Yet another Bogotá woman attacked by acid-throwing assailants, pressure grows on government to act
Yet another Bogotá woman has been attacked by acid-throwing assailants as pressure mounts on the Colombian government to do something to halt the nightmarish attacks.
Four Bogotá women have had their faces and bodies doused in corrosive acids in less than two weeks. The Colombian congress is expected to finally do something to restrict the sale of the dangerous products.
And the wife of President Juan Manuel Santos, María Clemencia Rodríguez, is calling for lengthy prison sentences for the attackers.
“This is an invitation for all of Colombia to come together and condemn these acts of cowardice,” Clemencia Rodriguez said as the Colombian capital prepares for a massive peace march Wednesday, the 66th anniversary of the assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán.
Gaitán´s assassination set off an orgy of violence in the Colombian capital known as the Bogotazo, that Colombia has never really extinguished. A special session of Congress is set for Wednesday when some 500 leaders of victim´s of violence are to be recognized as the nation attempts to move forward in peace negotiations with FARC guerrillas and heal the wounds of decades of armed struggle.
The terrifying assaults on women on the streets of Bogotá are demonstrating the level of violence and insecurity Colombians – especially women – face.
Colombian politicians have long ignored calls to restrict the sale of chemicals such as sulphuric acid. It appears they now will respond to the intense public pressure that is mounting in the midst of Colombia´s presidential election campaign.
Congresswoman Gloria Stella Diaz is campaigning to have the maximum sentence for such attacks raised from 10 to 18 years.
Yet Colombians are aware that a state of near impunity exists for those who destroy the lives of their victim’s with acid, just as it does for those who threaten and kill human rights workers, union leaders and the leaders of campesinos displaced by mining, petroleum and agricultural industries.
The scope of the problem is daunting. From 2004 to 2013, 928 persons were attacked with acid.
And reports show ignoring the problem has not worked. Some 246 reported cases between 2010 and 2013, according to a study conducted by the Spanish website Feminicidio.net and data collated by the Ministry of Health.
Natalia Ponce de León was attacked by a young man on March 27. She remains in hospital fighting for her life after enduring a number of operations.
Zorleny Pulgarín, 23, was attacked after an argument with her neighbours and is also reported to be in a battle for her life.
Another woman was attacked on the weekend. Now, as the city prepares for its peace march, two men on a motorcycle have attacked yet another woman.
Early reports suggest the latest attack was with a less destructive substance than sulphuric acid, but that the female victim later received a text informing her she would be attacked again, more severely.
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