Colombia’s Truth Commission files historic report on political violence

Colombia Truth Commission political violence
Colombia’s President-elect Gustavo Petro was present at the released of the Truth Commission’s final report. Photo: Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda/EFE

Colombia’s Truth Commission made history on Wednesday after presenting its final report on political violence in the country between 1985 and 2018, shortly after a peace agreement was reached between the state and most armed groups. 

The report — a large-scale, 10-volume job that took more than three years of work — counted 450,664 murders between 1985 and 2018, although under-reporting of cases could mean a higher real number of victims, closer to 800,000.

Paramilitary groups were responsible for 45 percent of the murders compiled by the commission (205,028), while left-wing guerrillas were responsible for 27 percent (122,813), led by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s (FARC) 96,952 victims. Another 12 percent died at the hands of state actors.

Looking ahead, the report recommended negotiations with the still-active National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group, reestablishing international relations with Venezuela, an end to drug prohibitionism, and changes in Colombia’s armed forces.

President-elect Gustavo Petro was among the attendants at the presentation, declaring that the commission’s recommendations should be followed to prevent a repetition of the conflict.