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Colombia News Brief for April 6, 2022

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Welcome to LAWG’s Colombia News Brief, a compilation of top articles and reports on issues of peace, justice, human rights, and more in Colombia.

COLOMBIAN ELECTIONS

Racism and misogyny mar Colombia’s election race
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, April 5, 2022
“Colombia’s election observers warned that hate speech targeting the running mate of presidential candidate Gustavo Petro could result in violence. Vice-presidential candidate Francia Marquez said Monday that she had received three death threats in the past month. All three death threats were signed by the ‘Aguilas Negras,’ a far-right group that says to be loyal to former President Alvaro Uribe. In the latest death threat, the Aguilas Negras threatened to kill Petro, Marquez and multiple elected lawmakers of their party to prevent a ‘catastrophe for the country.’” 

Colombia could replace national registrar before presidential elections 
Adriaan Alsema, Caracol, April 5, 2022
“Colombia’s election chief must be replaced to avoid chaos in the presidential elections, according to a coalition of election observers. The non-governmental Electoral Oversight Alliance (AVE) asked the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court and the State Council to replace National Registrar Alexander Vega ahead of the presidential elections on May 29. Vega came under fire after irregularities in the March 13 congressional elections sunk public confidence in electoral authorities, according to Electoral Observation Mission.” 

Elecciones 2022: las ronchas y críticas que dejan las encuestas a la Presidencia
El Espectador, 4 de abril de 2022
“Restan menos de dos meses para la primera vuelta presidencial y a medida que se acerca la hora cero, se intensifican los hervores de la calentura política. La más reciente polémica tiene como protagonistas una serie de encuestas que supuestamente miden la intención de voto y que han desatado el rechazo de candidatos, columnistas y opinión pública en general, quienes expresaron su descontento por la forma como están siendo presentados los resultados”. 

Two Colombian Polls Show No Clear Winner in Presidential Runoff
Ezra Fieser, Bloomberg, April 2, 2022
“Colombian leftist leader Gustavo Petro no longer enjoys a clear path to victory in the upcoming presidential election, according to two new polls published over the weekend…In the likely scenario that the two face each other in a runoff, the first poll found that Petro would receive 43.1% of votes, while Gutierrez would get 40.1% — just within the margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage point.”

PEACE PROCESS

Ante Consejo de Seguridad de ONU, Duque expondrá logros de política de paz 
El Tiempo, 4 de abril de 2022
“El presidente Iván Duque intervendrá el próximo 12 de abril en la sesión ordinaria del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU, ante el cual la Misión de Verificación de ese organismo en Colombia presenta trimestralmente los avances en la implementación de la política de Paz con Legalidad”.  

Aumento de violencia e inseguridad pone en riesgo avances de la paz en Colombia
Caracol Radio, 4 de abril de 2022
“La Misión de Verificación de Naciones Unidas para Colombia presentó su nuevo informe sobre la situación de los acuerdos de paz en Colombia durante el último trimestre (28 de diciembre 2021 – 25 de marzo 2022) en el que reconoce un avance importante en la participación democrática como herramienta para la paz”. 

Presidente Duque revelará ante ONU los avances de la política de Paz con Legalidad
Semana, 4 de abril de 2022
“El próximo 12 de abril el presidente Iván Duque participará en la sesión ordinaria del Consejo de Seguridad de la Organización de Naciones Unidas (ONU), en cuyo escenario entregará detalles de su política de Paz con Legalidad sobre la implementación de los acuerdos con la extinta guerrilla de las Farc”. 

Asesinan en Colombia a dos firmantes del acuerdo de paz
TeleSur TV, 3 de abril de 2022
“El excombatiente Edwin Sánchez Varón, firmante de paz, fue asesinado este sábado 2 de abril en el centro del municipio la Libertad, el en departamento de Guaviare, mientras en Bogotá fue ejecutado otro exrebelde en proceso de reincorporación, Carlos Siabato”. 

