Congressman Ivan Cepeda made a request via the right of constitutional appeal to the mayor of Monteria to demolish the city’s statue that pays homage to paramilitaries.
In a public statement Congressman Cepeda said, “Under no circumstances should there be public tributes to armed groups responsible for so much violence, death and pain in the country.”
Monteria is the capital of Cordoba, a northern Caribbean department that experienced high murder rates in 2010 and is continuing the same pattern in 2011.
Reports indicate that these high murder rates are directly linked to the appearance of neo-paramilitary and drug gangs in the area. These new bands of criminals are reported to have originated from the demobilization of the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) in 2006.
The statue named “Monument of Peace” was constructed in 1999 by leaders of the now defunct AUC. It depicts civilians and paramilitaries together with upward reaching arms.
According to a report from El Espectador, Cepeda made reference to the autobiography of the supreme leader of the AUC, Carlos Castaño, who wrote that this piece of art “invites citizens to become paramilitary.”
The congressman went on to say, “The existence of the ‘Monument of Peace’ offends the victims of crimes against humanity by these groups who continue to perpetrate in areas still under their control.”