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Colombia closes 2019 as “the most violent year” for former FARC guerrillas

The year leaves 77 former FARC guerrillas and 86 social leaders killed.

Last 2019 has become “the most violent year” for former FARC guerrillas since the signing of the peace agreement in 2016 that allowed the conversion of the armed group into a political party, ending more than half a century of armed conflict.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has registered a total of 173 former FARC guerrillas killed in these three years, to which 14 disappearances and 29 assassination attempts are added.

In 2019 alone 77 former combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia were killed, compared to 65 of 2018 and 31 of 2017, which makes it the “most violent year” for them, according to the latest report of the UN Verification Mission.

The UN has called attention to the murder of Alexander Parra, aka ‘Rodolfo Fierro’, which occurred on October 24 in one of the areas where former FARC guerrillas concentrated to make way for civilian life.

“This murder was the first occurred within the protection ring of one of the former Territorial Training and Reintegration Spaces and, therefore, aggravated the perception of insecurity of former FARC members,” said the United Nations.

He has also emphasized that ‘Rodolfo Fierro’ was murdered just a few days before the local and regional elections on October 27, to which his wife, Luz Marina Giraldo, also a former guerrilla, concurred as a candidate for the FARC party.

The Verification Mission has also warned about violence against social leaders and human rights defenders. Since the signing of the peace agreement, at least 303 have been killed, 86 of them in 2019.

The double murder of the marriage of environmental activists Natalia Jiménez and Rodrigo Monsalve shocked Colombians on Christmas Eve. They disappeared on December 20 in full honeymoon and were found three days later with hooded heads, tied hands and grace shots.

Violence has been primed especially with native communities. The Indigenous Guard, which ensures security in indigenous reserves, has suffered several casualties in its attempt to stop the infiltration of armed groups in these lands.

According to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), at least 198 indigenous people have died violently since 2016, mostly in the departments of Cauca, Chocó, Nariño and Antioquia.

ONIC expressed in December its “immense concern” about the situation of violence in five locations in western Antioquia over “the constant presence of armed groups outside the law in indigenous territories that endanger communities.”

“We remember with pain the public opinion that our indigenous communities have been too flogged by the armed conflict and, if that were not enough, today there are still violent factors that put the lives of our indigenous women and men at high risk,” he denounced.

“The presence of illegal armed groups in the ethnic territories continues to have devastating consequences,” Guterres agreed, mentioning in particular homicides, displacements and forced recruitment, including minors.

Another of the groups affected by the renewed violence suffered by Colombia has been candidates for local and regional elections. According to the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation (Pairs), there were 230 victims of “electoral violence” between October 2018 and October 2019, including 22 murders and two disappearances.

Guterres has blamed these crimes on armed groups present “in areas where the limited presence of the State has left institutional gaps and where the lack of economic opportunities has made communities vulnerable to illicit economies.”

Colombia has put an end to the war with the FARC but there are other armed conflicts underway that star the FARC dissidents, the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the People’s Liberation Army (EPL) guerrillas, as well as the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces from Colombia (AGC).

To the usual confrontations between these armed groups and Colombian troops, clashes between rival groups have been added to seize former FARC businesses, such as drug trafficking, extortion or illegal minority.

In 2019 the ghost of the ‘false positives’ has also resurfaced, as the cases of civilians killed by security forces who are presented as guerrillas or criminals in combat to obtain labor advantages are popularly known.

The ‘New York Times’ published in May information based on military sources according to which e

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