4.1. Scale I: “The Global Expertise of Transitional Justice”
To reestablish the victims’ equality, bring them to trust the state, and reincorporate their condition as full citizens are some of the fundamental elements of the framework of Colombian transitional justice. The penetration of international channels into the jargon of the model was central to that bureaucratic creation of transitional justice: as soon as the tasks that had to be carried out became a “system,” we would need a “legal framework” to organize the situation and a number of technical bureaucracies to develop it. This activated the creation of the technocracies for peace, the conflict as expertise, and its instruments, language, and tools as apolitical work tools [18
]. The framework also provided the field of work with the necessary legitimacy:
The challenge is to turn this into a technique. We don’t need people to think, how does he do it? We don’t want them to think that because we work in transitional justice, we are necessarily philanthropists, gentle benefactors, or left-wing idealists, because all of those sitting here have been labeled many times, not just as left-wing, but as part of the guerrilla. People have to respect this. People have to recognize that this is something complex that they have to know about. So, for example, expertise in comparative politics is fundamental: people begin to respect me when I say that I’m an expert in the inter-American system but even more so when I can tell them the three last transition processes in the world off by heart9.
This is how the emphasis on the fulfillment of international standards triggered the arrival in Colombia of a humanitarian technocracy, which, with its expertise in public international law and compared methodologies, began to build a bureaucratic humanitarianism of sorts within our borders.
In this specialized language, the victims of the crimes committed during the internal armed conflicts have the right to receive appropriate reparation to the damage perceived, and re-establish the state of things to the situation prior to the victimizing act (even if it is meager). Reparation is the way in which the transitional justice model imagines dealing with the problems of economic inequality. The restorative logic in Colombian transitional justice is clear in all ICHR guidelines [22
] and fulfills the principle of restitutio in integrum10
. The reparation measures must therefore be effective, pertinent, professional, and non-discriminatory. The protectionism of these reparations, all of them “transformative and integral” as stated by the law, were such that they have turned into a new social policy in Colombia. However, coming from the Colombian discussion about land restitution as I have explained above, the transformative and integral reparations turn into a new social policy that, within the scheme, paradoxically do not recognize the problem of inequality as something structural to the conflict, but rather as a contingency, something that happens as an effect of the war and that must be repaired. In the voice of the international officers that I interviewed—all of them related with the Uribista
perspective—the Colombian conflict is a problem of terrorism, not one of inequality.
Reparation is at the heart of all of this. And land is at the heart of reparation. It is at the heart, because it creates a re-establishment of the law and justice, with the state as referee, redistributing within the framework of social justice. Those that criticize peace have not understood this. Reparation does not create expensive outlays for the state. The state only referees these operations; it only reintegrates what’s been seized. And this is a great promise of justice for those who have lost everything11.
The expression of this official is thus replicating Uribe’s version of the land problem in Colombia. For example, that there has been displacement has only been an effect of the actions of terrorist groups. However, it was something that happened contiguously and that the state can repair without much effort. Reparation, therefore, brings social justice, despite the fact that the state does not design social benefits to respond to the problem of the conflict and acts as a “mere referee.” Various authors have already pointed out that the policy of reparations substituted the state articulation of social and economic demands using the jargon proper to the conflict, where other types of concepts such as “restitution,” “reparation,” and “guarantees of non-repetition” became the new state framework for social policy [17
]. Surprisingly, in this new language, the reparation and guarantees of non-repetition end up being conceptualized as basic social and economic rights, without this being their goal, given that the state understands its intervention there as a mere intermediation that “regresses the effects of the conflict.”12
However, this emphasis on reparation as social justice would also exhaust any efforts to consider the problem of poverty and redistribution in Colombia, making them marginal and supplementary, and narrowing them to mere “reparation.” As such, the government would create work technologies and operational structures that turn social problems into mere accessories [23
]. We will see how, while for the victims the care processes represent life alternatives, for the design of the conflict “social benefits” do not exist among its concerns. That is: while for land claimants the problem is that the dispossession plunged them into poverty, the bureaucratic reasoning that deals with these problems only sees it as an effect of the evil acts of the terrorist narco-guerrillas. This is the way in which states in late liberalism conceal neoliberal structures [24
], and this, of course, has had much to do with designs offered by transitional justice to “generate development” [18
However, in the specific case of the Colombian conflict, this transmutation (of the social merged into the transitional) comes about through land. As I mentioned earlier, land appears as an unkept promise. At the same time, the hope for structural change conceals opposing operations: the difficulty of change, the marginalization of debates on redistribution and the continuity of historical problems.
This is paradoxical. One of the peculiarities of the model of Colombian transitional justice is, as well as its focus on victims, its concern for issues of redistribution; in other words, land. This deals with one of the most significant critiques of the traditional transitional justice model; that is, its concentration on political and civil issues that focus transition on institutional strengthening (rule of law, accountability and guarantee of rights) before discussing social problems [25
]. Surprisingly, the Colombian conflict deals with the social by redistributing land despite the fact that, as we saw earlier, it acts as a “mere referee.”
This “gain,” for some, comes from the victory of the diagnoses of the social sciences with respect to the domestic conflict. Since the 1990s, Colombian academia has been working on land concentration as one of the biggest fundamental problems in Colombia. This connection between land and structural Colombian problems comes full circle with the involvement of historians and anthropologists as the main researchers of the public agencies in charge of operating restitution, in what we could call academic bureaucracy [20
]. This bureaucracy is concerned with historicizing the past and building complex trajectories of dispossession, turning it into the central and biggest problem of the conflict. This is fully described by the platitude Colombia’s problem is land,
which I have referred to above.
The engines of the post-conflict setting moved. Land appeared to be mediating this drive for a pacification that seemed revolutionary, despite the fact that the actual effects of restitution as redistribution are marginal. The next section deals with the tensions of this supposed revolution.
4.2. Scale II: National Programming and the Promise of Land
Following the enactment of Law 1448 in October 2013, the Comptroller General of the Republic- (Contraloría General de la República- CGR) issued the “II Monitoring Report for the Land Restitution Process—CGR System of Indicators for the Follow-up and Monitoring of Land Restitution” [26
]. For the CGR, in charge of supervising the transparency and good operations of the national treasury, the building of indicators was very important in providing a quantitative view of the advances of the public policy. It is not very difficult to deduce, therefore, that within the division of tasks of the national public powers, designed according to the neoliberal scheme in the New Public Management fashion, the government delegated the organism of fiscal control as the leading entity in charge of the evaluation of the implementation of the Victims Law. This, of course, means that the emphasis of this evaluation is marked by criteria of economic and technical efficiency, excluding other institutional arrangements that favor different evaluation logics.
The indicators formulated by the CGR are exclusively dedicated to quantifying the state of the land restitution processes. This has a very important impact on the everyday nature of the bureaucracy of the conflict. The Colombian government quickly created a battery of indicators that would reveal the state of the process. One that would show numbers, despite the fact that these numbers do not show great progress made in the redistributive transformation promised by the restitution. As shown in the Land Restitution Unit’s statistical report, only 2% of the land has changed hands. Despite this, the numbers look impressive but mean nothing. Indicators are always shown to have many numbers, numbers that are there to suggest that the government has “done something.” The management indicators are therefore related not only to the state of the process (advances in the bureaucratic procedure and indices for restituted or near-restituted lands: a success index) but also to the area in which the land was registered, where the claim was presented, where the land is located, and how long the claim has been in process (as context indicators).
Well... right, I know that for the government, what is important is the land. I understand it as a question of justice. They also want to know who took their land away because both the money and the guilty party are right there, or something like that. But what we see here, day in day out, is not a need for land. It is what people need to buy their food every day. What good is land? The people that come here are people who are uprooted already, and they don’t want to go back. But they need help here. That is the problem13.
Understood as an essential element of the law and its measurement factors, land is perceived with unease by the base-level public officials. Land synthesizes the desire held by others, an anxiety for alien justice. However, for the law, land itself does things. It is an agent. Public officials recognize that, in the letter of the law, the liberal spirit emerges to recognize that land brings dignity, freedom and autonomy. Land is therefore seen as a factor of development, of progress [27
]. The naturalization of land as a dignifying agent at the center of the conflict is configured within the cultural production of the state, vis-à-vis the socialization of the law. Below are some of the images (Figure 2
) in the frequently asked questions section of the Ministry of Agriculture’s leaflet on land restitution [28
In the images, land is turned into bodies. It merges with their heads, hearts, and chests, thus hiding the social relations that allow this value to be delivered, for this value to be linked to this type of accumulation and the inequalities that this belief hides. The legal discourse constructs these connections, linking the land with dignity and autonomy. From this liberal vision within which land produces development, as well as individual dignity, many already pivot around the subject of land as a human right [29
]. For technocracy, as for early academic diagnoses, land encompasses a dignifying value with civilizing effects: it teaches us to be independent and economically valuable, it makes us responsible, and it makes us better citizens. Land turns us into “agents.”
