Despite the terror sown by paramilitaries, Colombia’s President Ivan Duque has ignored recommendations to dismantle these groups, newspaper El Espectador reported Thursday.
According to the daily, Duque was given a report with policy recommendations at a meeting of the so-called National Commission on Security Guarantees in August last year.
This commission came to life after a 2016 peace deal with demobilized FARC guerrillas and is supposed to meet monthly to define policies that would cut the long-standing ties between death squads, the state and the private sector.
Duque, however, did nothing until after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres reported to the Security Council on December 27 that the government was not complying with the peace deal.
The president rushed to convoke a meeting on Wednesday, days before the security council meets to discuss Guterres concerns.
Following the meeting, Peace Commissioner Miguel Ceballos told press that “we responded to the proposals presented by civil society” groups that surrendered the report in August last year.
The commission members told El Espectador that the government’s response was “to hold future working sessions to study the document” without setting a date.
Duque has been reluctant to formulate policies that would dismantle the paramilitary groups linked to his political and financial patrons, and the military.
The Inspector General’s Office, however, told El Espectador they were enthusiastic about the proposals to target businessmen and politicians with ties to death squads and revive legislation to allow the collective demobilization of illegal armed groups that was shelved after the government took office in 2018.
According to an inspector general spokesperson, the suspension of pushing this legislation through congress left an “enormous gap” in the possibility to bring members of paramilitary groups to justice.
The inspector general, however, has no legislative role, and with the military and Duque’s allies up to their neck in allegations they worked together with the death squads, any formulation of policy is complicated.