Colombia News: Assassination Attempts and Botched US Military Missions

October 3rd, 2020 - by Alliance for Global Justice & teleSUR & Colombia Reports

Assassination Attempt against Piedad Córdoba

Statement from the Alliance for Global Justice

 (October 2, 2020) — From the Alliance for Global Justice: we condemn the attack against our colleague and friend Piedad Córdoba Ruiz, a Colombian lawyer and politician, on September 30 in the city of Bogotá. On Wednesday night, a group of eight armed men shot at the ex-senator’s vehicle. This attack, the constant threats against Piedad Córdoba Ruiz, and the murder of human rights defenders who seek peace in Colombia are evidence of the serious situation of violence that the country is going through.

The attack against Piedad Córdoba Ruiz comes days after the ex-Senator demanded that the Special Jurisdiction for Peace pay greater attention to the victims of paramilitarism and shortly before she declared that she would bring to the Truth Commission the evidence that involve the intellectual authors of the assassination of lawyer Álvaro Gómez Hurtado back in 1991.

We at the Alliance for Global Justice demand:

• Immediate and transparent investigation of the attack against Piedad Córdoba Ruiz, and the capture of the material and intellectual authors of the attack.

• immediate and transparent investigation of the threats against Piedad Córdoba Ruiz.

• That the Ombudsman’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office investigate the attacks and murders of human rights defenders and the Colombian people who work for peace. No more impunity!

Human Rights Leader Piedad Cordoba Dodges Assassination Attempt in 2016


(April 1, 2016) — According to news agency REMA ACPP, Piedad Cordoba narrowly escaped an attempt on her life in Quibdo, Choco, Colombia.

Piedad Cordoba, a former Colombian senator and a journalist for teleSUR has been instrumental in forging a path to peace with social justice in Colombia.

“Fortunately I was not shot because of the fast action and coordination of my bodyguards and that I saw the guy draw a gun. I have never run so fast in my life in high heels, I think I finished the 100-meter sprint in 10 seconds,” said Cordoba

However, Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas denied Cordoba’s version, according to the news agency Las Dos Orillas.  “The police’s first-hand version is that … when the ex-senator exited her speech, she and her bodyguards crossed the street … In that moment there was a general alarm produced by an explosive device in the area – an alarm that proved to be false – that made people run in the direction of the ex-senator and this generated heighten alertness on the part of her bodyguards,” Villegas explained.

Cordoba added, “He came out from behind a post, made a signal and I saw him … we ran to the cornePresident Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela spoke over the phone with Cordoba to express his solidarity with her after the attempt on her life, according to Hector Rodiguez, a Nationbal Assembly member on his Twitter account.

From Ecuador, Foreign Minister Guillaume Long expressed “all (his) solidarity” with Piedad Cordoba and “firmly condemned” the attack she was victim of from his Twitter account. “Peace shall triumph in Colombia!” he affirmed.

Prensa Rural suggested Cordoba’s assailants likely came from a paramilitary group like the Black Eagles, who are calling for a march on Saturday against the peace deal, along with other far-right sectors.

“(Former President Alvaro) Uribe said his peace process — via subjugation — had been successful. Today paramilitaries try to kill Piedad Cordoba,” said the daily paper on Twitter.

After over 50 years of guerilla warfare against repressive Colombian governments, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army and the National Liberation Army are holding peace talks with the Colombian government in hopes of ending years of conflict that has created more than 6.7 million victims and taking at least 220,000 lives.

Political movement Marcha Patriotica – whose spokesperson is Cordoba – called Colombians to protect her, saying “if this country doesn’t let us get involved in politics freely, what type of democracy are we talking about?”

P2012 Plot to Assassinate Piedad Cordoba Uncovered

Brandon Barrett  / Colombia Reports

(May 9, 2012) — Former Colombian senator and hostage negotiator Piedad Cordoba claimed that she is the target of an assasination plot Wednesday.

“It is an assassination scheme that is very well designed and very well organized in terms of technology,” Cordoba said.

“We are greatly concerned about the plan to assassinate Piedad Cordoba, but there have also been threats from the Black Eagles and the Rastrojos [neo-paramilitary groups] towards human rights organizations,” said Olga Amparo Sanches, a member of Cordoba’s human rights group, Colombians for Peace.

Cordoba wants the government to ensure the safety of high-ranking officials and increase security measures.

“The government must guarantee us life and must safeguard our right to form organizations to participate in politics and to seek peace,” the former senator said.

Andres Villamizar, the director of Colombia’s National Protection Agency, responded to Cordoba’s request, saying “she can have absolute confidence that officials will receive protection and support for their work from the Colombian state.”

He added that the government is open to altering security measures offered to Cordoba if she feels changes are necessary.

The murder plot was allegedly hatched by a group of residents of Turmeque, a town in northern Colombia, responsible for the deaths of “hundreds of human rights defenders,” according to Cordoba.

“Paramilitarism is not over in Colombia,” she added.

Cordoba, who helped to negotiate the April release of 10 hostages held by the FARC, said that Colombians for Peace will not mediate the release of captured French journalist Romeo Langlois.

The reporter was taken into FARC captivity April 28 when he was wounded in a firefight between the FARC and the army platoon he was embedded with. The Frenchman was filming a documentary on counternarcotics operations for news network France 24.

Colombia court orders suspension of US military manuevers.

Judge Gives Duque 48 Hours to Suspend US Military Operations in Colombia

Adriaan Alsema / Colombia Reports

(July 2, 2020) — A judge gave Colombia’s President Ivan Duque 48 hours to suspend the participation of American troops in counternarcotics operations.

The US sent 53 soldiers of a so-called Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) to Colombia on June 1 to assist Colombia’s military in counternarcotics operations in war-torn areas.

According to the judge, the government failed to ask permission from Congress before allowing foreign soldiers to carry out operations inside the country, making the US mission illegal.

Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo told Congress he didn’t need such permission after which opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda took the matter to the Cundinamarca Administrative Tribunal.

The judge ruled that if Trujillo wants the US soldiers to continue their operations he must either receive permission from Congress or successfully appeal the ruling within 72 hours.

The decision is a major blow for the defense minister, who must now explain to the US embassy he messed up the bilateral operations because he forgot to obey the law.

Trujillo, whose father was openly praised by late drug lord Pablo Ecobar, was already under pressure over his failure to effectively reduce cocaine production.

Congress has demanded the defense minister implement the counternarcotics element of a 2016 peace deal with the FARC, which prioritizes crop substitution.

The White House has been pushing for a more hard-line approach, including the aerial fumigation of coca.

The defense minister is doing neither of these and additionally has been ordered to end joint forced eradication operations.

Apart from that, Trujillo’s promise to US Defense Secretary Mark Esper to increase the forced eradication of coca to a record 130,000 hectares this year is falling apart.

Instead of increasing this notoriously ineffective strategy with 40%, the Defense Ministry reported a 30% drop in forcibly eradicated hectares of coca in the first four months of the year.

Meanwhile, potential cocaine production reached a new record level in 2019, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

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