Explosion in Colombia Strengthens Latin America’s Commitment to Peace

By Dialogo
August 17, 2010

After a car bomb filled with 50 kilograms of ammonium nitrate fuel-oil detonated on one of Bogota’s major streets, the result has been a strengthened outcry from Colombia and Latin America for a commitment to peace and a right to freedom of expression.

The vehicle was strategically placed next to Colombia’s major radio network, Caracol, and close to the headquarters of Spanish news agency Efe, where it exploded Thursday morning, causing damages to more than 400 surrounding buildings, injuries to 36 people and no deaths, said Globovision.

Newly inaugurated Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos arrived at the scene shortly after to assess the damage, and announced, “They [the perpetrators] want to generate fear in the population,” and asked Colombians not to be intimidated. “On the contrary, [the attack] reminds us that we cannot let down our guard,” he said, asking the population to remain calm and continue with normal life, according to Efe.

“We will continue to combat terrorism with everything we have,” he added, reported BBC Mundo.

Bogota Chief of Police, General Cesar Augusto Pinzon, announced they are investigating the exact causes of the attack and revealed there are several theories, but refrained from attributing responsibility to any single group until investigations are concluded. He too, assured the terrorists that “these acts will not deter us from our security policies,” reported BBC Mundo.

A general outcry followed the attack and expressions of support came from within Colombia and the rest of Latin America through various media outlets.

Former Colombian presidential candidate for the Green Party, Antanas Mockus, said via Twitter social network, “The act of putting sacred lives at risk destroys the possibility of conversation.”

Argentina’s government regretted the attack and stressed that terrorist acts “will not be allowed to deter the pacifist and democratic will of South American nations,” according to Efe.

The Brazilian government expressed its support of the Colombian government for the defense of its citizens’ safety and its solidarity with the victims and relatives, while “strongly” condemning the attack, reported Xinhua.

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said, “these cowardly attacks are aimed to cause fear and harm the freedom of speech, so they don’t have a place in a democratic country like Colombia,” according to Xinhua. Meanwhile, Peru, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Venezuela all joined to express common sentiments of solidarity and support for the victims and Colombia’s commitment to a peaceful and democratic State, reported the same source.

Colombian local media also assured they would neither be “intimidated nor silenced” by the bombing and similar actions.