Land also has great potential to generate results. One of the bureaucrats that were devising the control system for restitution management asserted this in the following terms:
The good thing about land is that you can measure it, quantify it. That’s why if you see the monitoring system indicators, they are given in terms of plots that are included, plots allocated through rulings, microfocused plots. The social programs are complex to measure, because it is difficult to see the capacities they generate in people. But not with land. Land is something you can count and say, look, this has advanced by x percent. This is very different14.
However, the fetish for land hides the social relations that construct these values. Works such as that of Sergio Latorre, for example, have been careful in showing the figure of formalization, in bureaucratic devices that are willing to reproduce hierarchies and exclusions. Land is an object that is “created” through public rituals, technologies of power, and dynamics of exclusion, that turn it into an object on a piece of paper (a deed), that gathers the pre-capitalist fiction of work, of agricultural production [30
]. We set up the National System of Comprehensive Care and Reparation for Victims focusing on land. However, the ensuing scale of this work will bring to light the operational difficulties of this form of production of the meaning of the conflict in grassroots bureaucracies.
4.3. Scale III: Restitution and Street Level Bureaucrats
The robustness of the measurement tool designed in 2013 seems to rupture when we seek to monitor the lines of action or the execution processes: who measures these and when. The measurement imagines the state as a perfect Fordist production machine, in which everything is interlocked. Despite this, by 2014, the entities in charge of the restitution procedure had not reached capital cities like Cali, home to a greater flow of displaced people. In sum: there was no one to undertake the task. In Bogotá, they had already decided that the land had to be distributed but it was not clear how, where, and with what goal. Vis-à-vis this situation and provoked in part by the strong propaganda for the process launched from Bogotá, the bureaucracies in charge of the management and primary care for the victims and the displaced, the UAO, were suddenly in charge:
I was nervous. Imagine these people with these pamphlets, asking for a process. I remember that we called the Ministry of Agriculture in Bogotá several times and nothing happened. We’d say to the boss, look what’s going on; we’re getting this. You don’t know what to do. And nothing happened (…). This was before we got the thing from the Comptroller General, the measurement thing. But life is funny; we knew what to do (…). The person, who sits here, has to know that this work is not related to Law 1448. We are not here to take down declarations or to play a role. We are here to give these people life. This is social work. Look, at the very least, they need someone to listen to them. Ten minutes of concentrated listening, without typing, looking them in the eye. This gives them life and recognition. Poor people that come from god knows what, not from the countryside, like the government thinks. They are here and lost; they don’t know what to do here in their own city. For them, a minute in this chair is life. It is dignity. It is like when I go to the doctor to feel that I am important. It is believing that, for someone, they exist15.
Given all of its intricacies, the implementation of Law 1448 of 2011 suffered many setbacks and the restitution route did not happen naturally as an appendix of the victims’ one. Both became installed within the routes already traced by the little social bureaucracy existing at the time: that of the displaced. However, this contingency plan was not decided on, in the case of the Cali UAO, from Bogotá, or thought of as a more long-term articulation by the experts in the victims’ system. It was a solution that public officials of the UAO created to manage people’s expectations. This is what Vera calls bureaucratic experimentalism in the statehoods for peace [17
Thus, in the text of the law, the UAO had no reason to be involved in the process to capture declarations in the restitution process, as, according to the norm, it is not obligatory for the victims of dispossession to be listed in the register for displaced persons. The latter is due to the fact that after 2012, it was no longer displaced persons that were counted but claimant victims (as the new political subjectivity created by Law 1448). This is only proof of dispossession or forced abandonment. For restitution to occur, the area of land has to be recorded in the Register for Presumably Forcibly Dispossessed or Abandoned Land, which is not managed by the UAO. Despite this, these bureaucracies anticipated the problems related to competencies:
Most of the time, people’s problem is poverty. Pain and suffering, of course. But this is not linked to a victimizing act, you see? Everyone comes here with this because they have to, but their tears roll out when they talk about not having anything to give their children to eat. They all come to tell this story, false sometimes, just so that they can get an application number. They have all been told that they have to leave here with a number in their hand, that they can then use to claim. But the problem is knowing what the number was for16.
