Bogota (TSN) – Yet four more social leaders were murdered in Colombia in just 24 hours, amid a security crisis for activists and community leaders that risk their lives for a better future for their country and the region.
According to teleSUR’s correspondent in Colombia, Manuel Jimenez, Carlos Jimmy Prado Gallardo was a human rights activist and national delegate for the Afro-Colombian, Raizal, Black and Palenquero Communities in their popular consults in Nariño. He was killed in the Olaya Herrera-Satinga municipality on Saturday’s night.
“The last time we saw him alive was during the session of the prior popular consult with the government on June 1. He left for his territories at 4 a.m. and now we’re denouncing his murder,” said the Commission on Human Rights and Guarantees of the Agrarian, Farmer, Ethnic and Popular Summit in a press release Saturday.
Libardo Asprilla, director of the Black, Afro-Colombian, Raizal and Palenque Communities Affairs, condemned the murder of Prado Gallardo and demanded “urgent action from the attorney, prosecutors, and the police to shed light on the terrible events that the Afro-Colombian people are again mourning.”
Meanwhile, Orlando Negre, who used to be the president of the community assembly of Camu, on Cordoba department’s highlands, was also killed on Saturday according to teleSUR’s Jimenez. He also confirmed the murder of Indigenous leader Julio Cesar Montalvo, brother of the governor indigenous woman, in the Zenu protection zone.
On the same night as Padro’s murder, a former fighter with the FARC guerrilla Frady Estiver Chica Chica was killed in the Santa Lucia in the Ituango municipality, Antioquia department, according to media reports.
Even though the peace agreement with the FARC aimed at ending a decades-long armed conflict to combat violence in the country, the permanent presence of paramilitary groups -some even working under government’s protection- is hampering peace efforts in the region with impunity, and former fighters are not immune to attacks.
In fact, the demobilization of the former guerrilla fighters left a void of power in many regions, which have been now taken by violent drug cartels and paramilitary groups. More than 200 social leaders and human rights defenders have been murdered in Colombia since January 2017 to date.
President Juan Manuel Santos recently regretted that more than 40 members of the former insurgent group FARC have been murdered since the peace agreements were signed and said that “just one is too many.” However, the FARC political party puts the number at 60.
According to Jimenez, at least 7 social and community leaders have been murdered since Monday.
Multiple human rights organizations have urged the Colombian government to implement more effective measures to preserve the lives of social leaders.
The uptick in violence comes amid a heated presidential campaign and elections season in which voters are presented with starkly views on security, peace talks and agreements as well as the entire political framework the country has had for the past few decades.
One progressive view is represented by Gustavo Petro, who wishes to maintain the peace agreement and introduce wealth redistribution policies and land reforms, while Duque seeks to take the country further to the right by changing the peace agreement with FARC, ending talks with the ELN as well as affirming the country’s neoliberal economic model.
This post was originally written for and published by teleSUR English and was republished with permission.