Colombia is plunged into the vortex of pre-election violence

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Campaign-related violence in the run-up to Colombia’s 2022 presidential and parliamentary elections has been recorded on average every four days for the past five months, a non-governmental organization said on Wednesday, warning that threats and killings are likely to increase as votes approach.

Between March 13 and August 23, 29 violent incidents were recorded, which claimed the lives of 6 people, according to a report released yesterday by the Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation (Fundación Paz y Reconciliación, Pares).

Most of the victims were elected – mayors, city councilors – of progressive parties, such as the Green Alliance or Human Colombia, Pares reported.

«This situation is likely to worsen at national level, given the strengthening of alternative political parties over the traditional political order.“, Is pointed out in the text.

«As time goes on and the nomination process progresses, we will see an increase in the number of violent incidents.“, Warned Esteban Salasar, one of the authors of the report, during a press conference of the Foundation that was given digitally.

Colombia’s parliamentary elections are scheduled for March 2022. The first round of the presidential election will take place in May.

Although the 2016 peace agreement between the then government and the former rebel organization Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) generally led to a reduction in violence, mass deportations, killings and other violent incidents continue to be reported in several areas. to FARC insurgents, gangs that on several occasions formed members of former far-right paramilitary organizations and the National Liberation Army (ELN, Guevara), officially the last rebel organization to continue operating in the country.

About 72% of the perpetrators remain unknown and unpunished, the report said. Just over 27% of attacks are attributed to organized crime gangs.

«Some pay executors to kill or threaten these people“Pares’ deputy director, Ariel Avila, said victims often complained of corruption, mineral exploitation or coca cultivation, the leaves of which are the basis of the cocaine production process.

«Where there is a high level of electoral competition, the use of force seems to be another mechanism of political controversy.“, Added Mr. Avila.

Violence and threats during the 2019 municipal and regional election campaign had 230 victims, according to the study; such incidents were recorded in 28 of Colombia’s 32 provinces.

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