MariaFdaCabal) August 17, 2014
“It is irresponsible that a representative of the House makes such comments on a public forum without knowing who is [actually in the photo],” said Giraldo.
The comments are now being investigated by Deputy Prosecutor General Jorge Perdomo for the crimes of defamation, discrimination, and aggravated harassment, according to Caracol Radio.
When confronted by media about her unfounded Twitter statements which she has yet to retract, Cabal claimed she was simply expressing her opinion:
“The problem is not with me, but with Colombia democracy that doesn’t allow for freedom of opinion,” said Cabal in a video posted on her Twitter account.
— Maria Fernanda Cabal (@MariaFdaCabal) August 20, 2014
One Twitter commenter responded by saying, “You’re a victim of ignorance.”
The first delegation of victims of Colombia’s armed conflict traveled to Cuba on August 15 to share their accounts of how Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, the FARC, along with the government, and paramilitaries have affected them personally.
Giraldo is the sister of Colombian politician, Francisco Javier Giraldo, who was held captive by the FARC for five years before being murdered along with 10 other colleagues in 2007.
Cabal’s previous attention-seeking antics
In April of this year, while the rest of Colombia was mourning the death of the country’s greatest literary figure, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cabal caused outrage on social media by posting a picture on twitter of Garcia Marquez with his friend, former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, captioned: “soon they will be together in hell.”
Cabal also posted tweets with captions such as, “What a productive friendship! Millionaire communists,” as well as a map of the proximity of Garcia Marquez’s home to Fidel Castro’s entitled “Gabo’s mansion adjoining that of satanic prince Fidel.”