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The wars of "Doblecero"

My encounter with "Doblecero"

My cell phone rang. Across the line, from an unknown location, a man with an authoritative voice gave me exact directions and clear instructions. The commander Rodrigo Doblecero, the founder of the bloody paramilitary group Bloque Metro, had agreed to interview him. I wrote down the instructions: "Sunday, 8:30, in San Roque. Go to Puerto Berrio, Barbosa pass and turn right after Cisneros. We are in the main square in front of the church. " It was the call he had been waiting for. My time in Colombia during the summer of 2003 drew to a close. The last three months I spent traveling between Medellin and people of Grenada, in eastern Antioquia, recording the testimonies of victims of forced displacement and hearing their horror stories. The paramilitaries and guerrillas forced millions of citizens, especially women and children to leave their villages, resulting in Colombia the worst humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere.

These people were the first developers in providing data on the Colombian conflict and its complex dynamics. Illustrated in great detail how armed men had stripped them of their belongings and uprooted from their land. Some even witnessed the killing of their loved ones. So, before my anticipated meeting with Doblecero, I knew the paramilitaries and the daily acts committed through the stories of their victims. I felt his presence in the silence of those who tried to interview in his whispers and the temporary displacement, physical and emotional health of their own neighborhoods to various sites where they could feel more confident to share their stories. He was in denial of their presence through silence that the panoptic reality of paramilitaries was revealed to me. Just beginning my fieldwork in Colombia and the commander would be the first paramilitary Doblecero with which I would be face to face. At dawn, as Medellin still asleep, I left for San Roque with a friend. In Niquía just on the outskirts of Medellin, passed easily through a checkpoint of the Army and head toward Puerto Berrio, through Barbosa and Cisneros. From there, a steep, unpaved road entered a narrow green valley, leading up to a plateau. He left the world as we knew behind me, I was about to penetrate a dense jungle filled with uncertainties and dangers, as Marlow, a seaman in The Heart of Darkness Josep Conrad, traveling to an unexplored area of Africa in search of Kurtz, the head of a colonial station.

"I was entering a completely unknown world

for me. The waters, to widen, flowed through

wooded islands, lost in that river was so easy

as lost in a desert trying to find the

course clashed throughout against sandbanks

"I came to have the sensation of being haunted, far

of all things once known ... so far from everything ...

Once in another life ... Those major areas

lay before us and closed again, as if the forest

gradually had put one foot in the water to cut

withdrawal at the time of return. Penetrated

deeper and deeper into the dense heart of darkness. "

In a very slow pace and zigzagging for nearly nine miles, and not without difficulty, we reached a plateau after about two hours. On the horizon we could see the town of San Roque. In this place I began to understand how hostile geography had forged the life and imagination of people in parts of Colombia, making it difficult to perceive their country as a nation.

During the trip I tried to imagine my appointment with Doblecero and wondered about its outcome. By that time I did not know much about it, just that he had been an officer of the Colombian Armed Forces, at the end of the nineties had formed the Metro Block, which struck terror in Medellin and Antioquia. He faced a ruthless struggle for Medellín with the Bloque Cacique Nutibara, which in late 2001 ousted the Bloque Metro and subdued the city. Almost at San Roque find another military checkpoint on the outskirts of town and a new concern occupied my thoughts since I did not know how to justify my notebooks, digital camera-and ultimately-our presence as foreigners in an unsafe place for tourists . "What should I say? What should I reveal to me and how much? Or should I invent a story? Perhaps I should say that I am a journalist? What about what I write? "I decided not to reveal what my meeting with the commander Rodrigo although their presence in the region, he was sure, was no secret, especially for the military. While searching frantically an idea that would allow me to disguise my intentions, I felt the power that each secret means, silence and lies that revealed not only the presence of the commander Rodrigo around, but my relationship with him invisible. Now, through him, the soldiers and I were joined by that bond too. The military patrol composed of four or five soldiers stopped our vehicle, which was also the only one who approached the village for many hours.

"Good morning. Down the car. Their papers, please. " An Italian soldier looked at my passport, he ordered me rest my hands on the ceiling, with arms stretched while another sought in my pockets, this requisitioned my waist and my legs. The other examined the car carefully, looking under the seats in each compartment and the trunk. Soldiers ojearon my notebook, check out my recorder and my camera, but dared not ask any questions about my presence there since that early morning on a Sunday. In fact, there was no need to offer any excuse for what we all knew already: the public secret of the presence of the commander Rodrigo and his men in San Roque, and my impending meeting with him. In our mutual silence because not exchange any words with the exception of greetings and goodbyes, we reveal our common bond with the commander Rodrigo.