Colombia aumenta recompensa por disidente FARC tras ataque
The Los Angeles Times, 29 de marzo de 2022
“Colombia aumentó el martes la recompensa por información que conduzca a la captura y judicialización de Javier Alonso Velosa García, alias ‘Jhon Mechas’, presunto autor intelectual del ataque con explosivos a una estación de policía en Bogotá que el sábado causó la muerte de dos menores de edad”.

CONTINUING ARMED CONFLICT

Ola de violencia en Puerto Wilches: 10 personas asesinadas en tres meses
El Espectador, 4 de abril de 2022
“Dos estilistas y un hombre que se dedicaba a oficios varios en el municipio de Puerto Wilches, Santander, fueron asesinados durante el pasado fin de semana. Uno de estos casos fue el de Luis Gabriel López, de 30 años de edad, quien apareció sin vida en el río Magdalena, en el sector de La Punta del barrio Arenal, con letras del Eln pintadas con aerosol en su espalda. ‘Este joven desde corta edad vivía en nuestro municipio. Era una persona conocida, un joven que trabajaba en oficios varios y había retornado al municipio hace pocos meses y nos encontramos con esta lamentable noticia’, afirmó Óscar Vera, secretario de Gobierno de la localidad”. 

Violence in eastern Colombia has left 130 dead this year, UN and Catholic Church say
Jorge Engels and Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, March 30, 2022
“Some 130 people have been killed and more than 3,000 have been forcibly displaced this year as violence has surged in eastern Colombia, according to the United Nations and the Catholic Church. The institutions have called on armed groups to stop the violence and respect international humanitarian law in a joint statement published Wednesday, after officials visited the Colombian region of Arauca, which borders Venezuela.” 

Venezuelan troops operated alongside Colombian rebels, report claims
The Guardian, March 28, 2022
“Venezuelan soldiers conducted joint operations with Colombian rebels in the state of Apure earlier this year, as violence increased along a remote and often lawless stretch of the Colombia-Venezuela border, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch. The report published on Monday said that in January a truce ended between the National Liberation Army, or ELN, and another rebel organization known as the Joint Eastern Command, leading to clashes, abductions and murders of civilians that forced more than 3,300 people to flee their homes in the Venezuelan state of Apure. In the Colombian province of Arauca, more than 3,800 people were displaced.”

HUMAN RIGHTS

Civilians among 11 killed by military in Colombia raid, say human rights groups
France 24, March 31, 2022
“Those killed by the army were not guerrillas, but civilians, including indigenous comrades,” said Oscar Daza, spokesman for Opiac, an organisation that brings together the Indigenous peoples of the Colombian Amazon. Among the victims were the Quechua governor Pablo Panduro, as well as community leader Divier Hernandez and his wife, rights groups said.” 

Aumentan las tácticas de intimidación
El Espectador, 5 de abril de 2022
“Quieren aterrorizar y silenciar al periodismo independiente e incómodo en Colombia. Nada nuevo, por supuesto, en un país que acostumbra a ver la crítica y la vigilancia al poder como una amenaza para los poderes ilegales, pero en todo caso profundamente preocupante porque hace tiempo que vienen en aumento las tácticas de intimidación”. 

Aumentan recompensa por responsables de asesinatos a jóvenes LGBTI en Medellín
El Espectador, 4 de abril de 2022
“El alcalde de Medellín, Daniel Quintero, anunció el aumento de la recompensa de 40 a 80 millones pesos por información de los responsables de los asesinatos que de manera sistemática se han venido registrando en lo corrido de este año en la capital antioqueña contra la población LGBTI”. 

Fifty social leaders were assassinated in Colombia this year
Luis Linares Petrov, Prensa Latina, April 4, 2022
“According to the Observatory of Human Rights and Conflicts of Indepaz, Jose Pascual Quevedo, community leader, member of a cooperative organization in the department of Guaviare, was killed yesterday. Quevedo was murdered in the morning by armed men who called out to him to exit a public establishment where he was conversing with other people, and was shot.” 

