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Ottawa’s ties with far right Colombian president undermines human rights rhetoric regarding Venezuela

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By Yves Engler · May 13, 2020

A week ago a former Canadian soldier instigated a harebrained bid to kidnap or kill Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Launched from Colombia, the plot failed spectacularly with most of the men captured or killed.

Still, the leader of the invasion Jordan Goudreau, a veteran of the Canadian military and US special forces, has been remarkably forthright about the involvement of opposition figure Juan Guaidó. A leaked contract between Guaidó’s representative in Florida and Goudreau’s Silvercorp USA describes plans for a multi month occupation force, which after ousting Maduro would “convert to a National Asset Unit that will act under the direction of the [Guaidó] Administration to counter threats to government stability, terror threats and work closely” with other armed forces. Apparently, Goudreau was hoping for a big payday from Venezuela’s opposition. He also had his eyes on the $15 million bounty Washington put up in March for Maduro’s capture as well as tens of millions dollars for other members of the government.

As the plot has unraveled, Ottawa has refused to directly criticize the invasion launched from Colombia. The military has also refused to release information regarding Goudreau’s time in the Canadian forces. What’s more, since the plot began Canada’s foreign affairs minister has reached out to regional opponents of Maduro and reasserted Ottawa’s backing for Guaidó. The PM also discussed Venezuela with his Colombian counterpart.

The Trudeau government’s reaction to recent events suggest the global pandemic has not deterred them from brazenly seeking to overthrow Venezuela’s government. In a bid to elicit “regime change”, over the past couple years Ottawa has worked to isolate Caracas, imposed illegal sanctions, took that government to the International Criminal Court, financed an often-unsavoury opposition and decided a marginal opposition politician was the legitimate president.

The day after the first phase of the invasion was foiled foreign minister François-Philippe Champagne spoke to his Colombian, Peruvian and Brazilian counterparts concerning the “Venezuela crisis and the humanitarian needs of Venezuelans.” Four days later Champagne tweeted, “great call with Venezuela Interim President Juan Guaidó. Canada will always stand with the people of Venezuela in their desire to restore democracy and human rights in their country.”

On Monday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Colombian President Iván Duque Márque. According to the official release, they “discussed the crisis in Venezuela and its humanitarian impact in the region which is heightened by the pandemic. They underscored the need for continued close collaboration and a concerted international effort to address this challenging situation.” Over the past 18 months Trudeau has repeatedly discussed Venezuela with a Colombian president who has offered up his country to armed opponents of Maduro.

The Trudeau government has been chummy with Duque more generally. After he won a close election marred by fraud allegations then Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland “congratulated” Duque and said, “Canada and Colombia share a commitment to democracy and human rights.” In August 2018 Trudeau tweeted, “today, Colombia’s new President, Ivan Duque, took office and joins Swedish PM, Norway PM, Emmanuel Macron, Pedro Sánchez, and others with a gender-equal cabinet. Iván, I look forward to working with you and your entire team.” A month later he added, “thanks to President Ivan Duque for a great first meeting at UNGA this afternoon, focused on growing our economies, addressing the crisis in Venezuela, and strengthening the friendship between Canada & Colombia.”

But, Duque is from the extreme right — “le champion du retour de la droite dure en Colombie”, according to a Le Soleil headline. The Colombian president has undercut the peace accord the previous (right, but not far right) government signed with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to end Colombia’s 50-year civil war, which left some 220,000 dead. Duque’s policies have increased violence towards the ex-rebels and social activists. Seventy-seven former FARC members were killed in 2019. Even more human rights defenders were murdered. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights found that at least 107 Colombian, mostly Indigenous, rights defenders were killed in 2019.

Through the first part of this year the pace at which social leaders and demobilized FARC members have been killed has increased. According to the UN observer mission in Colombia, 24 demobilized guerrillas have already been assassinated and a recent Patriotic March report on the “The other pandemic lived in Colombia” details 95 social leaders, human rights defenders and former guerrillas killed in the first four months of 2020.

Trudeau’s dalliance with Duque is difficult to align with his stated concern for human rights in Venezuela.

The same can be said for Ottawa’s failure to condemn the recent invasion attempt. The Trudeau government should be questioned on whether it was involved or had foreknowledge of the recent plot to invade Venezuela.

