Announcements

We are going to Colombia. Here’s why

Observers from the Progressive International land in Bogotá amid escalating violence against workers, farmers, and activists
On Sunday, Colombia will head to the polls to elect a new Congress amid a wave of assassinations and repression against social movement leaders. At the invitation of Colombia’s National Electoral Council (CNE), the Progressive International has mobilized to observe the legislative elections as its members express fears of violence.
On Sunday, Colombia will head to the polls to elect a new Congress amid a wave of assassinations and repression against social movement leaders. At the invitation of Colombia’s National Electoral Council (CNE), the Progressive International has mobilized to observe the legislative elections as its members express fears of violence.

Less than a year has passed since the militarized crackdowns on the historic popular protests of 2021. Yet this violence is just one part of a broader campaign of extermination to which Colombia’s state authorities remain complicit.

Last month, Teófilo Acuña and Jorge Tafur, two leaders from the campesino movement, were assassinated in the night while in a house in the village of Puerto Oculto, municipality of San Martín, in the department of Cesar. Jorge Tafur had recently been elected to the board of the National Agrarian Coordinating Committee; Teófilo Acuña was the former president of the Federación Agrominera del Sur de Bolívar, as well as a beloved spokesperson for the Congreso de los Pueblos, a member of the Progressive International.

Just days before their murders, they denounced harassment of peasant communities by the police, large landowners, and local politicians. Their blood, and the blood of thousands more, has stained Colombia’s democratic process long before preparations for these legislative elections began.

Since the signing of the internationally heralded Colombian Peace Agreement in 2016, 306 of the signatories of these agreements have been murdered, according to INDEPAZ, an NGO watchdog. In total, over 1320 social leaders have been killed during this same time.

Two days after the murders of Acuña and Tafur, assassins attempted to kill a congressional candidate, slaying his bodyguard. On the very same night, another signatory of the Peace Agreement was murdered at his cooperative’s board meeting.

Colombian movements have called the killings tantamount to an “ongoing genocide”. “These are genocidal practices, practices to exterminate us as a social and political movement,” said Erika Prieto, a leader from PI member Congreso de los Pueblos.

That is why the Observatory of the Progressive International has dispatched a delegation to Bogotá: to help ensure that the electoral process remains free, fair, and above all peaceful. Follow the @ProgIntl for updates throughout the delegation.

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Date
10.03.2022

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2020-05-10

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