The way in which the state interacts with people that seek to figure as beneficiaries of the victims’ protection framework is mediated by two actions: declaration and register. The victims declare their situation and the public officials include them in the right register. Here the state appears as a requesting body and administrator of information, whose organization has only one goal: to feed the centralized databases used to report the implementation of public policy17
. In other words, the everyday work of the people that represent the state in the procedures dealing with victims is mediated by the indicators built to quantify their implementation. Currently, a person who seeks help within the framework of Law 1448 of 2011 is completely familiarized with the existence of three parallel registers: the Registry of Forcibly Dispossessed and Abandoned Land, managed by the Land Restitution Units; the Victims Registry, previously managed by Acción Social
and currently by the Unit for Attention and Reparation of Victims; and the Single Registry of Displaced Populations.
The different registers appear the same. However, to figure in one or the other implies a different recognition with regards the public, a different negotiating power for the bureaucracy, and different possibilities to obtain aid and opportunities financed by the state. However, this information is not accessible to those that queue up at the UAO to wait their turn.
They told me I had to get a file number, that that was what I could use to find out how the case was going. My worry now is that I don’t have a telephone, and here everyone has been saying, since Wednesday when I first got here, that you have to give them a telephone number so that they can call you to tell you what happened. It seems they call when there is news. And the other thing is that it seems that if you are displaced because they take your home, it’s better... you get quicker results. I left my home, but no one took it from me, I left because I was afraid. So, I don’t know what I am going to do because it is better to say that they took it from you18.
As we can see in the CGR’s table of indicators, the story of the conflict established by the indicators is clear and derived from a systematization of the law that makes it easy to measure results. The conflict is a problem of lost lands, of people who had to leave because of the violence. These people are claiming restitution where they live now, because they want to go back to their land of origin. Thus, the indicators measure land, people going back to their land, and the time involved in the process. However, this approach to measuring the areas of land “included” and timescales is not that foolhardy. In terms of the former, the titling and identification of rural lands is subject to cadastral information that is not up to date [31
]. Even if it were, there are various official reports that show that, over the last twenty years, land titling has been highly permeated by the conflict where the armed groups manage large waves of land formalization. With regards to the latter, the procedures and declarations collected in the regions have to be validated in Bogotá, thus producing a deceiving measurement of time, due to the many factors involved. Grassroots bureaucracies discuss the following:
Imagine. I have to fill in this table. It makes me laugh. I mean, if the success of the work has to do with the number of finished processes, we’re screwed, because this all goes to Bogotá and there, they compare things and there are tests, it doesn’t matter how long they take. So what? This is time
(sic) against me (laughs). So, what I do is to deal with more people. Here the problem involves the people in the queues. So, what I say is, if you want us to be efficient, well—being efficient is to deal with more people, so here I have my daily limit. Ten, let’s say. Now, this has nothing to do with the result, because it depends on whether the people coming here are telling the truth and I don’t decide that. You see? This measures the process, it doesn’t measure me (…) they should do something that measures just me, what I do19.
By the end of 2017, the Unit had received a little over 100,000 restitution requests, of which approximately 42,000 had already been resolved: 18,000 had been admitted to trial before specialized judges and 24,000 had been rejected. Of those admitted, the judges had ruled on 4800 cases, 98% of which were won by the Unit, meaning that the results in terms of restitution are meager. However, grassroots bureaucracies spontaneously formulate the trouble spots of the policy.
While the baseline indicators are the same, they are specialized according to information focalization factors, or information search categories that the CGR detects as important. These focalization factors have to do with the victimizing act (rape, homicide of family members, massacres in places of origin, direct threats, demobilization of family members), victimizing actor (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia- FARC, Ejercito de Liberación Nacional- ELN, paramilitary groups), the generation and gender of the applicants and their region of origin. As described in the Land Restitution Units’ user manuals, such information selection factors are aligned to account for the implementation of the so-called differential approach, recognized as an “analytical and methodological tool that takes into account human needs and existing inequalities, allowing for the identification and visibility of specific vulnerabilities and infringements of populational groups and individuals that face particular situations of exclusion and/or discrimination” [28
]. In fact, this focus develops Article 13 of Law 1448 of 2011, but there is profound disconnection between the public officials’ experience in their daily labor and that which the law “must measure.”
