Another Marcha Patriótica leader murdered, violence against left continues despite assurances
Assurances by the Colombian government, the police and military have apparently done little to slow the massacre of the Marcha Patriótica leaders.
Founder Piedad Córdoba announced Tuesday that yet another community Marcha Patriótica leader was assassinated, bringing the total to 30 since the organization was founded some two years ago.
Duvis Galvis, 33, a mother of three, was shot numerous times in the chest when she returned to her home Monday in North Santander. Galvis was the leader of an organization called Asociación Campesina del Catatumbo which assists coca producers to find alternative crops.
Her murder comes shortly after Córdoba met with high ranking Colombian military and police officials to demand greater protection for Marcha Patriótica, which seeks peace and social and political change.
As often happens in Colombia, the group and its members were subjected to public stigmitization for alleged links with FARC rebels prior to the attacks.
“We are going to take various steps and remain in contact to correct the situation,” Major General Juan Pablo Rodríguez said after meeting with Córdoba on the weekend before the latest attack.
In addition to the murders of Marcha Patriótica community leaders, the level of overall threats and violence has increased recently as Colombia moves towards its 2014 presidential and congressional elections, all while peace negotiations continue to end a half century of armed conflict with FARC rebels.
“Assassinations, disappearances, detentions and threats have been a daily occurrence against social movements in the first three weeks of 2014,” Marcha Patriótica stated on its website.
The left-of-centre political party Unión Patriótica also recently complained of a police officer entering its headquarters, calling a party worker a communist and allegedly assaulting the person.
And a community organizer working to keep former guerrilla leader and Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro from being fired for purportedly mismanaging the city´s garbage collection was also murdered in circumstances which indicate it could have been politically motivated.
Other Petro supporters have been threatened, as was a judge who ruled the mayor´s firing should be delayed until appeals against his dismissal can be heard.
FARC leaders have recently complained increasing violence against left-of-centre political and social groups are undermining confidence in peace talks. A key component of negotiations between the armed rebels and Colombia is that guerrillas may return to political life if they give up armed struggle.
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