Return to Recent Articles menu

Colombia: Saving the institutions during a crisis

Gearóid Ó Loingsigh

12 September 2020


Gustavo Petro called for us to surround the Mayoress of Bogotá Claudia López.  According to Petro the police don't obey her as they should and of course she is not to blame.  The El Espectador reported.

"Lets go out into the streets when ever you want", was the message he sent mainly to the Green Alliance, the Mayoress's party so as they both take part in the protest.  "I think it is a time for peaceful joyous but mass resistance, in the streets.".
At the same time, he stated that López's administration had been "attacked unconstitutionally by a police force that does not obey her and by forces in the National government that want to finish off and sweep away democracy in Colombia."(1)

One just doesn't know whether to cry or burst out weeping (the option of laughing doesn't exist).  After so many years of struggle and having seen what Claudia López's administration is like, Petro's declarations cannot be anything other than a cynical act regarding a possible electoral alliance for the 2022 presidential elections.

He proposes an alliance with an authoritarian Mayoress, as if she were a run of the mill democrat.  He also reduces the problem of police violence to a question of police officers who do not obey the Mayoress.  Firstly, we don't know how real that is. She said she asked them not to use weapons, but as she is very theatrical and media savvy in her declarations when she scolds the students we don't know to what degree she has any differences with the police, as her statements have been very calm, she hasn't asked for anyone's head.  Secondly, when López sent the police to evict the poor in the south of the city or repress the protests over the hunger they were suffering during the confinement, we know the police obeyed her and moreover the situation we are going through is partly the result of the new Police Code which she supported and in her electoral campaign she was, as El Tiempo reported, emphatic.

First of all, I offer personal leadership.  Bogotá has had 12 years without a head of police.  Samuel Moreno didn't want to be a police chief, he was the chief bandit;  Gustavo Petro had other priorities as had Enrique Peñalosa.
Being the head of the police can't be delegated, Bogotá and Colombia know that just like I didn't hesitate to put 42 corrupt people in jail through my investigations I will be the head of police that will make the criminals tremble", added the current Mayoress in 2019.(2)
No , she is not to blame but rather it is the case they don't want to obey her.

López for her part realised that things were getting out of hand and she looked bad in terms of public opinion.  So she described what had happened as a "real massacre of the youth of our city".(3) Her comment is nothing more that a literal description, but it doesn't say anything much about the reasons behind the massacre nor what should be done about it.  Her proposal is a real insult.

Claudia López called for an act of pardon and reconciliation for this coming Sunday 13th of September from the institutions to the citizens. " For the President the pardon asked of the family of Javier Ordóñez is enough, but it is not... Bogotá needs an act of reconciliation, forgiveness and amends that rebuilds trust which is the basis of authority."(4)
What does she mean pardon and reconciliation?  Did the cops acknowledge their crimes?  Why should we forgive them?  No, we have to demand punishment for all of them, exemplary tough punishments. What López proposes is a clean slate at an institutional level, as she wants to rebuild trust as the basis for authority.  But what has happened in Colombia in general and in Bogotá in recent days is an excess of trust by certain sectors in the Police and too much authority.  What we need is the heads of all the high ranking police officers on a silver platter in Bolívar Square.  This tale of pardon and reconciliation is an extension of the philosophy of the Peace Accord, that one has to pardon one's enemies and we know that it led to the murder of hundreds of leaders by those who were pardoned.  No. For many years the slogan was, "Neither Pardon, Nor Forgetting" !

And that slogan is still valid!

The police have lost a lot of legitimacy even amongst more wealthy sectors.  I accompanied a riot taking photos and when it passed through the affluent area of Parque Bavaria, the people shouted at the police from the balconies "Murdering Pigs". Now they have lost legitimacy, now that the institution has been hit hard Petro and López want to save the Mayor's office for electoral purposes and the police institution in and of itself.

Now we know more about the murder of Javier Ordóñez, he wasn't killed by a Taser but rather afterwards he was taken to a local police station and beaten.

The investigators say that it seems the lawyer was beaten going into the police station and near the computer desk.  The forensic examiners found sharp blows to the left cheek, the neck, shoulders and blows that reached his thorax.  They say that in the right occipital part he was injured and this was seemingly caused by a blunt force instrument and that it was probably what ended the life of the lawyer.(5)
There were seven police officers involved in his murder, not two and he ended up with nine cranial fractures.  Now López wants an act of pardon and reconciliation.  I think there are many who would rather see the seven police officers hung at the entrance to Bogotá and each one with a noose made from the intestines of the others.  But if López wants a less violent proposal more in line with the law, then 60 years in jail for all of them and that the justice system go up the chain of command, including the Mayoress.

We should not save López, nor surround her as Petro wants, neither should we allow her to sink and drown, rather we should sink and drown her until never again in the painful history of this country does she ever dare to stand for election again.  Now is the moment for hard actions against the police force as an institution and the police officers as such.  The saying goes Not even water for the enemy!  Then that, lets not sell anything to cops, nor rent apartments to them, nor provide some social services, we should isolate them as the scum they are.  Many live in less well off neighbourhoods due to their low salaries.  So in those neighbourhoods, neither bread nor water, nothing for the enemy.  And if they say that is Class Hatred, we should proudly say, Yes!  We hate death and we love life, there can be no love for your neighbour for your class brothers and sisters if we don't hate our enemies.  Enough of liberal discourse from the Polo, the Greens, Colombia Humana of embracing our enemies.  We hate the rich that kill for profits, and their lackeys in the police, we love the fallen youths and the hope they represented.

Perhaps Petro believes that with his proposal López will support him and he will win the 2022 presidential elections.  What makes him think they will let him govern? Or that the same scum in the police ranks will let him reach the presidency alive?  Is he naive, or a cynical man who is already preparing his betrayal of the people - and his accord with the police? In times of crisis, the social democrats never disappoint... the state and the bourgeoisie.


(1) El Espectador (11/09/2020) Gustavo Petro invita a defender el gobierno de Claudia López

(2) El Tiempo (11/09/2020) Le recuerdan a Claudia López cuando decía que sería la jefe de Policía

(3) El Espectador (11/09/2020) Claudia López: “Lo sucedido es una auténtica masacre a los jóvenes de nuestra ciudad"

(4) Ibíd.,

(5) MSN Noticias (11/09/2020) 9 fracturas craneales y más señales de que Javier Ordóñez le dieron golpiza contundenteás-señales-de-que-a-javier-ordóñez-le-dieron-golpiza-contundente/ar-BB18W51e

Return to top of page