May 14, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Former Farc Combatant Astrid Conde Murdered in Bogota

Former guerrilla member Astrid Conde

teleSUR | March 6, 2020

Astrid Conde, a former guerrilla fighter in Colombia, was shot dead last Thursday in Bogotá.

Conde’s murder occurred at the entrance to her home, located in the El Tintal sector in the southwest of the city.

The Colombian party, the Alternative Revolutionary Force of the Common (FARC), published on its official Twitter profile, that this is one of the first crimes against former members in Bogotá. Still, until now, 191 former combatants have endured violent deaths.

According to the Legal Solidarity Corporation, which protected Astrid Conde, the ex-guerrilla member was complying with her social reintegration process and belonged to the women’s group Defense and Rights.

The murder of Astrid Conde occurred after the FARC denounced the growing violence against its former members who were being reintegrated into society and the lack of guarantees for them. The former guerrillas have said: “We don’t only need who shoots, we also need who gave the order.”

The political group also challenged the irresponsibility of the government of Iván Duque for allowing a lack of protection for its former members and the failure to comply with the Peace Accords, a situation that would endanger the maintenance of peace in Colombia.

Also recently, the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Michel Forst, highlighted the impunity of the murders of social leaders and the lack of preventive administrative measures against the crimes. The UN representative stated that “Colombia is the country with the highest rate of murders of human rights defenders.”

March 7, 2020 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Brazil is adopting Israel’s terror narrative, which is anything but democratic

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | March 5, 2020

Brazilian federal deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of right-wing dictatorship fanatic President Jair Bolsonaro, announced recently that the country will be moving to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. “Inside the government, we are debating the ways to stop terrorist groups from coming to Brazil,” Bolsonaro stated. “We are going to follow Argentina, declaring that Hezbollah is a terrorist group.”

Not only Hezbollah is being targeted with this designation. Bolsonaro’s son has also declared that the Brazilian government will be “considering a harsher stance on terrorist groups Hamas, Al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram.” Israel praised Brazil’s decision as part of the fight against “Iranian-sponsored terrorism”. Since the US declared its war on terror following September 11, Israel has appropriated the narrative and used it to gain diplomatic leverage for its murderous colonial policies, while strangling Palestinian resistance in the process. Unsurprisingly, Brazil will be joining other countries supportive of Israel’s security narrative in blurring the distinction between legitimate resistance movements and terrorist groups. That narrative is anything but democratic.

For the right wing Israeli and Brazilian governments, resistance movements such as Hamas and Hezbollah on one hand, and the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) are terrorists, as Bolsonaro declared recently in one of his usual tirades. In defence of Israel’s purported security narrative, Brazil will be employing a designation on Hezbollah and Hamas which has nothing to do with terrorism and everything with how state terror seeks to delegitimise anti-colonial struggle.

As democracy moves even further away from its principles, becoming a label utilised by the right-wing in its quest to annihilate opposition, resistance movements become even more marginalised politically. Needless to say, Brazil’s move will endear it to the US and Washington’s own dissemination of Israel’s security versus terror narrative. Criminalising resistance movements has one main aim, to delegitimise resistance and, as a result, alter the understanding of what constitutes “terrorism”.

Categorising Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, alongside terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram builds upon the US-Israeli narrative of seeking to undermine Iranian influence in Latin America. Paraguay, Colombia and Honduras have already adopted this narrative since last year. It ignores the simple fact that Hamas has never carried the struggle for freedom from Israeli occupation beyond the borders of historical Palestine.

The right-wing surge in the region is not conducive to diplomatic support for Palestine, let alone Palestinian resistance. Hamas is already ostracised politically, but the US-Israeli scheming will continue to seek unanimous support for the narrative which allows the far-right to define terror at the expense of the occupied and oppressed.

Bolsonaro has stated on occasions that he seeks further alignment with the US in terms of policy. The latest decision strikes at the heart of Palestinian resistance at a time when Palestinians are in need of diplomatic support due to Trump’s deal of the century versus the two-state compromise dead ends in terms of opportunity. The more that Palestinians are obscured from the political process, the easier it is to simplify, albeit erroneously, the Palestinian cause into an issue between a “democratic state” and “terror”. This is part of the strategy that the US and Israel are pursuing, which is to have a monopoly over who decides that the definition of state-sponsored terror of the kind practiced by Israel and other right-wing governments is somehow “democratic”. That is far from the truth.

