There is nothing more antidemocratic than a country’s military designating its own politicians, journalists and civil society actors “opposition.” These revelations are extremely serious.
As first reported by investigative reporters at “Cuestión Pública” (Public Question) while investigating the ÑeñePolitica vote-buying scandal that has ensnared the presidency of Ivan Duque and the Centro Democratico political party of his patrón (godfather) Alvaro Uribe, Colombia’s army has been caught creating an “enemies list” of individuals and entities that it has deemed “opposition.”
The actions of the Colombian Army are extremely grave and a demonstrable threat to human and civil rights in Colombia. When the army creates a clandestine “opposition” list of media & civil society groups, it recalls shadows of Pinochet, political torture and assassination. The gravity of this act cannot be overstated.
Above image – BONE-CHILLING: “National Army of Colombia has added you to its list ‘Opposition'”
Ominously,few if any of these groups are political radicals or anti-military, rather anti-corruption civil society groups, mainstream media, and indigenous activists. The military operatives in control of the Colombian military’s Twitter account failed to realize that users’ twitter accounts were notified when they were added to the “Oposición” list created by the Colombian Army.
Once questioned, the operatives immediately deleted the Twitter list. This comes as the Colombian government headed by Ivan Duque is embroiled in multiple scandals, faces tiny public approval, and was just excoriated by the United Nations for human rights violations. Several of the journalists are hot on the trail of the #Ñeñepolitica vote buying scandal that ties massive political corruption and organized crime to the Centro Democratico political party of Alvaro Uribe and the presidential election of his hand-picked candidate Ivan Duque.
Several journalists have already denounced Colombia’s internal security organs for improperly surveilling and intimidating investigative journalists, as revelations seem to further entangle Uribe and Duque.
Though one could argue why the military might view the FARC and some of its top leaders as “opposition,” similar justification does not exist for several of the other groups included on the enemies list. Even the FARC has demobilized, laid down arms and is participating in the political system as agreed by the 2016 peace accords signed between them and then-President Juan Manuel Santos.
- Colombia2020, an initiative of mainstream newspaper El Espectador
- ANZORC “Asociación Nacional de Zonas de Reserva Campesina,” a rural civil group
- ASCAMCAT “Asociación Campesina del Catatumbo” a rural civil group in the violent Catatumbo región
- JEP—Jurisidiccion Especial para la Paz; the government entity set up to implement the historic peace accords signed by the previous administration
- José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director of Human Rights Watch
- Aída Avella, Colombian senator
- Gustavo Petro, Colombian senator
- Gustavo Bolívar, Colombian senator
- Iván Cépeda, Colombian senator
- Gustavo Gómez, reporter with Caracol Radio
- Ignacio Gómez, editor with Noticias Uno
- Salud Hernandez, journalist with Semana weekly magazine
- Vicky Dávila, journalist with Semana weekly magazine
- Contagio Radio
- CRIC indigenous advocacy group
- ONIC indigenous advocacy group
The list, before it was made to disappear, had 33 Twitter accounts and appeared to be still under construction, or in other words, was not complete.
#Atención Tras publicación de nuestros hilos investigativos sobre la #ÑeñePolítica, el Twitter oficial del Ejército colombiano @COL_EJERCITO incluyó nuestro medio @cuestion_p en una lista llamada #Oposición. Exigimos respuestas ante esta agresión que nos pone en riesgo. @FLIP_org pic.twitter.com/uaaLJW317v
— Cuestión Pública (@cuestion_p) March 10, 2020
Article 219 of the Colombian Constitution prohibits the military from political interference. Pedro Vaca, director of Colombian freedom of the press foundation FLIP demanded to know “Whoever is in charge of administering the @COL_EJERCITO should explain the criteria under which twitter accounts are added to the military “opposition” list.
Que una cuenta en redes de @COL_EJERCITO elabore lista de OPOSITORES con cuentas y nombres de periodistas es una muestra clara de que, en ocasiones como esta, a “Inteligencia Militar” le sobra una palabra. Pavoroso, ofensivo y peligroso. Que dirá @IvanDuque comandante en jefe…
— GustavoGómezCórdoba (@gusgomez1701) March 10, 2020