In the early hours of Sunday, September 17, the president Gustavo Petro launched a fierce attack against his predecessor, Ivan Duquethrough his X account, formerly Twitter, referring to the painful episodes in which minors were killed after bombings by the Public Force during his administration.
“The Castros took care that the children had food, health and education, but you, Duke, bombed them. You thought that if the children died, communism would die, you thought so stupidly,” the head of state began by saying.
Then he added: “Perhaps the dictatorship of the one who believes that it is blessed to kill 6,402 young people, thinking that this is how communism ends, is worse than that of the Castros,” and declared: “I don’t give a damn about those who believe they are democrats with blood.” of Colombian and Cuban children in their hands.”
That comparison between the Cuban dictatorship and the government of Iván Duque did not please anyone at all. Ingrid Betancourtwho through the same social network came out in defense of the former president by calling Gustavo Petro Manichaean.
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“Very Manichean to present Castro as savior and Duque as executioner. Countless Cuban minors have died cruelly in the Cuban dictatorship and our children died forcibly recruited by the guerrillas, forcing them to fight in their war. Nothing excuses one or the other,” wrote the former presidential candidate.
Former President Duque did not remain silent either, and responded to Petro alluding to his guerrilla pastalthough without saying it directly, and also mentioned some crimes committed by the FARC and the ELN and that, according to him, were justified by the Castros.
“I have never in my life taken up a gun to kill anyone for political reasons. I have never been part of terrorist groups, nor have I justified crimes such as those of José Raquel Mercado, the Tacueyó Massacre, the takeover of the Palace of Justice or the rape and death of Gloria Lara. Many of these crimes, such as those of the ELN or the FARC, which remain unpunished, were justified by the Castros by exporting their “revolution” of hunger and oppression that detonated in countries like Colombia, the recruitment of minors, and the abuse and rape of many of them by their commanders,” the former president wrote.
He added that: “Communism is a failed model due to its barbarism, its destruction of freedoms, its destruction of institutions and its destruction of private initiative, although there continue to be intoxicated and hallucinated voices that lose the notion of reality to validate, with the evidence, the failure of that model. Humanity has rejected that system that in its name killed children, adults, the elderly, women, etc. “Communism is not progressivism, it is POVERTY for society.”
Minors in Colombia in some of the most remote and vulnerable areas have been at the crossroads between forced recruitment by illegal armed groups and attacks by the Public force.
Such was the situation during the administration of Iván Duque, who had political crises due to several of these episodes. The first of them occurred in 2019, when an air attack against FARC dissidents in Caquetá cost the lives of eight teenagers. The then Minister of Defense, Guillermo Boteroadmitted in a motion of censure that he had hidden that information.
The same thing happened on March 2, 2021, when she was killed in an air attack in Calamar, Guaviare. Yeimi Sofia Vega, a minor under 15 years old. Her mother, Amparo Merchán, told the media that her daughter had disappeared two years ago and she only learned about her when she heard her name among those killed after the bombing.
And a third episode of this style took place on September 16, 2021, when an attack in the jungle of the Litoral de San Juan against the ELN’s Western War Front left four children between 13 and 17 years old dead.