Unión Patriótica presidential candidate dismisses reports guerrillas could be behind latest assassination attempt
Unión Patriótica presidential candidate Aída Abella disissed suggestions today that various guerrilla groups could be behind another failed assassination attempt against her on the weekend.
What´s needed is protection for her and other Unión Patriótica candidates who are facing more threats as congressional and presidential campaigns continue.
“There are things that are not normal, everyday there are more threats,”Abella said in an exclusive interview with Connecting Colombias.
Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón said Monday there are indications that the ELN guerrillas were behind the attack. Earlier reports blamed FARC guerrillas, which the government implied could be involved when they said they were active in the area.
Both the FARC and the ELN rejected suggestions they had any involvement in the attack and said the government should investigate.
Abella is under tighter security after a caravan of vehicles carrying her, senate candidate Carlos Lozano and a number of assistants were fired on while they travelled in the oil-rich department of Arauca, on the Venezuelan border.
One vehicle received about 14 bullet holes, but no one was injured in the attack.
It´s the second assassination attempt Abella has survived. She was fired at with a bazooka while she was a Unión Patriótica councillor in Bogotá while she made her way to work in 1996. That attack caused her to leave the country for 17 years.
She returned this fall to once again lead the Unión Patriótica during its rebirth. The Unión Patriótica was born in the 1985 peace negotiations between then Colombian president Belisrio Betancourt and FARC guerrillas. The UP was meant to be a place where FARC members who wished to exchange bullets for ballots could participate politically, but the party attracted a wide group of constituents.
As many as 5,000 members were assassinated in a campaign my illegal drug traffickers allied with right-wing political groups. The Colombian state was found to be complicit in some of the violence particularly the assassination of Unión Patriótica senator Manuel Cepeda who was assassinated in August 1994.
For more information please read in English: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/24/us-colombia-attack-idUSBREA1N02C20140224