Colombia: Controversy over Documentary that Describes Uribe as “Enemy of Peace”

A new documentary called "The Negotiation" has stirred up controversy over its depiction of former president Alvaro Uribe.

President Uribe played a key role in the “No” campaign which led to the defeat of a peace referendum by the Colombian people (Twitter).

The premiere of the documentary “The Negotiation” has caused considerably controversy in Colombia politics, with Alvaro Uribe, former president and current senator of the Centro Democratico party, accusing the documentary of distorting the truth for describing him as an “enemy of the peace” during the negotiation process.

“The Negotiation”, produced by Margarita Martínez, reveals unpublished images of the peace agreement between the ex-guerrilla of the FARC and the government of the then president Juan Manuel Santos, in Havana, Cuba.

“Gentlemen of Cinema Colombia: They lack objectivity when they accuse us, Fernando Londoño and myself, of being enemies of the peace. When the No won the plebiscite we proposed to modify the agreements, not eliminate them. The government ignored the plebiscite in an affront to democracy,” Uribe stated publicly.

While so far what is known of the documentary is just information gleaned from the trailer, the former president has clearly been perturbed by the film, and even began to comment on social media that it would be removed from the theaters of Cinema Colombia, where the film was going to be screened.

Margarita Martinez stated that “in no way are they (Uribe and allies) said to be enemies of peace.” She added that the documentary what the film does is detail an intimate look (all behind the scenes) at the negotiation process that allowed the FARC guerrillas to surrender their weapons and demobilize and then make a transition to civil and political life.

Despite what has been said by the product of capturing the objectivity of the peace process, there is also room for interpretations and subjectivities within the framework of the documentary. According to the research of Daniela Zavala, in the case of cinema, the documentary is considered to be a creative interpretation of reality, since it has a narrative mode and a subjective view.

“Reality is represented from the perspective of the author or director, so sometimes the true reality is modified.”

However, she warns that this definition in many cases is not correct, since what a documentary seeks is basically to pursue objectivity.

Enemies of peace?

Two years after the referendum on peace in Colombia, some things have changed, and although the implementation of the agreement has been slow, President Iván Duque has committed himself to honoring what was agreed to by the FARC and the Colombian state, a position which he has emphasized both nationally and internationally.

However, the hardliners in the Uribista movement continue to believe that they are not “enemies of peace”, but that their objections highlight a peace without impunity. The “No” campaign has raised serious issues with leniency in the agreement, and up until now, the agreement has had several stumbling blocks of a political and judicial nature. For now, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) tribunal created to judge the most atrocious crimes during the course of the conflict, has barely started.

The “No” voters demand that those responsible for crimes against humanity serve time in jail, and not alternative penalties. They also reject political eligibility for members of the FARC, which has now transformed into a political party. Their considerably financial resources were obtained as a result of drug trafficking and crime. “No” voters argue that these resources should be used to fund a guarantee of reparation for the victims. Additionally, they are upset that the murder of members of the armed forces is not to be regarded as a crime.

At the time, former President Santos said that the “No” vote won, the FARC guerrillas would immediately return to the jungle to wage a war that would reach the big cities.

These warnings materialized in what is now known as the FARC dissidence, which occupied the geographic strongholds of the previous guerrilla group. In addition, the whereabouts of ex-FARC Iván Márquez, and aliases “El Paisa” and “Romaña”, former guerrilla leaders who say they were “deceived,” is unknown.

While his whereabouts are unknown, the former FARC negotiator in Havana, Jesús Santrich, is in prison for conspiring to send 10 tons of cocaine to the United States. For now, the JEP is studying whether the alleged crime was committed before or after the signing of the peace agreement on December 1, 2016.

It should be recalled that in 2017 the Centro Democratico party registered a separate referendum to oppose the peace agreement. But apparently they gave up on the idea.

Cine Colombia said yes to the documentary

For a couple of hours, tickets were unavailable for “The Negotiation”, leading to speculation that Uribe’s rebuke had led Cine Colombia to cancel its screening.

This was denied by Cine Colombia, which assured that the documentary will indeed be shown.

The negotiation can be seen in theaters in Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Bucaramanga, Ibague, Barranquilla, Villavicencio, Manizales, Pereira, Monteria, Popayán, Armenia, and Cartagena, on November 29 and 30 and December 1 and 2.

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