Colombia experienced another weekend of massacres. In less than 12 hours, 13 people were killed in two regions of the country. In Betania, southwest of the department of Antioquia, eight coffee pickers were massacred; while in Cauca, one of the regions most affected by political violence, five people were murdered.
In the first case, ten armed men came to a coffee farm and fired at the peasants. The massacre could be greater: in addition to the eight dead, two more peasants were injured and transferred to hospitals in Medellín, while four other coffee pickers fled and survived, according to the mayor of Betania, Carlos Mario Villada. “There is a dispute over the places of vice [droga] that went from the urban areas to the rural areas, ”he told local radio. It is maintained, he added, by two factions of the Clan del Golfo, a paramilitary drug gang. However, information is still lacking and the arrival of Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo is expected for a security council.
On the other hand, in Cauca the massacre occurred on Saturday in the municipality of Algeria. Armed men came to a bar and killed five people. Two other peasants were injured. The region has suffered from the presence of FARC dissidents and the dispute with other illegal groups. In recent days, Cauca has also been the scene of attacks on social leaders and an attack against the indigenous congressman Feliciano Valencia.
Criticism of Duque
The repeated killings have become one of the main criticisms of the security management of President Iván Duque and Holmes Trujillo. The latter has been summoned to Congress to answer for the situation of violence, which is also reflected in the continued murder of social leaders. According to the NGO Indepaz, which keeps track of the massacres, 75 have been registered so far in 2020.
In August alone, there were five massacres in less than 11 days, with at least 30 deaths. Although the figures vary compared to those of the Government, which denies that the killings have increased, the deterioration is evident and this practice, which threatens entire populations, has increased. According to the Ideas for Peace Foundation, between 2015 and June 2017 there were 29 massacres with 120 victims, in contrast to 41 massacres with 210 victims between 2018 and June 2020.