Mass graves uncovered in Colombia

The accidental discovery of mass graves outside in Colombia has raised questions about the victims and what role the US might have played.

Mass graves have been found in Colombia, and while the army has claimed responsibility for the bodies, many questions surround the site.

The mass graves were discovered last year outside a Colombian army base in La Macarana, a rural area south of the capital, Bogota. None of the 2,000 bodies in the site have been identified, but they are believed to be victims of Colombia’s ongoing “false positive scandal,” in which civilians are killed and then disguised as militants.

Adrienne Pine, professor of anthropology at American University in Washington, DC, says that Colombia’s system of paying fighters for killing insurgents is to blame.

“Colombia has received $6 billion in US aid, 80 percent of it military,” said Pine. “Troops are paid for how many FARC insurgents they kill, so the military has started killing civilians to justify the funding they are getting from the US military.”

These accusations directly tie US aid to a massive human rights violation, yet the issue is not being covered in the mainstream media.

“I think the mainstream US media has an interest in not portraying the US government negatively,” said Pine. “The US government has been directly involved in training the Colombian military to root out insurgents. Over 10,000 Colombian soldiers have received training at the School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia.”

The accidental discovery of this mass grave implies that more exist. The deepening of this scandal could affect not only Colombia’s upcoming presidential elections, but also the close relationship between the US and Colombia. US President Barack Obama and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe signed an agreement last year to allow the US military access to more Colombian military bases.