Well known opposition member assassinated

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 10 January 2011

A poster commemorating victims of the genocide of the Patriotic Union Party

A poster commemorating victims of the genocide of the Patriotic Union Party

Jose Lenin Mayusa – former local councillor and opposition activist was assassinated upon arriving to the shop he worked at in the municipality of La Union, Valle de Cauca Department in Western Colombia at 5.30pm on 31st December 2010. He was shot twice in the head and then a further 6 times by gunmen.

The 51 year old had formerly been displaced from the town of Vistahermosa, Meta Department in 1988, alongside the rest of his family. He was a well known leader of the Patriotic Union Party – a political party founded in the 1980s – of which approximately 4000 members have been assassinated. The entire Mayusa family, a family long involved in opposition and trade union activity – has been the target of constant persecution by the state and paramilitaries. Jose Lenin is the fourth brother to have been killed:

In 1992 Solomon Mayusa was disappeared and in 2003 Alexander Mayusa’s dismembered body was discovered in a plastic bag. In August 2008, the third brother, trade unionist and local human rights activist Luis Mayusa was also killed.

Two of their sisters – Carmen and Nieves Mayusa – activists from the Health Workers’ trade union and the Agricultural Workers’ trade union, were imprisoned without being convicted of any crime for over two years, from May 2006 to June 2008, finally being released after an international campaign for their freedom.

Several of their cousins and uncles have also been murdered in recent years.

In an interview with Carmen Mayusa following the killing of Jose Lenin, she stated that it was ironic that the town was heavily policed and militarised during the murder, yet no one has been arrested for the assassination, and the crime has remained unpunished, like so many other crimes against her family. When asked why her brother was killed, she said, “I think the motivation was political. We have been constantly threatened by dark forces of the state. We have been the victims of imprisonment, unjust criminalisation, and constant selective assassinations. What was the Mayusa family practically does not exist anymore. The men have all been killed.”

She also stated that although they have repeatedly reported death threats to the Attorney General’s office, both before and after the assassination of Luis Mayusa, nothing has been done to provide state protection to what remains of the Mayusa family.

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