I have spent four weeks in Colombia, and my work is going well. I have collected some bibliography that I hope will be very useful for my dissertation proposal. It includes some literary criticism about the authors I intend to study, about literature and violence in Colombia, and about the Colombian armed conflict. After months of making contact with the organizations that work with victims, I have finally had a breakthrough. I was allowed to search an archive from the Comisión Nacional de Reparación y Reconciliación, containing interviews with war victims. I started today and I hope to find some interesting testimonies and to get a broader picture of what the commission is doing. I had an interview with Ayda Martínez, a journalist that works for the CNRR and is in charge of “La hora de las víctimas”, a radio program dedicated to the victims and the process of justice and redress. It was very interesting talking to her, because she has traveled throughout the country with the CNRR, interviewing victims, and she says that despite the concerns for their security many victims are actually willing to be recognized and made visible. They don’t want to remain anonymous, as one might expect. Ayda Martínez told me today about two CNRR projects for collecting testimonies in Barranquilla, on the Atlantic Coast, and Bucaramanga, in the north-eastern region of Colombia. In Barranquilla, written testimonies are being collected, while in Bucaramanga, there is an exhibit of letters addressed by victims to their missing loved ones. I’m planning to contact the CNRR in those cities and, if my schedule and my budget allow it, I would like to visit those archives.
Carlos Rojas is a PhD Candidate in Spanish and Portuguese at NYU