She is 65 years old, mother of 4 children and victim of forced disappearance of her partner. Eduardo Loffsner Torres, on November 20, 1986. He is 34 years old.
He was a union leader for 45 years. First in a union of the banking sector and then in the union of the Attorney General’s Office of the Nation. Because of his work and the promise he made to his company, he did not talk about the disappearance for 14 years.
His company was a union leader at the Pedagogical University of Colombia and a militant of the “Movimiento 19 de abril”, a political-military organization during its beginnings. “I promised that if he disappeared I would not show my pain to the Colombian state by carrying his picture”.
Luz Marina, because of her union activity, joined the Attorney General’s Office in 1994 and there she was responsible for the area of human rights. In 2000 a judicial commission disappeared in the city of Valledupar, a city near the northern coast of Colombia. He went there, learned about the facts that caused the disappearance of his companions, talked to their families and returned with all this information to Bogotá. When she arrived, he received the first threat by telephone. From then on, they would not stop. However, Luz Marina never gave up her commitment and participated in the creation of the Movement of Victims of State Crimes (Movice) to vindicate the victims of crimes committed by the State, whether by its action or omission.
She was the victim of an attack by paramilitaries after having organized a march to demand justice for the disappeared civil servants. The attack had serious consequences on her health. It was then that an internationally recognized Colombian organization, the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective, CAJAR, contacted Amnesty International and took her out of the country through a project for the protection of human rights defenders in Colombia. She spent 3 years in exile in Lyon, France leaving 4 children behind.
Having participated in the creation of MOVICE has been a political commitment for her and, since its creation, she has been the national spokesperson on the issue of forced disappearance. Now, while she is in Catalonia, it is her son who is the spokesperson. Although Luz Marina never wanted to involve them in her activities, three of her four children are human rights defenders.
When did the seeds to create MOVICE begin to sprout?
In 2004 the then president Alvaro Uribe proposed a dialogue with the Colombian paramilitaries and the victims of the conflict. We put on the table that the State could not dialogue with them because they were part of the same and that we understood that the paramilitaries were an organization created, financed and supported by the Colombian State. This is when we decided to organize ourselves in September 2004 and create the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes, which formally came into being in July 2005.
And immediately the threats began.
In July we met already 7000 people in Bogotá. An assembly that was not free of problems, because the paramilitaries tried to enter where we were gathered, threatening us and showing weapons. A complicated episode. At the time, the victims’ spokesman was Iván Cepeda, who is now a congressman, the son of Manuel Cepeda, who was assassinated because he was a member of the communist party and the UP (Union Patriotatica).
We have done many activities that have generated different threats to which I have not paid much attention because I know that they are part of the political cost that the victims have to assume. Especially when the victims are generated by the Colombian state.
They do not want to recognize us as victims.
Among the victims there are victims of paramilitarism and victims of the Colombian Armed Forces, as is my case. On the one hand, this has made the State want to make us invisible and ignore the fact that we exist as victims. However, MOVICE has managed to gain a national and international audience because we have a position on what has happened in Colombia and what is happening in Colombia.
You are a defender of political rights, not only of the rights of the disappeared people, but of all the victims: victims of displacement, of selective homicide, of massacres, of threats.
MOVICE is made up of more than 200 organizations that have been victimized by direct victims and companions of victims. We have worked to make Colombian society aware of the fact that victims of state crimes do indeed exist.
And within this framework comes the Peace Process with the oldest guerrilla group in Latin America and in the country, the FARC
We, the victims, held several meetings to determine what position we would take on this dialogue that the Colombian state, under former president Juan Manuel Santos, was establishing with the FARC. We decided to support Pau’s proposal because we believe and we are convinced that Colombia needs to be a different country.
We traveled to Havana, 60 victims and we made ourselves heard and we made demands. For the first time the victims of forced disappearance were made visible and for this reason a unit for the Search for persons reported missing in the context of the armed conflict was created and the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Repetition was created.
There is also a Truth Commission.
Yes. In December of this year it will complete its three-year period, which is the time given by law. We believe that the Truth will be a partial truth because it will only investigate up to the moment of signing (2016) and things have continued to happen in Colombia. Moreover, it is a country where many people do not have access to technology and still cannot speak because they still live in areas controlled by paramilitaries and now also by drug traffickers. It will be a commission that will give a truth that we believe will not have what the victims expect.
The threats do not stop
Santos left the presidency and Duque arrived, the current president of the republic who represents the sector of the Colombian ultra-right wing of Alvaro Uribe. Internationally the idea that it supports the peace process has spread, but in practice we see that it is not true because internally in Colombia after the signing of this agreement 1277 social leaders have been assassinated, until December last year, 272 demobilized ex-combatants who believed in the possibility of peace until last December, we counted 95 massacres, and now there are already 106.
In addition, the government has taken advantage of this pandemic that has confined us to take a series of measures and issue decrees that support, fundamentally, the banking sector and has left the Colombian people unprotected.
And then came the National Strike
Prior to the pandemic, on November 20, 2019 a NATIONAL STRIKE was organized as the one that is happening now. Three days later the police assassinated a 17-year-old high school student, Dilan Cruz, in the city of Bogotá. From MOVICE we took action because clearly Dylan’s death is part of the State Crimes that we are carrying.
Then I received the first threat of 2019. From then until December last year I had 7 threats. This caused my children, who have accompanied this struggle, to worry about the security situation that I was living and as a family we determined that I had to either leave the country or keep quiet, and that is why I am currently in Catalonia.