Look how war can affect a family in Colombia. If Pablo Emilio Moncayo is not going to be liberated soon, he will celebrate his 12th anniversary as a hostage of the FARC within a few weeks. In the meantime his cousin David – also a militar – stepped on a mine which was probably also laid by the FARC. And shortly after a big conference on child soldiers in Bogotá Colombia’s daily El Tiempo published an article on ‘strange recruiting of youngsters’ by the Colombian army.While Pablo Emilio’s liberation keeps being uncertain, his family is confronted with hostility. His father Gustavo complained to El Tiempo about the accusation of being a guerrillero.
And while David steps on a landmine, in Colombia’s colonial town of Cartagena, more than 100 countries talk about how mines can be banned. The problem is that a goverment can have the best intentions, but irregular groups don’t feel obliged to obey international treaties, like the Ottawa agreement on a minefree world. And the victims are the sons and of daughters of poor families, like David.
The strangest news however comes from the town of Montería, Northern Colombia, where the army recruited young people, some under the age of 18, i.e. child soldiers. They were obliged to get into a truck, to the surprise of the neighbourhood. It remembered them of the times the paramilitaries entered the neighbourhood to force youngsters to join their cause. The army defended its procedure and it appeared that almost all the boys could return to their homes. But one wonders if this is the way to do it and the worst thing is, that it’s always the poor people who suffer from these brutal ways of acting.