March 5, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Colombia: Colonel Involves General in Extrajudicial Killings

teleSUR | February 20, 2020

Colombian Colonel Alvaro Amortegui said that General Mario Montoya ordered him to kill 17 civilians captured in an operation and make them appear as if they were guerrilla fighters killed in combat.

“In 2001… I captured 17 guys inside a house. [Montoya] called me on my cell phone and told me, ‘I’ve already sent you the bracelets.’ Then I replied, ‘don’t send me the bracelets… I captured these men alive and they stay alive’,” said Colonel Amortegui during an interview with Caracol Radio in which he also reported the theft of ammunition, uniforms and other Army material.

This senior officer mentioned that all this happened when he returned from Sinai, a peninsula in Egypt where the Colombian troops are part of the peacekeeping mission of the Multinational Force & Observers (MFO).

Given the implications of his claims, the Caracol Radio journalists asked Colonel Amortegui to better explain what happened with General Montoya, who was commander of the Colombian Army between 2006 and 2008, during the Presidency of Alvaro Uribe, a far-right politician who has been investigated by the Supreme Court.

In his response, Amortegui indicated that General Montoya was referring to the bracelets used by the militants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

“He sent me FARC bracelets. Because [the 17 captured] were not FARC [fighters],” the colonel said.

The journalists insisted that Amortegui provide more details about what the General was asking for, to which he replied that Montoya “was asking me to kill them. What else do you want?.”

Eight days ago, Retired General Montoya declared for the first time before the Special Justice for Peace (JEP), although his appearance was described by the victims of state terrorism as “a mockery.”

“It was a mockery before the transitional justice mechanism, which has the task of investigating the most serious crimes committed amidst the armed conflict,” said lawyer Jose Alvear Restrepo who represents the victims of state crimes.

Between 1988 and 2014, the “false positives” was a practice whereby the military cheated poor young people, even those with disabilities, with promises of employment and then took them to distant places to execute them.

The bodies of these civilian victims used to be later presented to the authorities as if they had been killed-in-combat guerrilla fighters, which allowed the military to obtain benefits from their superiors.

So far, the Colombian Prosecutor’s Office has investigated about 5,000 cases of extrajudicial killings. At least 1,500 officials and troops were involved in these illegal practices.​​​​​​​

February 20, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

Colombia: Ex-FARC Member and Peace Deal Signatory Assassinated

teleSUR | January 26, 2020

Former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) member and peace agreement signatory John Freddy Vargas was murdered Saturday after attending a meeting in a church in Huila.

Vargas, 42, was shot multiple times while he was on a motorcycle with his girlfriend, after the meeting with officials from the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN).

“The event took place when the victim was riding a motorcycle and two subjects hit him twice with a firearm, dying immediately on the spot,” the Deputy commander of the Huila Police Nestor Florez informed, adding that Vargas “was in the process of being reinstated with the RNA.”

The former combatant, who was accredited by the National Reincorporation Agency, was developing agricultural projects in the rural area of that town.

​​​​​​​For his part, Ramiro Duran, a representative in Huila of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force party (FARC)​​​​​​​, rejected this crime and indicated that as ex-members of FARC they fear for their safety.

Colombia continues to be one of the most unstable countries in the region due to the insecurity experienced by social leaders and former members of armed groups who signed the peace agreement.

In 2020, more than 20 social activists have been murdered in Colombia, and according to the United Nations, since the peace agreement signing, more than 300 murders of human rights leaders have occurred.

So far, including Vargas, another four ex-FARC members and peace agreement signatories have been murdered in 2020.

January 27, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

One More Social Leader Killed In Colombia, 21 So Far in 2020

Social leaders in Colombia are under threat since the peace agreement of 2016.

Social leaders in Colombia are under threat since the peace agreement of 2016. | Photo: EFE
teleSUR | January 19, 2020

The Cordobexia Social Foundation denounced Saturday the assassination of social leader Luis Dario Rodriguez, the second activist killed in the northwestern department of Cordoba this week and the 21st so far in Colombia this year.

According to the statement released by the foundation, the social leader was murdered on Friday afternoon as he was returning home from a fishing trip in the municipality of Tierralta.

“He was shot by men on a motorcycle,” denounced the Cordobexia Social Foundation, as well as calling on the national government to protect and guarantee the exercise of human rights in Colombia.

Rodriguez was a member of the Association of Displaced and Vulnerable Families of Tierralta and of the human rights network of southern Cordoba. Also a father of three children and dedicated himself to fishing and agriculture.

