“On the border with Ecuador there is a new war”: Governor of Nariño


The department of Nariño, especially Tumaco and the border area with Ecuador, does not live in times of peace. Now it is the center of operations of armed groups that after the signing of the peace agreement with the FARC occupied lands left by the old guerrilla to spread fear among the population. On these issues, as well as on alias Guacho, the FARC dissident most wanted by Ecuador and Colombia after the murder of the three members of the newspaper El Comercio, the governor of Nariño, Camilo Romero, spoke with El País. Read also: These are the difficulties in capturing ‘Guacho’, the man who dreads the border Do you think that the growing actions of ‘Guacho’ is because the government did not pay due attention to the issue of dissent? This is to see it in context. To point out the Government as responsible does not seem to me, but it must be said that for me there was a strategic error in the implementation of peace in our department. What is your opinion of a group such as the Army Task Force Hercules, which today has the mission of finding alias Guacho? I can not imagine the scenario of the department of Nariño without the support and strengthening of the Public Force and more in the reality that there is, as is the new war that has already hit, even, the neighboring country of Ecuador. Governor, do you feel alone with the whole border problem? No. But we are waiting for results from those who have been delegated to the security issue and we hope that they are positive. Why Nariño has not been able to overcome the armed conflict? Basically because the State has had an integral presence. I remember in March 2016 the statements of President Santos that Tumaco was going to be the laboratory for the substitution of illicit crops and months later we saw him in Briceño, Antioquia, launching the pilot plan to substitute crops. Do you think President Santos is not interested in the Pacific region? I can not say that, in fact I have to admit that it is the President who has invested the most, for example, in Tumaco, on the Pacific Coast, but before the signing of peace. Now what we have had is only accountability after the signing and not investment. We believed that peace should mean much more than the signing of an agreement, which was the opportunity for our communities and that is what has not happened. Governor, how is ‘Guacho’ operating in Narino territory? The main scenario of this man is Tumaco, a very large municipality that has great potential and has an important geographical position. It gives me pain of country to say that this strategic value understood it ‘Guacho’ and the criminality. What is your opinion of the announcement by the president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, that this country will no longer be a guarantor in the dialogues with the ELN? Today we have a new war that has hit Ecuador, with consequences as strong as the cancellation of the dialogue table with the ELN. That is to say, we were not able to build our own peace and what we did was to hit with our war an absolutely peaceful country like Ecuador and now they are returning this difficult news for our nation that is to raise the dialogue table in Quito. What diagnosis has been made of the security problem in Nariño? With the authorities we are talking about seven illegal organizations, especially on our Pacific coast and the Cordillera, which of course, affects the border with Ecuador. Last October, nine peasants were killed in the rural area of ​​Tumaco in the midst of crop eradication operations. How do you see the problem of the coca leaf in your department? We are on the stage for a war, because we have the most illicit crops. Here it was preferred to attack the producers and what we have is that 50,000 families survive with illicit crops. There are several alternatives that have been tried, such as fumigation, eradication and some substitution. Fumigation, for example, generates displacement of these families, who decide to go sowing elsewhere. Do you think then that the strategy against illicit crops has been more combative than social? What I want to warn is that it is not only a problem that can be addressed from crime, but also from the social problem. Of not solving the problem of those 50,000 families, because the situation is getting worse. The same will happen with the eradication, the Public Force passes and in six months, perfectly, there could be new plantings. That is why I believe that the exit is the substitution of illicit crops, but in an integral way, that does not remain in a welfare issue because families end up spending those pesos. Do the communities of your department, especially in the border area, have reported displacements or threats of dissent or other illegal groups? There was a pamphlet supposedly from the dissident group ‘Front Sinisterra Oliver’ of ‘Guacho’, where they warned communities of their actions. It was something of social cleansing, but its veracity was not proven. But what I do want to point out is that we must be respectful of the human rights of the people who have nothing to do with this conflict. Last week he was in Cali visiting the Valle del Pacifico Events Center and we saw a video where he was with President Santos crossing words in the middle of claims. What was he saying to the President? I was telling the President to allow us to speak, because we were on the agenda. The only thing I asked was a minute of silence within my five minutes of intervention, a minute of silence for the dozens of victims in Nariño and for the seven Ecuadorians who have fallen in this war that still persists in our country, here there is war and there are the facts, nobody can hide them in our territory and you can not cover the sun with a finger. And what did the President respond? The President explained that this was not on the agenda, which is false, and that they have never done it in other places. Next to each chair where the governors were going to sit, there was a microphone, if they invited us to a panel, they could not leave us without adornment if it was a minimal intervention, it was not an argument, it was something basic in a democracy: to speak in front of What is happening now? Did you read it as a silencing of President Santos? I do not want to do more interpretations, I already said everything on Twitter. The only thing I was looking for was a minute of silence for the dozens of victims and the murdered Ecuadorians, the three members of the newspaper El Comercio and four Marines from Ecuador.


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