The secret, according to Elias Canetti's account in his book Crowds and Power, Is the basis of power, Foucault says that power is tolerable only on condition that it mask a substantial part of itself. The secret, therefore, belong to the dark bowels of a society and its functions as a second world between the manifest world, a second body encased in the former. Wherever there is power, there are secret, but not just the secret behind the power base, but also the public secret, as stated by the anthropologist Michael Taussig, University of Columbia:

"What if the truth rather than a secret, a secret

public as is the case of social knowledge

Most importantly, know what there is to know? ... in fact,

Shared secrets are not these the foundations of our

social institutions, the workplace, the marketplace,

family and state? Is not this the most public secret

Interestingly, the most powerful, the most misleading and ubiquitous

active form of social knowledge? In comparison,

we call doctrine, ideology, conscience,

beliefs, values, and even speech degenerates into a

insignificance sociological and philosophical banality: from

fact is the role and life force of the public secret

to keep the border where the secret is not destroyed

when exposed, but subject to a completely

different revelation that does justice. "

In other words, the public secret Taussig is the oil that allows the wheels of society to give back. Without the knowledge public secret that hides actively shared-there would be no society, since it is the public secret that binds the social forces that are in conflict. In Colombia there is a secret bond that binds the public with silence, the secrecy of the truth

on the presence of paramilitaries and their alliances. "The silence and secrecy," he writes, are a shelter for power. "

If the public secret is the cement of society, ie the power base, then silence is the bond that unites the power and the public with a secret knowledge that can not be easily articulated words, in silence, and in the silence, is revealed and at the same time consolidating the power of control, which explains the aforementioned phrase Canetti.)

Once we said goodbye to the soldiers parked the car in front of the church, as agreed, and we expect few minutes before three men came and surrounded the car. After finding my identity and after a stressful confusion about my name, "one of the paramilitaries, in her twenties, got into the car and leave with him on San Roque by a narrow dirt road. We stopped in front of a humble house where a woman mopped the front. While parked on your property without permission or she did not show impatience or discomfort seems indifferent to our presence, continued his work as were there. It was a normal abnormality. People passing by on horseback, casting furtive glances and curious.

I joined the public secret increasingly Doblecero and paramilitaries. After one half hour at last came the commander Rodrigo driving a four-wheel truck, escorted by two men and a dog. They all wore military uniforms but the only one who wore dark glasses was the commander so I could not look into his eyes. All were heavily armed, each carrying a rifle with telescopic sight and a gun in his belt.

We were invited to go up to his truck and I sat forward, next to Rodrigo, who put his rifle next to my left leg and could not help noticing how cold metal pressed my thigh. "How many times have you been in Colombia?" He asked. "This is the fourth time. Colombian I almost feel at this point, "I replied jokingly. With this, the commander exploded in laughter as I considered spontaneous and open.

After traveling another dirt road for twenty minutes or so, we arrive at an abandoned cabin that was visible from a wide green valley. The beautiful and inviting landscape contrasted with the cool weapons of violence and war. We sat on a porch ready to begin our conversation, he showed off his glasses and a look that was anything but cruel, cold, or lying, was different to what I was expecting. Her large dark eyes puzzled me. I thought it would be hard to imagine this paramilitary commander in his role as father, with a quiet life with his wife and daughter, which could only visit underground and not very often, things to know later.

Doblecero took a pen and a sheet of paper in their hands and sketched a map of Colombia. "Draw some lines here, he said, and began to lecture on the history of their country. It began with the War of a Thousand Days and outlined political developments that led to violence and subsequent formation of the National Front in 1957. I turned on the recorder.

My meeting with Doblecero happened at a crucial and very difficult for him and his men. Faced a major military offensive by those who had been their allies, namely the AUC, led by Carlos Castaño, and the Colombian army, which-as stated by the public secret Medellin had always been his side, protecting and supporting her former officer. The infighting began when Doblecero refused to comply with the order given by Brown to demobilize and integrate the negotiating table with the Colombian government. The leader of the Bloque Metro had requested a separate forum to the negotiation, because he refused to sit with drug lords, as alias Don Berna, chief of the paramilitary group Bloque Cacique Nutibara, which was now after Doblecero and his men. The two rival factions have been fighting since May for the area where our interview was taking place just at the end of August 2003, and had already caused the displacement of 600 peasants. The Bloque Metro was losing the territory that had dominated for more than seven years, and only kept some municipalities under its control. Likewise, for the moment, 500 of his men had deserted to join its rival. Doblecero was losing the war. By late September the group was already destroyed and he had fled to the nearby Rodadero in the area of Santa Marta.

