Victims of massacre were commemorated and request collective reparation In Mesopotamia, Antioquia

With the support of the Victims Unit, the first commemoration was held that brings together the families of five people murdered 19 years ago in this township.


The people who left 19 years ago after the massacre of five people, their families returned for a commemorative day and memory for the victims of the first incursion of paramilitary groups in Mesopotamia.

In the local church of La Union Antioquia, families came forward to remember with photos, family experiences and anecdotes who were in life Diego Alexander Arango, Diego Armando Campo, Juan Cástulo Jiménez, Luis José Cardona and Oscar Bedoya.

Parents, children, brothers and the inhabitants present evoked in a psychosocial exercise the two high school students, a teacher, the son of a trader and the worker of a store murdered at 7:20 on the night of April 26 of the year 2000 by armed men who arrived in two vehicles.

"They took them out and put their hands on their heads and shot them gracefully. And they told me they were going to kill me, they took me to a car in handcuffs, but I managed to escape and take a stubble and I left hours later and some friends cut my handcuffs ... the next day I left from here", said Arbey Arango Ruíz, father of Diego Alexander, one of the murdered people.

For his part, Cástulo Jiménez, father of the murdered professor (Juan Cástulo), recalled that "I pressed him as father to study for a teacher" and then he was proud of "his commitment and pedagogy to teach and guide his students well".

This was the first commemoration in which the five families of victims met because almost all of them moved from the township after the massacre and continued their lives in other municipalities.

Several of them had never returned to Mesopotamia, but this year they accepted the invitation of community leaders who organized a day with the support of the Unit for Integral Attention and Reparation for Victims, Truth Commission, Adagio Corporation, Prodepaz, OIM, UNDP, Ombudsman´s office and La Unión Council.

Before the symbolic act and the Eucharistic ceremony, the families received psychosocial and legal guidance from professionals of the Victims' Unit on the meaning of the commemorative acts for their emotional recovery.

 Weimar Alfredo Hernández, leader of the unit's psychosocial team, explained that "this commemoration is a measure of satisfaction that contributes to comprehensive reparation, because those are actions that aim to compensate for moral and emotional damage and have more to do with the dignity of people, beyond an economic repair".

The official added that "it alleviates suffering when life and values ​​of the murdered people are recognized and as victims of conflict so that this does not happen again".

Cástulo Jiménez acknowledged: "This repairs because it is a peace of mind to know the history of all those who are suffering this pain and to serve as an example and to prevent events such as these from happening".

Declaration of collective reparation

The community also made a statement before the Municipal Ombudsman of La Union to repair the damage suffered by the population during armed conflict, which will be valued by the Victims Unit.

"The massacre generated a massive displacement and that is why we request that we be included as a subject of collective reparation so that the collective damages are compensated. Here we suffered victimizing acts of FARC, ELN (assassinations, kidnappings) and we had several guerrilla attacks that affected the community", explained Yuliana Arango, social leader and one of the organizers of the day.

The commemoration concluded with a musical recital and the exhibition of a video about the resilience history of Mesopotamian population. In the evening, the relatives and inhabitants met in one of the businesses where they returned to share and listen to Colombian music, as in the best times without violence and with the tranquility that they are now recovering.

Of 172 families that inhabit the township 163 moved after the massacre and have returned about 130. The recovery of the township is also evident in the reconstruction of the police station and agricultural production and fruit.