ASCAMCAT members José Navas murdered in Catatumbo

On the morning of 29 November, unidentified attackers killed José Antonio Navas in Tibú in the Catatumbo region of northeast Colombia.

José was a member of the ASCAMCAT peasant farmers association which has seen several of its members killed since the peace agreement was signed two years ago. He was also a member of his local Community Council and was working in illicit crop substitution programmes stipulated in the agreement. He had six children.

‘Again history is repeating itself, the murders of ASCAMCAT leaders and members is continuing’, said organisation coordinator Jhonny Abril. ‘In the same way, the threats persist. Today, there are ten leaders displaced from the zone because of death threats’.

Five members of ASCAMCAT have been murdered in 2018 while another two have survived assassination attempts. On 8 November, Luis Tarazona was killed. He had participated in a meeting with a delegation of British MPs and trade unionists from the Justice for Colombia Peace Monitor which visited ASCAMCAT in Catatumbo in August this year (download the delegation report here, which includes a case study on the current situation facing ASCAMCAT members in Catatumbo).

‘The National Government, headed by the President, has to address this region socially, because the situation is social. The regional has 20 police officers, and the situation is getting worse. However, as ASCAMCAT, we continue working towards peace in the Catatumbo territory’, said Abril.

 

In October, the delegates of the JFC Peace Monitor who met with ASCAMCAT released a statement expressing support for the organisation and its members in the face of high levels of aggression.