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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/25/18

Who is Killing Indigenous Leaders in Colombia and Brazil? Newspapers say Paramilitaries~Families Blame NarcoTraffickers

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Before launching into this deeply disturbing analysis of indigenous leaders' homicides, I ask you to take a few minutes and watch the video of the funeral of this young man being buried in the mountains of Colombia. His name was Edwin Dagua Ipia; he was 25, a leader of the Nasa Tribe, and governor of Resguardo Indà gena Huellas of the municipality of Caloto, in the Colombian department of Cauca.

Siembra de Sa't we'sx Edwin Dagua Ipia

Shameful that only a few American news outlets have covered this; one was Democracy Now, another was Newsclick, and the thorough Dec. 20 Counterpunch article by Eric Draitser (how I learned of this). I have probed deeper into news coverage in Colombia, and have distilled for you several articles from Latin American news outlets which I translated into English. Also, there has been earlier coverage of these matters.

The Miami Herald had an article 5 days ago:

Colombia signed a peace deal. So why have 164 community leaders been killed this year?

Before her brother and colleague were killed, before her daughter was stabbed, before she was raped and doused with acid, before she lost her husband, her business and her home, Martha Rojas dreamed of children playing soccer.

A one-time community leader and entrepreneur in the town of La Tebaida, in western Colombia, Rojas' life changed when her plans to create a youth soccer league ran afoul of local gangs. Now she's living in a bare room with no water or electricity, hiding from those who want her dead.

The government's Ombudsman's office says community leaders like Rojas are being killed, threatened and harassed at record levels. Some 164 community leaders have been assassinated this year - the highest level in three years. The crimes are particularly jarring at a time when the national homicide rate is plummeting and as the country is being celebrated for signing a 2016 peace deal with its largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Rojas is clear that it's criminals who are the cause of her problems, but she says the government has also exacerbated the situation. While she was in Spain, the prosecutor's office dropped her case, alleging that it didn't know how to reach her.

Speaking from her home on a recent weekday, Rojas said she wasn't scared to speak out because "the worst has already happened to me." But she still fears for her life.

"I really want to keep living because I still have dreams," she said. "And dreaming doesn't cost anything."

click here>>>>>

and the UK's The Guardian as well:

Colombian activists face 'extermination' by criminal gangs

23 August 2018

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