Vía Campesina shares this newsletter on Colombia with the aim of spreading information on the resurgence of the humanitarian crisis in the country, the persecution of the social movement, the criminalization of the sons of the countryside and the poor. The genocide of the Colombian social movement continue: two historical leaders Teófilo Acuña and Jorge Tafur, members of the National Agrarian Coordinator – CNA were assassinated at the end of February, with them there are already 57 social leaders assassinated in 2022. Rural communities continue to be attacked not only by illegal armed groups, but also by the National Army. Serious violations of the rights of peasant, indigenous, and Afro-descendant communities are being committed because of Duque government’s militaristic strategy of environmental protection. Cases of extrajudicial executions continue to arise from the army: at the end of March, military troops perpetrated a massacre in which 11 civilians were killed in Putumayo.
These first 2 months of the year have been marked by a very marked deepening of violence, which is common in Colombia during the pre-electoral period, and even more so when the progressive movement has real possibilities of reaching power. The legislative elections of 13th March offered victory to the converging sectors in the centre-left coalition of the Pacto Histórico, positioned as the leading political force in Congress. There is a lot of expectation for the presidential election on May 29 as it is likely that a candidate with affinities on the left, for the first time in history, will win the race for the presidency.
The aggressions suffered by leaders and social organizations are promoted by local ordinances fearing losing territorial control. Landowners and urbanism are defeated thanks to the progress of the alternative sectors grouped in the historical pact. There is a strong concern about the possibilities of electoral fraud, as thousands of people have voluntarily registered as election witnesses to exercise and watch during the day of the votes.
Social and popular organizations continue their work in defence of life, land, and territory. From different regions of the country, humanitarian agreements as mechanisms for the mitigation of human rights violations produced in the context of the armed conflict are promoted with a strategic perspective to foster the dialogue of the State with illegal armed actors. We call all democratic sectors to support these proposals and demand from the Colombian State dialogue with the armed groups and a political escape from the conflict.
The quest for peace takes on renewed importance during recent times of turmoil. Stopping the war in Colombia, Ukraine, Palestine, and all over the world is our compromise: confronting this development of war, unity, and solidarity among the peoples.