The following excerpt comes from an article that the Colombian newsmagazine Semana published yesterday on its English-language website. It discusses divisions between Colombia’s armed forces regarding investigations of past human rights abuses:
Even within the Armed Forces there has been division regarding the human rights issue. One opinion is held by [Army Chief] General [Mario] Montoya and his supporters, who are still suspicious regarding judicial proceedings. That side wants to protect its troops and claims persecution by the solicitor generalâ€™s office. Montoyaâ€™s unquestioned efficacy which transformed him into the hero of Operation â€œJaqueâ€ (checkmate) the daring rescue mission that freed Ingrid Betancourt and others from FARC captivity, is commensurate with the anachronism of his vision of military forces, anchored more in the doctrine of national security than in the philosophy of modern warfare. The other side is headed by [Armed Forces Chief] General [Freddy] Padilla de LeÃ³n, who is less of a troop commander, but has a modern and universal vision of the role of an army in a society grappling with armed conflict. For Padilla, in this stage of military confrontation, with a weakened FARC and with territorial control, the military has to put is legitimacy at the forefront, because the consolidation of the policy of democratic security depends on the confidence that the Army generates among the population.
About two hours ago, Gen. Montoya, who has faced serious human rights allegations himself, resigned his post, in the wake of the horrific new revelations of civilians being killed and presented as guerrillas or paramilitaries killed in combat.
If Semana’s interpretation is correct, this is a major blow to the hard-line, “anachronistic” military faction that Gen. Montoya represents.