Further Attacks on Political Opposition in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 19 May 2009

An abduction attempt against a regional leader of Colombia's political opposition yesterday has increased concerns that efforts are being made to physically eradicate opposition to the regime of President Alvaro Uribe. The attempt follows recent killings of members of the Democratic Pole (DP) opposition party and two death threats issued against leaders of the party in other regions of the country earlier this month.

The May 18th attempt against William Pareja, a prominent DP leader in Valle del Cauca region who is also a member of the Executive of the finance workers trade union UNEB, involved several armed men grabbing him and trying to force him into a jeep with blacked out windows. Although he managed to escape, the incident is comparable to numerous others in which people have successfully been taken away and either killed or disappeared.

Just a day before the attempted abduction, another DP leader in the northern Colombian region of La Guajira was threatened by an armed man who attempted to force his way into his home. Serafina Cantillo Moreno, who is also the leader of the local Association of Displaced people in the town of Barrancas, was at home when the man tried to gain entry at just after 11pm at night. When he failed to get in he shouted at Mr Cantillo Moreno that he would suffer the consequences if he did not leave the region. His targeting may be linked to the '1st Conference of Victims of State Crimes in the Caribbean Coast', which Mr Cantillo Moreno had helped to organise early in the month along with leading human rights groups.

Earlier in the month, at 8am on May 5th, a DP youth leader in the region of Narino on Colombia's southern border with Ecuador was also threatened. Jennifer Burbano Mora, who has reported that she is being followed and that strange men have been hanging around outside of her house, received a call in which she was told that she was a guerrilla and that she must leave the region or die. She subsequently fled her home to another part of the country.

See also Colombian Opposition Activist Murdered, Numerous Others Receive Death Threats and Opposition Political Activist Killed in Colombia



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