Colombia: has the terrorism returned?

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Terrorism, fanaticism and a weakened peace process are the aftermaths of the attack against the Santander General School

Colombia: has the terrorism returned?

On the morning of January 17, a Nissan car, with LAF 565 plates, burst through the side door of the Santander General School. José Aldemar Rojas Rodríguez, owner of the vehicle and who was driving it, tried to enter the institution as if it were a visit.

Leer en español: Colombia: ¿ha vuelto el terrorismo?

However, the anti-explosive dogs showed signs of explosive devices inside the vehicle and alerted the guards immediately. Rojas, when surprised, accelerated the van thoroughly hitting anyone who got in his way, to get well into the institution.

As a result of this, the vehicle crashed and exploited the 80 kilos of pentolite inside it. The data reached 21 people dead and 68 wounded. Although the government clarified and found the culprits in a short period, there are still many doubts to be resolved.

Is urban terrorism returning?

Faced with this fateful event, many Colombians evoked the times when not only the car bombs but the attacks against the civilian population were common in a time of war and drug trafficking. However, it leaves much to be desired and more so when an attempt was made to establish a peace process with the armed forces of the country. There is no doubt that the different dissidents that this procedure left are still present with the ideals that once characterized them.

You may be interested in reading: Colombia said no to terrorism

A suicide attack?

However, in the history of Colombia, there had never been an event like last Thursday. This is because inside the fatalities is the driver of the car of the car bomb. It is intriguing that the same owner had lent his vehicle to perpetuate the fact, but what generates the most questions is that Rojas, once he entered the School, knew that he could be retained or shot. One might think that it is a suicide terrorist act, or as it is usually called, "a kamikaze attack."

What would represent a fact never before seen in the historical violence of Colombia; Semana reveals that while Pablo Escobar trained hitmen to perform missions that represented a great danger of capture, "there is no record of a criminal who assumes his mission with the certainty that perpetrating it will cost him his life."

It is known that Rojas, was part of the ELN for 20 years and that within this group he performed several tasks; one of them as an explosivist, according to information from the Prosecutor's Office. Also, El Tiempo said that "in the investigation, the experts affirmed that Rojas traveled to Venezuelan territory on several occasions to train people in the handling of explosives." He knew about what he was doing and still decided to immolate himself.

Faced with this is not so deranged to think that this attack is the result of an act of fanaticism that has been disguised as a terrorist act, to what extent an act of terrorism becomes fanaticism? And more when the latter "involves psychological energy savings because it does not require any intellectual work (ideas are not questioned), eliminates uncertainty, offers security and provides the emotional support of the group," as Euromind says.

A weakened peace process

The message that this terrorist attack leave is just a sample of the failures not only with the peace process with the FARC but also with the ELN. The event of January 17 was the last straw that overflowed the cup, given the atrocities that this group outside the law had perpetrated a defenseless civilian population, because although the Colombians had their doubts about possible dialogues.

The hard hand must reach for these criminals, since in the words of Ariel Ávila of the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation and dialogue with FM, "The war will continue (...) This will be something long and painful." the same media affirms that several experts agree with the increase of the conflict, "with blows from side to side, which can mean the increase of attacks, kidnappings it is not surprising that President Iván Duque raised peace talks with ELN, and ordered the capture of its top leaders. That is why and blasting of the oil infrastructure".

It is clear that the terrorist attack shows a lack of guarantees and a lack of commitment not only to the peace process of the FARC but also to the peace process with the ELN.


LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

Translated from "Colombia: ¿ha vuelto el terrorismo?"