Well there are two worlds. They can’t say that this is designed to favor the vulnerable when they don’t even know what vulnerability is. On the contrary, this system excludes those who most need it. Sometimes, I feel like going to Bogotá and explaining this, because I will, no doubt, tell them how I fill this in. At the end of each month, when we have to send it in, I sit down and always put in the same numbers. I know that some of my colleagues here upload the number of victims served here, but that is not what they are asking for. So, you don’t have to put it in. So, what’s the indicator good for? An indicator of what? We don’t return land; we don’t do that. Look, I don’t understand these papers; don’t come here confusing me with these things about plots because that’s not what people’s problems are about. We listen to people. You can see, sometimes you have to spend the whole morning with one person. And do they measure that? No. They measure you if you let them (…). Anyway, these people don’t use the data for anything, the information that they need from us is the general number, those that have the total number of processes are the people in Bogotá. That’s why I’m saying it’s a waste of time20.
These bureaucracies therefore make tremendous efforts to make sense of the official processes, within operations that include registers, diagnoses and valuations. Despite having to deal with the contradictions and confusion of those that tell their stories, the bureaucracies are the main generators of figures and micro data in baselines that then serve to group results and justify social policies, programs and guidelines at different levels. However, this work has shown us that this last link of meaning within the bureaucratic mechanism has come loose. That the grassroots bureaucracies are invisible to the central scale technocracies (within the centers marked by the legal structure of the state) does not imply, however, that they are “marginal” to the citizenship. In fact, the opposite is true. What is contradictory about the way in which the state articulates itself is that, for the people, it is these grassroots bureaucracies that give meaning and coherence to the public, to the state and to the peace programs. In the visits, several victims spoke about the kind-hearted bureaucrats that “did them a favor,” that “defended them.” These bureaucrats narrate their work as follows.
These are our people. It’s them
[the government] against us. This could have happened to me, to my family. I have experienced this close up. It’s all a lie. They want to make us believe that we are in the post-conflict, when the war is still apparent in every corner. So, what we have to do is make the best of it, you have to find the silver bullet, as they say. We have to help people. We are here to help21.
The bureaucracy holds this sense of “us” as a sort of militancy that fights to scratch out public resources for “its people” in spite of the too narrow focus on land restitution, it makes sense of the statehood that touches lives, that speaks of the public as an opportunity, and of the law as hope. At this scale, it is a supportive, protective statehood that is present for victims of all kinds, to open the labyrinths, uncover the holes and do its magic [32
The affection that arises in the interaction between citizens and the state representatives could be seen even more clearly in scenarios where the state has a weak presence. In the absence of the state, bureaucrats see the need to help citizens in their claims for the restitution of their rights. And, in the impossibility of materializing these claims, the only alternative for the bureaucrats is to knit affective relations with the victims, while they wait to see whether the promise of restitution will ever be fulfilled. What occurs in Chocó is an example of this.
The Chocó Territorial Directorate operates in improvised spaces in people’s homes. The officials work at dining room tables along with three or four other colleagues, in rooms set up as offices, in studios and spaces that were once television rooms. The construction on the upper floors is not yet complete, and the grey work, is cluttered with papers and archive documents, framed within unpainted walls.
A few blocks away is the space provided by UARIV, using national resources, for assisting victims; a large glass box embedded in the center of the Pacífico region. The officials who work there usually arrive early to pray to God to support them in their daily work with victims. One of them expresses: “it is very painful to sit there and listen to people’s pain, so we ask God to give us the strength to go on.” There is no psychological support for the officials; it is only offered to the victims. However, they all have a computer ready to assist people who have been waiting their turn since dawn, to tell their stories, to verify that they are recognized in the RUV, to hear the good news that they will receive a subsidy.
In the Territorial Directorate office, I interviewed two territorial liaison officers who, on the basis of Excel tables, had long and precise explanations of the follow-up to local plans, which were conducted in scales and degrees of the “restoration of rights.”22
These officials also spoke of their work as being on a frontier: while their stories were full of vertical metaphors that reflected their perception of their insignificance in the face of a robust and powerful center (“the decision is made upstairs, by the people at the technical validation table in Bogotá,” “the big guys assume their commitment,” “I have to consult with the supervisor,” “the big heads are over there”), the reference to local interactions reflected anxiety with respect to the absence of power (“they come here and I can’t do anything”).
