He left before his time

June was marked by a public apology issued by the Colombian State, through the Minister of Defense and Armed Forces, to the family of Jose Lorenzo Taborda Taborda. 

Perhaps this young man’s story can join the list, sadly so long, of the horrific practice of what are called ‘false positives’, executions of civilians carried out illegally by members of State security forces and manipulated by them to be made to appear as the lawful killing of guerrillas in combat, for the purpose of “showing results” in the Colombian armed conflict. The Council of State found the Nation guilty of this crime against humanity in September 2015.

Jose Lorenzo disappeared in March 2007.  A year and half later, his family was informed that he had been killed while fighting against the Army during operations by Infantry Battalion No. 44 ‘Ramon Nonato Perez’ in Casanare department.  His case drew attention because of his mental disability, “a child in a grown-up’s body who didn’t know the meaning of evil, he didn’t know how to harm anyone, and he didn’t know the meaning of letters either. All we know is that Jose Lorenzo left us too soon, and by the sinister will of some men whose hands will be stained for all eternity with the blood of innocents”.

These words, spoken by Fernando Kekhan (of the Foundation Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners – FCSPP) the lawyer who represents the victim’s family, moved and stirred our souls.  The young man’s family decided not to attend, because, whilst their hearts must bear the death of their loved one, those who were responsible continue to enjoy their freedom.

Delphine Taylor

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