Resume contact by email in March 2004. On the conflict between paramilitaries me wrote:

"After we spoke last time it happened a number of facts, after which, our military structures have practically disappeared. That is something quite interesting from a political standpoint, since which for us has been shown that to deal with a joint attack by the armies of drug traffickers and the national government would have to resort to drug trafficking as a method of financing and terrorism as a method of struggle. They do not go according to our ideological views on the crisis in Colombian society and the role we should play ourselves into it as part of the solution and not part of its extension. Because of this balance we did and we decided not to appeal or to one or the other, we suffered a defeat, militarily, and we have preserved our ideology and our political structures. "

Doblecero I proposed to write the story of his life and for three months the Metro Bloc leader shared his testimony with me. His post was only occasionally long and frequent. Our conversation continued until a few days before he was assassinated on a street in Rodadero, 27 May 2004. She was 39.

Doblecero's testimony is unique because of the role he played during the years that the paramilitaries in Colombia extended its domain. Retired army officer, educated by Jesuits, had been commander Doblecero military adviser of the Castaño brothers and confidant of some sectors of the elite in Antioquia.

One night during a meeting with some friends in Medellin shared with them my work with Doblecero. A lawyer for Medellin, invited by one of my friends, was listening intently. When I finished my story the lawyer stood up and congratulated me for having known Doblecero. He said the paramilitary leader was a true patriot who sacrificed his life for his country. He was not like the other paramilitary leaders linked to drug trafficking, who undermined the project of the self-assured to the lawyer .Comparó Doblecero with members of Congress who were behind bars, accused of being accomplices of the paramilitary. He knew them personally and could ensure that all were true patriots who made deals with groups of self-defense only in the interests of the nation.

He had no head that would have made upon those arrests, which he considered profoundly unjust. Never, as that night in Medellin, as he listened to the lawyer, "I could feel and touch the passion and strong motivation for decades fueled the dark alliance between the death squads and some Colombian elites. All in the name, not of death and terror, but of life for a better life. These emotions and interests have deepened and prolonged the war, adding to the spiral of death and horror that has plunged the country into darkness.

In his conversations with me Doblecero never admitted that behind his ideas and intentions, which communicated with noble words and masked with honorable values, there was an unacceptable life of violence and death. The more I asked about their experience and their reasons, most struggled to justify and make sense of elections that had taken over his life

Perhaps trying to convince, as Medellin's lawyer, that his life had meaning and purpose. That all happened with his life had been for the good of Colombia that Doblecero always defined as a country "beautiful."

One day, he suddenly asked me: "You do think of this? What is the interest of their work? I would like to know more about their work. For me, until now, speak to you has been helpful and a form of self-analysis.

Maybe I'm still in the process of finding a comprehensive and satisfactory response to questions from Doblecero that tormented me for a while. Throughout my years of fieldwork in Colombia as an anthropologist, while collecting the testimonies of victims and paramilitaries, often came to my mind the story of Gilles de Rais, a psychopath who terrorized century France xv. This murderer was sexually abused, tortured and murdered hundreds

of French children, first kidnapping, hiding in one of his many castles, locked in a room of torture and death and then strangled while sexually stimulated. The final act, as often happened with the paramilitaries was to chop the bodies.

The French philosopher Georges Bataille provides an effective description of de Rais:

Imagine a reign of terror almost silent, which is always growing, and fear of reprisals from the victims parents hesitate to talk. The anguish is that of a feudal world where imposing shadows of great strengths ... In the presence of the fairytale castles of Gilles de Rais, who eventually people called Bluebeard's castle, we have an obligation remember the killings of these children, presided over by fairies witches but not a bloodthirsty man.

Bataille presents the horrors of De Rais without the slightest embarrassment, inviting the reader not to move away from violence. That attitude, not to deny violence, brightened my work on the paramilitaries in Colombia. I can not turn a blind eye to violence and consider it only as something aberrant and alien environment in which armed groups continue to multiply like crazy. Even when it is disturbing, Bataille's essay is an invitation to take on crime and perversion, like death, as integral parts of humanity, and a call to reject the temptation to exclude them. This point needs to be recognized if one day we propose an alternative to violence.

Bataille notes that violence violates bodily integrity, the order of things, and any limits. Suggests that de Rais can not be understood without considering the larger forces at play and found themselves in De Rais, and that this could not control: "His crimes arose from the huge mess that it decomposed, decomposing it, and disarticulated. In the quest to solve my academic curiosity about the violence of the paramilitaries,

I need to recover for analysis and research my own experience, the feeling fragmented and overwhelmed by this, I need to incorporate it into my philosophical reasoning about life and its dynamics. The universe, "wrote an American poet, is not composed of atoms but of stories, and this is the story of a man who ended up tangled in a vortex of terror and death. Doblecero's life is a reflection not only of the dirty war in Colombia, but thought "purge" that inspired and justified such violence. Hopefully this story, this part of a shared universe, serves to understand and to find a way out.

Aldo Civico

September 2009


  • Pues creo que te ha quedado muy pero que muy bien la traduccion, todo es bastante logico y con muchisimo sentido, claro esta. A ver si traduces mas textos, seria genial.

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