His activism consisted of speeding up land claim processes after the flooding of the Alto Sinúu lands by the URRA 1 hydroelectric plant.

Less than a week ago, social leaders, Jorge Luis Betancourt and Tulio Sandoval were also murdered in their respective municipalities.

Betancourt also from Cordoba was killed in the municipality of Montelibanom and was a farmer’s rights activist.

While, Sandoval, who was participating in the crop substitution program, was killed by armed individuals who broke into his house, dragged him out and shot him repeatedly in front of his family.

In this context, Attorney General Fernando Carrillo recently called for an end to what he described as “the systematic murder of social leaders.”

Since the peace agreement signing, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Peace in Colombia has counted more than 300 murders of human rights leaders.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

Colombia: Farmers Leader Shot to Death in Front of His Family

Social leader Reinaldo Carrillo in Pitalito, Department of Huila, Colombia. 2019. | Photo: Twitter / @ENGmateocastroe
teleSUR | December 26, 2019

The National Association of Farmer Users (ANUC) activist Reinaldo Carrillo was killed at dawn on Wednesday by hitmen who entered his house and shot him in front of his family in Pitalito town, Department of Huila, Colombia.

“We reject the murder of Reinaldo Carrillo. He was a member of a group of people which expected the government to grant them the ownership title of a vacant land called La Conaca,” said the ANUC, an organization legally recognized as “victim of the armed conflict” and “subject of reparation.”

“Reinaldo is the fifth ANUC leader killed in Huila over the last year… we demand that the authorities’ actions bring about results so that these cases are not added to the long list of impunities.”

A few minutes after the event, local Caracol Radio reported that the attack was perpetrated by three subjects aboard a motorcycle.

Although the 34-year-old social leader was immediately taken to the Pitalito hospital, he died due to the seriousness of his injuries.

“Infinite sadness. My solidarity with Reinaldo’s family, friends, and colleagues. Land ownership remains at the center of the armed conflict,” environmental activist Tatiana Roa said and added that the ‘Lords of The Land” continue to dispose of the life of Colombian farmers at will.

“Lucy Villareal, the mother of two girls, belonged to that extraordinary group of women who work and also take care of their children with love so that we can have a better country. Her cause does not die with her vile murder. We need a government capable of defending the life of every Colombian.”

Less than 24 hours before, the folk artist and social activist Lucy Villareal was also killed after participating in a workshop with children in the department of Nariño.

Between 2018 and 2019, the number of human rights defenders and social leaders killed increased by 13 percent in Colombia, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).​​​​​​​

December 26, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

‘Shameless Racism’: 13 Countries Change Long-Standing Position on Palestine at UN

Palestine Chronicle – December 5, 2019

For the first time, 13 countries changed their longstanding positions and voted against a pro-Palestine measure at the United Nations on Tuesday.

Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Brazil, and Colombia voted against the annual resolution regarding the “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”, according to the Times of Israel.

They had previously abstained on the vote.

The resolution, which includes a call to halt to illegal Israeli settlements being constructed in the occupied West Bank, still passed with a large majority voting in favor.

The Palestinian representative told the council: “If you protect Israel, it will destroy you all.” He also said Israel’s character as a Jewish state is “shameless racism”.

The New York-based Division for Palestinian Rights oversees the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Comoros, Cuba, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

The UK, France, and Spain abstained, as they do every year, allowing the resolution to pass with a vote of 87-54, with 21 other abstentions.

The General Assembly adopted five resolutions on the question of Palestine and the Middle East, including one calling on the Member States not to recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regards to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colombia’s US Ambassador Advocates ‘Covert Actions’ Against Venezuela in Leaked Audio

By Lucas Koerner | Venezuelanalysis | November 21, 2019

Senior Colombian diplomats discussed strategies for regime change in Venezuela in a leaked audio published by Colombian news site Publimetro on Wednesday.

Speaking in a Washington DC cafe, Colombian Foreign Minister Claudia Blum and Ambassador to the US Francisco Santos repeatedly stressed the failure of US-led efforts to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

“The solution is not a military coup, because the military is not going to remove [Maduro]. Nor is the United States going to remove him at the point of an “I don’t know what,” observed Blum, alluding to the possibility of US military intervention in Venezuela.

Santos stressed the need for clandestine operations to “support the opposition.”

