it has gone unreported in the mainstream media, paramilitary
death squads working with the Colombian security forces
have continued assassinating hundreds of civilians
in recent weeks. Among the dead lately are human rights
workers, religious and community leaders, land reform
and peace campaigners and trade union and student
what appears to be a systematic campaign to ignore
paramilitary abuses in Colombia, the two families
that control the Colombian media, the Santos family
and the Ardila Lülle family, both of which are
also accused of making donations to the death squads,
seem to have instructed that their newspapers and
television channels ignore any and all reports of
human rights violations committed by the death squads.
the Western media too seem to have followed their
lead and despite the fact that the army and death
squads have murdered hundreds of civilians in recent
weeks not one of these assassinations has been reported
follow is a list of some of the serious human rights
violations that have been ignored by the mainstream
14th: Paramilitaries entered the town of San Juan
del Cesar in La Guajira department and assassinated
four civilians whom they accused of being guerrilla
10th: Land reform campaigner Roberto Hugo Santander
is shot dead by paramilitary gunmen in the city of
4th: Paramilitaries entered the indigenous community
of Cascajeros in Choco department and shot dead three
people including a pregnant woman. They then ordered
all residents of the community to leave the region
or face the same punishment.
3rd: Paramilitaries massacred four young people
in the municipality of Soledad just outside of the
city of Barranquilla. Neither the army nor police
intervened despite having a heavy presence in the
area. Three of the victims have been named as Luis
Alberto Cantillo Correa, Ricardo David Borrero and
Deiver Garcia Gonzalez.
2nd: A joint marine and paramilitary unit entered
the town of Puerto Saija on the remote Pacific coast
of Cauca department and proceeded to terrorise the
residents whom they accused of helping local FARC
guerrillas. The government forces told hundreds of
residents of the town and the surrounding area to
leave the region or be executed and some three hundred
people fled by boat down the rivers Saija and Timbiqui.
On the morning of Aug 3rd two civilians were found
murdered although at around noon some 200 FARC guerrillas
arrived and launched a heavy assault on the government
troops forcing them to leave the area.
31st: a death squad shot union activist Alonso
Pamplona five times on a road in Sabana de Torres
municipality in Santander department. The trade unionist,
who worked for the USO oil workers union, was left
for dead although miraculously he survived and is
now recovering in hospital.
29th: 'Disappeared' - Paramilitaries abducted
union leader Gonzalo Ramirez Triana of the USO oil
workers union in the town of Villeta in Cundinamarca
department. He has not been seen since.
27th: 16-year-old Jorge Perez Ardila who worked
selling newspapers in the streets of the city of Barrancabermeja
was taken away by a group of paramilitaries in the
La Victoria neighbourhood. He has not been seen since
and was the 60th person that the paramilitaries have
'disappeared' in the city so far this year about half
of whom were youngsters whom the death squads accuse
of being rebel spies.
26th: a paramilitary assassin shot and killed
Yolanda Castaño, a community leader in the
La Loma neighbourhood of the southern city of Cali.
25th: Paramilitaries killed three men on the road
leading from the city of Pereira to the city of Armenia
in central Colombia. Carlos Antonio Gallego Herrera,
Harold Andres Varela Galviz and Andred Humberto Correa
Bedoya were all murdered by the death squad whilst
two other civilians were injured when the paramilitaries
indiscriminately opened fire on the vehicle they were
22nd: Paramilitaries executed three people in
the Yarumal region of Antioquia department and four
others have disappeared.
21st: Paramilitaries go on a killing spree in
and around the city of Monteria in Cordoba department.
In the rural community of Guateque, just outside of
the city, the death squads decapitated Rafael Velasquez
Vergara. In the neighbourhood of Brisas del Sinu in
the city a separate death squad executed a teenager
and another man whom they accused of being guerrilla
collaborators. Yet another death squad went from house
to house in the rural community of Guacharacal and
dragged four peasant farmers away before executing
19th: A death squad entered the community of San
Miguel in the municipality of San Carlos in Antioquia
department where they killed a man and his three children
before they moved into the neighbouring community
of Santa Rita and murdered Graciano Gil and Jairo
de Jesus Giraldo.
16th: a paramilitary unit kidnapped four female
students at the 'Creadores del Futuro' College in
the Blanquizal neighbourhood of the city of Medellin.
All four girls were executed and had their bodies
dumped in the nearby neighbourhood of La Pradera.
The victims were identified as Matalia Carvajal Saldarriaga,
Sandra Milena Florez Garces, Sara Lucia Acosta Montoya
and Luz Andrea Velasquez Hernandez, all of who were
killed for alleged guerrilla sympathies.
14th: Two paramilitary gunmen in the municipality
of Mogotes in Santander department approached Martha
Ines Velez, a nun with the Order of the Poor of San
Pedro Claver, and shot her dead. She was killed for
bringing attention to paramilitary massacres in rural
communities in the region that were not reported on
by anyone else. We have since learnt that Colonel
Jorge Daniel Castro, the commander of the police in
Santander department, was involved in the planning
of her murder.
13th: Paramilitaries in the municipality of Aracataca
in Magdalena department stopped a public bus carrying
indigenous leader Maria Torres and dragged her from
the vehicle. She was shot dead at the side of the
road whilst her young daughter and niece were forced
12th: a paramilitary death squad entered the community
of La Union in Antioquia department and assassinated
four men whose names they had on a list. One of the
men was forced to dig his grave before being killed
by machete blows and a gunshot to the head.
Colombian Solidarity campaign will be holding a open
meetings in the future in Belfast. All should try
to attend these events.
writer is an Independent Socialist
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