Colombia reports increase in victims of explosive devices 
Ana Luisa Brown, Prensa Latina, April 4, 2022
“The ICRC noted that this figure includes victims of different types of explosive devices: anti-personnel mines, controlled detonation explosive devices and thrown explosive devices. I added that nine people have been killed. The ICRC pointed out that during this stage there were 44 victims of anti-personnel mines and 174 victims of controlled detonations and dropped explosive devices. Of these, 150 were civilians (including 31 minors), 63 members of security forces and five members of armed groups.” 

Colombian landmine victims demand probe of rebel groups
Manuel Rueda, ABC News, April 4, 2022
“Victims of landmine explosions rallied outside Colombia’s peace tribunal Monday to demand an investigation of rebel groups that have placed the explosives around the country, injuring thousands of civilians and troops. The small group of victims was led by congressman Jose Jaime Uscategui, who said the special peace tribunal was not doing enough to investigate crimes committed by rebel groups against civilians and member of the military.” 

Americas: Defence of human rights under fire in pandemic-hit region
Amnesty International, March 29, 2022
“Instead of addressing deep-seated socioeconomic inequalities to deliver a fair recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, states across the Americas waged a sustained assault on the defence of human rights in 2021, targeting peaceful demonstrators, journalists, human rights defenders and civil society organizations in a bid to silence or stamp out dissent, Amnesty International said today upon publishing its annual report. The region remains the world’s deadliest for human rights defenders and environmental activists, with at least 20 killings just in January 2022 and dozens more last year in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.”

ENVIRONMENT 

57 municipios de Antioquia: libres de sospecha por minas antipersonal
El Espectador, 4 de abril de 2022
“El 4 de abril se celebra en el mundo el Día Internacional para la sensibilización contra las minas antipersonal. En Colombia, al 31 de enero de 2022, se tiene registro de 12.152 personas víctimas de este tipo de artefactos, junto a municiones sin explotar; según cifras del Alto Comisionado de Paz. Con este total de personas, por ejemplo, se podría llenar más de siete veces el Teatro Metropolitano de Medellín, y cerca de 2 mil de ellas han perdido la vida”. 

DRUG POLICY

“La guerra contra las drogas es una guerra contra los campesinos”: ONG
El Espectador, 1 de abril de 2022
“Organizaciones sociales de diferentes regiones del país elevaron este viernes un nuevo llamado por cambiar el enfoque de la política contra las drogas. Al menos una decena de ellas se reunieron en Bogotá en el encuentro ‘Políticas de Drogas y Alternativas para la Permanencia Digna en los Territorios’, organizado por el Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (Cajar)”. 

Los retos clave que tendrá el nuevo gobierno en política de drogas
Maria Isabel Ortiz Fonnegras, El Tiempo, 25 de marzo de 2022
“Intervenciones integrales para reducir la siembra de cultivos de uso ilícito, un control de oferta efectivo, mejorar la persecución de los bienes de los narcotraficantes, trabajar desde la salud pública en prevención y mitigación de riesgos por consumo de drogas, promover la investigación, regular el cannabis de uso adulto y liderar una discusión global sobre la regulación de la cocaína”. 

VENEZUELAN CRISIS

Venezuela reinforces security against possible attacks from Colombia
Luis Linares Petrov, Prensa Latina, April 4, 2022
“Domingo Hernandez, Operational Strategic Commander of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces tweeted reporting that the security forces intensified defense and sabotage prevention actions in the face of new terrorist threats from Colombia. Hernandez announced that new contingents were enlisted to increase patrol work on the cross-border axis and maintain the national territory free and sovereign.” 

Colombia/Venezuela: Border Area Abuses by Armed Groups
Human Rights Watch, March 28, 2022
“Fighting between armed groups on the ColombiaVenezuela border has caused a dramatic increase in violence in the early months of 2022 causing thousands to flee, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 1, 2022, clashes broke out between the Joint Eastern Command – a coalition of dissident groups that emerged from the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) – and the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas, over control of territory and illegal activities in Colombia’s Arauca state and Venezuela’s Apure state. Guerrilla fighters from both sides, which had previously operated as allies, have committed a range of abuses including killings, forced recruitment, including of children, and forced displacement.”

* The Colombia News Brief is a selection of relevant news articles, all of which do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Latin America Working Group.

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