Patriotic March Organiser Disappeared

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Human rights groups have reported the disappearance of Martha Cecilia Guevara Oyola in San Vicente del Caguan, in the south of Colombia. Martha Guevara had been active in organising the local delegation to the Patriotic March, which was held in Bogota last week.

Prior to the march, local and national media had broadcast a series of military and establishment figures who accused the Patriotic March of being a FARC front organisation. In Caguan, Colonel Freddy Diaz Ortiz went on local radio to link the March to the guerrillas.

On April 20th Martha Guevara was preparing to leave with the delegation to Bogota. She travelled to Laureles Bajos in order to go to the doctors, then she dropped her suitcase with her husband. Shortly afterwards she was seen in a cheese shop, where she said she had been called urgently by her sister in Bogota, and that she had to leave immediately. She left a message for her husband saying she would see him there. She has not been seen since.

Her husband has said that according to the family in Bogota, nobody had called her that day. Mrs Guevara’s disappearance is part of a spate of killings and disappearances which have targeted organisations and individuals involved in the Patriotic March. On April 18th Herman Henry Diaz, a peasant organiser from Putumayo was disappeared after organising the Putumayo delegation to the Patriotic March. On April 27th, Mao Enrique Rodriguez, a bodyguard to Carlos Lozano and Alfonso Castillo, was killed in Bogota. On the same day, Daniel Aguirre Piedrahita, the General Secretary of SINALCORTEROS cane cutters’ union was gunned down in Florida, Valle. Other organisations have noted a sharp increase in the number of threats being received by those linked to the March.

The Patriotic March is a Colombian civil society initiative to bring together social movements and other civil society organisations in order to democratically develop an alternative political voice. The Patriotic March is for a peaceful resolution to the armed social conflict, and for a socio-economic structure that can ensure social justice as well as peace.



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