The “operation,” for the officials in the care cubicles, should last a maximum of fifteen minutes (or ten on peak days). It consists of taking the statement or referring the victim to the appropriate route. These same officials, in the afternoons, review the statements eagerly captured in the mornings and prepare the consignments for Bogotá. Everything is reviewed because “In Bogotá they are strict.” Many combine this direct work with the victims, often part-time, with evening activities on the other floors, which have occasional funding because they depend on different sources: empowerment workshops, training in relation to the care route, financial literacy workshops to learn how to handle money, and accompaniment in productive projects. Thus, while it is up to UARIV in Bogotá to maintain the exterior building and its first floor, the operation of the upper floors depends on the territorial entities (municipality and regional) and on the political agreements in force. This explains the irregularity of the programs and the feeling—at times—that the upper floors are simply not there.
Given the contingency of this financing, the first-floor employees themselves have taken on the task of finding a budget (or the financing itself) for one of the projects they consider essential. Thus, they collect money monthly to buy cardboard and markers to update the billboards, colored pencils to attend to the victims, and glue and glitter for the workshops. Handicrafts have become a popular reparation strategy that officials find very effective: “using your hands takes the pain out of your body and unloads your soul.” They say that they learned all of these techniques from expert Bogotá officials. The good thing is that, when the dynamic comes from Bogotá, there is money for refreshments and to give people “little treats.” These officials have designed a circuit for the children so that mothers or fathers who come to the office with their children do not have to make statements in their presence. “You have to look after the children,” says one of them.
In that logic, the walls of some of the floors are upholstered with bright billboards that recall the names of family members who died in one of the massacres that took place in the region, the land they should have left behind or the images and clippings for the “What I want for my life” exercise with their respective plan of action. This is how the last image of this journey consists of those glitter and glue posters, which are all signed by the victims of the conflict.
One of the unexpected findings of this research has to do with the penetration of urban militias of armed groups into the public offices providing care for the victims. Such spaces are already popular for “el tráfico de papas” or documents including threats made to the demobilized or the families that have already left the conflict zones or the neighborhoods where the urban militias operate. In Cali, many of the stories of those who queue up at these entities did not begin in the countryside but in the same comunas and city blocks, from which the members of the armed groups are expulsed for violating internal regulations, or for family related problems.
What is paradoxical about these findings is that they are not real “findings.” They are not something that the state does not know. Cali Town Hall recognized these phenomena [10
] in last year’s “map of violence.” The monthly-reported security data account for the overflow of the violence in the cities and, for some years already, forensic medicine has been reporting more deaths caused by the conflict in cities than in combat in national territories23
. There are enough data that support the limitation of the version of the conflict stabilized by the law and its indicators. Despite this, it seems that we all agree on having an idea of the conflict as being “far removed” from us.
Thus, this is how the law creates conflict and where indicators create reality. A fruit vendor on a mango stall also sells base testimonials. Everyone goes to him. These “base testimonials” are the key to “being recognized.” It does not matter if you are a real victim or pretending to be one to obtain state resources. What matters is that this testimonial serves to get you on a register.
On the other hand, scales and materialities, again, show different things. The victim is no longer a “suffering stranger,” a “risk” whose authenticity must be verified; he or she is a neighbor, a neighbor for whom we pray, who we help and who is known to us. The discourses of the public here mix technocratic jargon (rights, reparation, compensation, records) with inscriptions of a different kind (workshops, prayers, billboards). When distance is lost, the myth of neutrality is broken, and the Weberian iron box becomes a “house.” The ethnographic analysis, which sees railings, glass, and coffee tables in the staging of the public, also speaks of these discontinuities. The bureaucratic offices can emulate that immensity of the Avianca building in this corner of Quibdó. However, they intersect with the cafeterias in which people talk about the processes, with the mango-seller that sells storylines, with the man that sells minutos on the cell phone and that helps people check whether their names appear on the resolution. To be a victim here is to be part of an ensemble that leaves the offices (buildings and houses) and becomes a collective struggle that turns the block into a machine; an immense notary’s office where people seek the bureaucratic validation of their suffering.