On a vacant grassy lot squeezed between several smoggy highways lies the property where Colombia’s government hopes to build a large museum paying homage to victims of the country’s long civil conflict.
But for now, the terrain occupied only by a rusted cubic metal sculpture is a reminder of how polarized this South American nation remains.
In recent weeks, the future of the Museum of Memory has become a public feud because of the director overseeing it.
President Iván Duque’s appointee – history professor Darío Acevedo – is a conservative who has expressed a view of the conflict that critics say could excuse the state of much of its responsibility for the violence.
Acevedo has rejected a draft plan for the museum’s content and has questioned the number of victims of the five-decade war. In response, some victim groups vow not to work with the historical center.
“What’s at stake is potentially losing the opportunity for the museum to be another instrument through which to build peace in Colombia,” said Rafael Tamayo, an academic who until recently served as the museum’s leader.
The idea of a Museum of Memory dates to a 2011 law that vowed to make symbolic reparations to the estimated 8.6 million victims by creating a space of documentation and reflection.