Colombia’s Disappeared:

by Alfredo Castro

Bogota. The number of people being forcibly disappeared in Colombia each year is rapidly increasing and according to a local human rights organisation state sponsored forces, both official and unofficial, are responsible for over 99% of the cases.

New statistics released by the Colombian Association of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared — known as ASFADDES — show that last year some 1,283 people were taken away and have not been seen since. ASFADDES says that three of these people were disappeared by rebel groups while the remainder of the cases can be blamed predominantly on paramilitary and other state agents such as the army and police.

The average daily rate of disappearances in Colombia has increased from three to four over the past few years according to Gladys Avila Fonseca, the national coordinator of ASFADDES. Avila herself lost her brother Eduardo when he disappeared off a street in Bogota on April 20th 1993. Four days later, however, he was found dead outside the city having been severely tortured and since then she has dedicated her life to the cause of truth, justice and reparation at ASFADDES.

The statistics ASFADDES released show that between 1994 and 2001 there were 3,413 forced disappearances in Colombia. Gladys Avila also explained that ASFADDES has no way of knowing the true number of cases as their statistics only include those instances in which the family or friends of the victim denounce the crime, and that on many occasions, because of fear of reprisals, people stay silent.

ASFADDES also released details of the recent disappearance of Alvaro Sanchez Rojas on the outskirts of Bogota whom witnesses say was taken away by a group made up of paramilitaries and members of the "Rincon Quinonez" Battalion of the Colombian Army.

Regarding the problem of forced displacement a second local NGO, the Colombian Commission of Jurists, announced that the numbers now being forced from their land in Colombia had increased to approximately 1,000 people per day. Experts say that the phenomenon is largely caused by counterinsurgency strategies — devised by the Pentagon in Vietnam and now implemented in Colombia — that call for people to be forcibly shifted from rural areas in an attempt to deprive guerrilla organisations of civilian support networks in the countryside.

According to the director of the Commission, Gustavo Gallon, "the increase in numbers and the territorial expansion of the problem of displacement during the Pastrana [the Colombian President] administration has been massive, with more than 1 million people being forced from their homes and land during his time in power — including 90,000 in the first few months of this year alone".

This article originally appeared in ANNCOL, the news agency of the new Colombia.

October 08, 2015
Michael Horton
Why is the US Aiding and Enabling Saudi Arabia’s Genocidal War in Yemen?
Ben Debney
Guns, Trump and Mental Illness
Pepe Escobar
The NATO-Russia Face Off in Syria
Yoav Litvin
Israeli Occupation for Dummies
Lawrence Davidson
Deep Poverty in America: the On-Going Tradition of Not Caring
Thomas Knapp
War Party’s New Line: Vladimir Putin is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Brandon Jordan
Sowing the Seeds of War in Uruguay
Binoy Kampmark
Imperilled by Unfree Trade: the TPP on Environment and Labor
John McMurtry
The Canadian Elections: Cover-Up and Steal (Again)
Anthony Papa
Coming Home: an Open Letter to 6,000 Soon-to-be-Released Drug War Prisoners From an Ex-Con
Ramzy Baroud
Listen to Syrians: The Media Jackals and the People’s Narrative
Norman Pollack
Heart of Darkness: A Two-Way Street
Gilbert Mercier
Will Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite Militias Defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq?
John Stanton
Vietnam 2.0 and California Dreamin’ in Ukraine
William John Cox
The Pornography of Hatred
October 07, 2015
Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Witness to a Troubled Saint-Making: Junipero Serra and the Theology of Failure
Luciana Bohne
The Double-Speak of American Civilian Humanitarianism
Joyce Nelson
TPP: Big Pharma’s Big Deal
Jonathan Cook
Israel Lights the Touchpaper at Al-Aqsa Again
Joseph Natoli
The Wreckage in Sight We Fail To See
Piero Gleijeses
Cuba’s Jorge Risquet: the Brother I Never Had
Andrew Stewart
Do #BlackLivesMatter to Dunkin’ Donuts?
Rajesh Makwana
#GlobalGoals? The Truth About Poverty and How to Address It
Joan Berezin
Elections 2016: A New Opening or Business as Usual?
Dave Randle
The Man Who Sold Motown to the World
Adam Bartley
“Shameless”: Hillary Clinton, Human Rights and China
Binoy Kampmark
The Killings in Oregon: Business as Usual
Harvey Wasserman
Why Bernie and Hillary Must Address America’s Dying Nuke Reactors
Tom H. Hastings
Unarmed Cops and a Can-do Culture of Nonviolence
October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War