The Courage to Uncover the Politics and Lies Behind the Carnage in Colombia

A member of FARC's Sixth Front on guard with his weapon in a demobilization camp in the final days before they hand in their arms back to the government on December 28, 2016, in Miranda, Colombia. (Photo: Kaveh Kazemi / Getty Images)A member of FARC’s Sixth Front on guard with his weapon in a demobilization camp in the final days before they hand in their arms back to the government on December 28, 2016, in Miranda, Colombia. (Photo: Kaveh Kazemi / Getty Images)

For decades, the people of Colombia were assaulted and killed by paramilitaries, drug cartels and FARC — with a corrupt government deeply involved. Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno writes about predation and hope for a war-torn nation in There Are No Dead Here: A Story of Murder and Denial in Colombia. Get the book now with a donation to Truthout.

Amidst the horror of the internal Colombian war, Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno finds that individuals can have an impact on exposing the toxic truth of gruesome massacres and torturous deprivation. In There Are No Dead Here: A Story of Murder and Denial in Colombia, Sánchez-Moreno singles out three people whose heroic efforts made a difference in a brutal time. The following excerpt is about one of those persons, investigative journalist Ricardo Calderón.

“Have you ever seen someone be eaten alive by ants?” The question took investigative journalist Ricardo Calderón aback, but the man beside him kept talking, matter-of-factly pointing at an anthill surrounded by four stakes with chains attached to them. “They tie up informants and guerrillas there and coat them with panela [a form of cane sugar]. They last about three days while the ants eat them.” The lawyer was giving Calderón a tour in early 2006 of a vast ranch on a mountaintop near the Magdalena River owned by his client, a paramilitary leader known as “The Eagle.” The Eagle’s lawyer had invited Calderón several times to visit the ranch and talk to his boss. In addition to the anthill, Calderón noticed a large board to which the paramilitaries tied their victims before doing target practice on them, a swimming pool shaped like a guitar, with a bar and jukebox next to it, and a massive house. Farther out, the lawyer had told Calderón,…

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