Further Threats and Killings in Santander Region

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 25 May 2009

Two peasant farmers have been assassinated and several trade unionists threatened in the central Colombian region of Santander. The oil workers trade union, two of whose activists received a written threat apparently posted from the regional Governor's office, says that they believe the Government to be behind the threat. On May 23rd unknown men also threatened the father of another leading trade unionist in the region.

The killings, which occurred at around 4.30pm on May 21st, happened after several armed men arrived at the home of Pedro Bonilla Chivata and Heidy Johana Caballero Guerrero and shot them dead. Their one-year-old child was left alive but is now an orphan. The same men are believed to be behind the threat issued to Rosendo Duarte Avila in the nearby town of Sabana de Torres. Mr Duarte Avila is the father of the treasurer of the regional agricultural workers trade union ASOGRAS.

Meanwhile, in the city of Barrancabermeja, also in Santander, Moises Baron Cardenas, a leader of the oil workers trade union USO was sent an envelope on May 19th including a condolence note for his death and that of his union colleague Rafael Reyes. Though the threat was signed by the 'Black Eagles' paramilitary death squad it was postmarked with the stamp of the Santander Regional Government Office leading the union to accuse the authorities of being behind it.

For more news from Santander see Trade Unionists Forced to Flee Homes in Central Colombia After Authorities Refuse Protection and Colombian Trade Unionist Forced to Stay in Her House as Armed Men Attempt to Burn it Down

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