Thursday, March 6, 2014

Remembering Victims of State Crimes - And a few others, too.

The National Movement of Victims of State Crimes held this demonstration/exhibition on Plaza Santander today. Colombia certainly has had many victims of state crimes - most infamously the thousands of young men murdered by the military in the False Positives scandal.

But, to paraphrase someone else's observation, one person's victim can be another's terrorist. One of those memorialized was Luis Alejandro Concha, a young leftist killed when a bomb destroyed an apartment building in Bogotá's Santa Fe neighborhood in 2006. A crime by the state? That's what his family charges.

But the government had a different version of events. According to the government and police, Concha and others were working with a guerrilla group building bombs in the building when one detonated accidentally, killing Concha, other building residents and a woman walking past in the street. To me, the official version always seemed much more believable than the idea that the government would bomb a building in the middle of Bogotá and kill bystanders in order to assassinate some young leftists.

But, when your son has been killed, it's not easy for a parent to believe that he was a terrorist.

A man contemplates a poster memorializing Luis Alejandro Concha, who was killed by a bomb which he apparently was building.

'Freedom for political prisoners.' But a one man0s political prisoner is another man's common criminal.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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