Colombia’s President Ivan Duque-proposed to use the euphemism “collective homicide” instead of “massacre,” but was ignored after two particularly violent weeks.
Duque coined the euphemism used by the military earlier this week after five massacres and several other mass killings shocked the country and sparked fears of a relapse to the extreme violence of the beginning of the century.
Many people have said: “the massacres are back, the massacres are back.” First let’s use the precise term: “collective homicides,” and sadly we have to accept as a country, that they are not back, it’s that these acts of ‘collective homicides’ have not gone away sadly.
President Ivan Duque
Massacres had all but disappeared after Duque’s predecessor, President Juan Manuel Santos, closed a peace deal with leftist FARC guerrillas in 2016 that is fiercely opposed by the president’s far-right Democratic Center party.
It hurts us all but it is reality. Collective homicides are not something new in the country, it has been happening for many years. It is not true that it has been reactivated with the Duque administration. The collective homicides have a common denominator: drug trafficking.
Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo
The’parents of victims of a massacre in the southwestern Nariño province blasted authorities for implying their children were somehow associated with drug trafficking.
None of the massacres this month appeared to be related to drug trafficking in any way, but Trujillo tried to use the massacres to seek support for his so-far failed attempts to resume the aerial fumigation of coca.
Independent media blasted the government for trying to whitewash the extreme violence and even use it to promote unpopular policies.
Unlike during the conflict, most of the country’s mass media ignored the president’s suggestion and continued to use the word “massacre.”
Several studies conducted during the country’armed conflict indicated that the mass media’s use of euphemisms in cases of violence committed by paramilitaries severely distorted public perception of the current reality in Colombia.
Colombia Reports uses the word “massacre” for mass killings that leave more than four civilians dead and uses the term “multiple homicide” in armed attacks that leave two or three fatal victims.