Murder of another campesino mars Colombia´s Victims´Day march


While more than a million Colombians marched for peace and to respect victims of violence, yet another campesino helping refugees recover land lost to paramilitaries was murdered.

Éver Cordero is the latest of almost 70 such campesino leaders of those attempting to recover lost lands murdered since 2008. The so-called anti-restitution armies, often comprised of supposedly decommissioned paramilitaries and common organized crime assassinate campesino leaders to prevent their recovering lands. Those who oppose Colombia´s internationally lauded land restitution laws are well aware it´s exceptionally rare for anyone to be charged, yet alone convicted, with the murder of the returnees.

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Some four million Colombians have been displaced by paramilitaries, guerrillas and common organized criminals.

The assassination of Cordero in Colombia´s northern department of Cordoba, on Victim´s Day, which also falls on the anniversary of the assassination of populist presidential candidate Jorge Eliécer Gaitán some 65 years ago, caused some 45 other leaders of displaced victims to boycott a land transfer ceremony, according to VerdadAbierta.com, a site which reports on Colombia´s violence.

The body of another leader Hermes Vidal Osorio was discovered in the same municipality where Cordero was murdered in late March.

Verdadabierta.com reported that Cordero was preparing to applications under the land restitution law to have land taken by some of Colombia´s most infamous paramilitaries, the Castaño brothers, returned to victims.

Than land restitution law is one of Colombian President Juan Manual Santos´s key platforms as he risks his political future in peace talks with guerrillas and anger paramilitaries and their supporters. The inability or lack of will by subordinates to protect leaders of displaced campesinos has drastically weakened the effectiveness of the law.

A representative of the United Nations in Colombia expressed concern Tuesday of the government´s inability to protect the campesino leaders.

It´s not only the leaders who have been demanding more protection. The judges who decide claims by Colombian refugees have also recently requested better protection from the “anti-restitution armies.”

For more information please see, in English: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2013/0409/Tens-of-thousands-march-for-peace-in-Colombia-after-decades-of-conflict?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+feeds%2Fworld+%28Christian+Science+Monitor+|+World%29

In Spanish: http://www.verdadabierta.com/component/content/article/231-los-resistentes/4535-reclamantes-deciden-no-ir-al-acto-de-restitucion-de-santa-paula/

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About Connecting Colombias

Recently retired newspaper reporter with one foot in British Columbia, Canada, the other in Colombia, South America. Fascinated with Colombian culture, Canadian connections, and heroic efforts to return millions of displaced Colombians to lands stolen by paramilitaries, guerrillas and organized crime.

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