While trying to make a point about the legal legitimization of the peace talks through the Legal Framework for Peace, Huila lawmaker Alvaro Hernan Prada brought cut-outs of FARC leaders “Timochenko,” “Fabian Ramirez,” and “Ivan Marquez” accompanied by paramilitary leaders “Jorge 40” and “Salvatore Mancuso” to the Chamber.
The implication was to show that should the government and the FARC, Colombia’s largest rebel group, reach a peace deal, their former leaders would be able to participate in politics.
Prada stated that, “the legal research by the Constitutional Court has been reiterative in stating that the atrocious acts [committed by leaders of criminal organizations] cannot be connected to political crimes, and we cannot allow the instigators of these crimes to exercise public authority or be candidates for popular election,” according to Bucaramanga-based newspaper Vanguardia Liberal.
Congressman Rodrigo Lara Restrepo of the Radical Change Party responded critically to the gesture stating, “The last time this occurred was when ex-President Alvaro Uribe invited these common criminals [to Congress], those who committed the worst crimes against humanity. I don’t think we should repeat these chapters [in our history] with images nor allow these gentleman exhibited here in cardboard to have a captivated congressional audience, and less a presence on television,” as quoted by national newspaper El Espectador.
Lara is the son of ex-Minister of Justice Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, who was among the first high profile assassinations by the Medellin Cartel in 1984 for speaking out against Pablo Escobar and his network of drug traffickers.
The cut-outs were not removed from the Chamber of Representatives’ plenary session and continued to be a topic for discussion, according to El Espectador.
The Legal Framework for Peace was passed in June 2012, with criticism from many groups including Human Rights Watch, who called the bill “amnesty in disguise” and that it provided a “get out of jail free card” for leaders of the FARC and Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, if they confessed their crimes.
- Polémica por dummys de “Timochenko” y “Mancuso” en el Congreso (Vanguardia Liberal)
- Los muñecos que generaron polémica en la Cámara de Representantes (El Espectador)