“The only thing that I see is with covert actions within [Venezuela] to make noise and support the opposition which is very isolated,” he told Blum.

The ambassador additionally reported that the “CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] is not getting involved [in Venezuela],” a fact that Blum appeared to lament.

Santos went on to complain about the apparent disarray within the Trump administration. He noted that the State Department and the White House were divided over the Inter-American Reciprocal Assistance Treaty (TIAR), which the former “wanted” but the latter did not. The TIAR was activated in September at the behest of the Venezuelan opposition, which hailed the move as a first step towards foreign military intervention in Venezuela.

For her part, Blum concurred with her ambassador’s assessment, lamenting that with US elections fast approaching, “no one knows what Trump is going to do.”

Santos responded by speculating that if Trump fears losing the presidential race, “he will go into Venezuela,” a possibility downplayed by the foreign minister.

Both officials, however, agreed on the urgent need to remove Maduro from power.

“If this guy doesn’t go, Colombia has no future,” warned Santos, going on to describe efforts to enlist US congressional support on Venezuela.

“Let them understand that this shithole is going to destabilize the whole continent,” he emphasized.

Since opposition leader Juan Guaido’s self-proclamation as Venezuelan “interim president” in January, the hard-right Colombian government of Ivan Duque has spearheaded efforts to oust Maduro.

In February, Colombia strongly supported a US-led attempt to force “humanitarian aid” across the Venezuelan border, which Blum dismissed as a “fiasco.”

More recently, tensions have been on the rise along the 2,219 kilometer Venezuelan-Colombian border since Bogota resumed hostilities with guerrilla factions in August.

The leaked audio is the latest in a series of Venezuela-related scandals that have dogged the Duque government in recent months.

In September, photos and witness testimony surfaced revealing that Guaido had crossed the Colombian border in February with the assistance of Colombian paramilitary groups in coordination with the Colombian authorities. The Duque administration had earlier been accused of turning a blind eye to accusations that Guaido’s envoys to the country had embezzled money destined to support deserters from the Venezuelan armed forces.

Weeks later, Duque came under fire after presenting false evidence of ELN activity in Venezuela during his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York.

The latest scandal provoked condemnation from Caracas, with Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza slamming Colombian interference in Venezuelan affairs.

“Colombia has been affirming for years that Chavismo destabilizes the region… Meanwhile in a leaked conversation the new foreign minister and ambassador in the US confess how and with whom they conspire to destabilize Venezuela,” he tweeted.

November 22, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , , , | 4 Comments

US DOJ Refuses To Cooperate With Colombia In Uribe Trial

teleSUR | October 22, 2019

The United States Department of Justice has told the Colombian judiciary that they will not cooperate with them in their investigation into disgraced former right wing President Alvaro Uribe. This is despite Colombia believing that the DOJ hold information about Uribe’s contact with paramilitaries and drug traffickers.

Supreme Court magistrate Cesar Augusto Reyes requested that the DOJ hand over records they have about such calls and visits that Uribe held.

Reyes believes that the US could hold key information that would either corroborate or disprove central claims made by Uribe’s defense attorneys.

According to the magazine La Semana, Reyes has written letter to the DOJ condemning them as ‘disrespectful’ for refusing his “appropriate request.”

Among the charges he must answer to is that he paid for false testimonies to “politically finish off” left-wing lawmaker Ivan Cepeda, who had been exposing his links to paramilitarism. Congress threw out the case against Cepeda and pursued an inquiry into Uribe instead.

Another one of the serious charges he faces is that he bribed former paramilitaries huge amounts to testify that Uribe was not involved in the death squad known as ‘Bloque Metro’.

During Uribe’s time in power, he was a close ally of then president George Bush, and of US interests in the region.

October 23, 2019 Posted by | Corruption | , , | Leave a comment

Armed FARC: Colombia Peace Only Possible with ‘Humanist Government’

teleSUR | August 31, 2019

The “new guerrilla” movement led by former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, People’s Army (FARC-EP) Ivan Marquez announced to the public Saturday it is willing to engage in “dialogue” with a “coalition.”

An open letter signed “from the mountains of insurgent Colombia” by former high-ranking FARC commanders who are referring to themselves as the “New Power”, reiterates that the state’s failing to follow through with the 2016 Havana Peace Accords is what led the minority faction to return to arms. According to the ‘New Power’ that announced its rearmament Aug. 29 via a 32-minute Youtube video, the group took up weapons again because, “the history of betrayals suffered leaves no alternative.”

The former FARC commanders and soldiers in the split faction of around 30 people that “only an open process and an alternative humanist government can pave the way towards a scenario of coexistence in which the interests of the people and true development prioritized” for Colombia.

On Thursday morning a video was published by a minority of senior leaders of the former FARC announcing their split from the main organization and to rearm. Among those in the video was Jesus Santrich, a key FARC leader who has been missing since mid-July and Ivan Marquez, a once-senior commander who was integral in negotiating the peace accord, announcing a “new stage of armed struggle.”

In the ‘New Power’ letter, the authors recognize all those who participated in the peace accord that was negotiated over several years. “They became the moral fire of the cause of reconciliation.” They are “the great coalition of social justice and democracy that promotes a new dialogue to achieve true, final, stable and lasting peace,” the communique reads.

“Hopefully, total peace is achieved involving all armed actors that forges a New Alternative Government that saves the country from this general crisis,” say the dissident leaders who send a message to the Communist Party, the Patriotic Union and other nearby political factions: “As revolutionaries, sooner or later we will meet along the way.”

Marquez, Santrich and the other signatories say there are “men and women of this country, who believe that another Colombia is possible who have struggled and continue to fight with patience and intelligence for peace.” Among those on that list are Congressmen Ivan Cepeda, Alvaro Leyva, Roy Barreras, Gustavo Petro, Angela Maria Robledo and Angelica Lozano, among others.

The guerillas thank all social movements and guarantor countries that part in crafting the peace agreement and denounce the “Dominant Power Block—the oligarch class that sows wars to be freed by others.”

Also on Saturday, Colombia’s military announced it had killed, in total, 12 former FARC in a rural area in the southern department of Caqueta, near the border with Ecuador. Colombian Army General Nicacio Martínez said Saturday that the number of FARC dissidents who died in a large military operation rose to 12, three more than was first announced Friday following the Aug. 30 operation ordered by President Ivan Duque.

It’s still unclear how, or if, the Caqueta faction is related to the ‘New Power’ under Marquez.

The main ex-FARC constituency officially condemned the move on Thursday. In a tweet on their official account, they say unequivocally that “more than 90% of former guerrillas remain committed to the peace process.” The group did later that day say it was breaking with the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition (SIVJRNR), the institutions that form the basis of the Havana Peace Accords, which includes the Special Judicial Court, or JEP, set up to help the over eight million people affected by the 50-year civil conflict.

August 31, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

Revered Social Leader and Activist Killed in Colombia

teleSUR | July 5, 2019

Social leader Tatiana Paola Posso Espitia, 35, was shot twice in the head Wednesday morning in front of her house in El Copey located in the Department of Cesar when two men on motorcycles fired at the activist and fled the scene.

The assassination occurred just as Espitia’s taxi driver, Wilson Ortega Palomino, arrived at her home to take the social leader to work, according to local media reports. The bad timing resulted in Ortega also being shot four times by the hitmen. He is in critical condition at a nearby hospital.

The National Network for Democracy and Peace in Colombia published a communique on its Twitter account firmly condemning the murder.

“Posso Espitia was a social activist committed to humanitarian aid, helping vulnerable people and victims of the armed conflict that continue to affect Colombia,” said the report.

The organization added that the social activist, who was a candidate for the community council, was a beloved member of her community.

The document also explained how the city El Copey has had a long history marked by threats against social leaders, deaths and massive displacement of the population.

The tragic event comes as the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (Indepaz) showed that since the signing of the peace agreement between the disarmed Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government of former president, Juan Manuel Santos in November 2016, 727 social leaders or human rights advocates have been killed in Colombia.

The assassinations have so far mainly targeted Afro-Colombian and Indigenous rights activists, in addition to rural farmers advocating for land and political rights in their respective regions.

Colombia’s Ombudsman announced Wednesday that at least 983 social leaders have been threatened with death in Colombia, 50 percent of them are women.

Last week, the ‘We Defend Peace in Colombia’ human rights organization called for major peaceful protests in the country and abroad meant to pressure the President Ivan Duque administration into fully addressing the rampant murders.

The global march is set to take place July 26 and is meant to “pay tribute to the (assassinated) social leaders and to demand action to end these crimes,” said organizers.

July 5, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment