FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Secret Political Genocide in Colombia

“One does not know if the paramilitaries are going to kill you first or if one will be killed by the avalanche of Hidroituango.”

– Ana María Cortés, campaign organizer.

While much of the main international media outlets have been captivated by the World Cup or covering the current political developments occurring in Venezuela or Nicaragua, little coverage has been awarded to the startling increase in the systematic assassination of community leaders and political activist in Colombia. There have been 19 recorded assassinations in the past 8 days, 100 or more assassinations just this year and countless death threats as well against these individuals. Some death threats over the phone have been recorded and published. The threats follow a similar pattern that essentially demand, “If you do not leave town you will become a military objective.” Today Ana María Cortés, a leader of the ex-presidential campaign of Gustavo Petro, in Cáceres, Antioquia was found dead. This event is connected to a thread of assassinations of opposition campaign leaders after the presidential victory of Ivan Duque on May 27th. Neither the incumbent president nor the current president has presented a solution to stop this new threat of violence. Many point to the complicity of the state in these assassinations. For example, the ex-presidential candidate Gustavo Petro has signaled the head of the police in Cáceres of being the intellectual perpetrator behind the assassination of his campaign coordinator, as days before the murder the sheriff had threatened her life. Due to this fact, many opposition political leaders struggle to find remedy through traditional juridical or political means.

The recent popular hashtag in Colombia has been #NosEstánMatando which translates in English to, “They are killing us.” This hashtag sums up the general sentiments of the 8 million Colombian citizens who voted for Gustavo Petro and who want to see a change in Colombian politics. Many social organizations have been galvanized by the recent uptake of violence and public assemblies have been scheduled in memory of the victims. Camila M., a community leader in Bogota, Colombia comments, “We feel great pain for the tragic situation we are going through, there is no respect for life. However, the citizenry are organizing to demand the exiting administration and the one that will arrive, that the peace agreement be implemented, that security is given to the defenders of peace, and that the Justice system accelerate the investigations of the recent assassinations.” Fifty cities across Colombia and thirty-two cities across the world have joined the call to hold a candlelight vigil in public centers on July 6th. This serves to mourn the losses and protest the recent wave of violence that has had a negative effect on the advances of peace processes.

The function of these systematic assassinations of community organizers is to intimidate and deter the political opposition to the new presidency, who is ostensibly Álvaro Uribe Vélez, a close ally to Washington. He is a current senator and former president of Colombia (2002-2008) that has 274 investigations pending in the judicial system. Some of the crimes which he is implicated in include, crimes of lesser humanity. The sense of anguish and urgency of the current situation is exacerbated by the silence of the major media outlets in Colombia, the Attorney General and the Minister of Defence. While the American public is bombarded by news of democratic losses and persecution of political opposition in Venezuela and Nicaragua, little is said about the dire situation of democratic rights for the political opposition in Colombia.This would suggest that political resistance in some countries is more laudable than in others. The Colombian defenders of peace yearn for their voices to be heard to prevent the impending political genocide.

More articles by:

Mario Murcia is a former political campaign organizer of the ex-presidential candidate Gustavo Petro.

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail