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Published On: Tue, Aug 15th, 2017

Demobilized FARC commander assassinated in northern Colombia

nsnbc : The demobilized former commander of the FARC’s 18th front, Jesus Adan Mazo a.k.a. Molina, was assassinated Monday in northern Colombia.

Ituango_Colombia_FARC leader Molina assassinated_Aug 2017Jesus Adan Mazo was killed in his Antioquia home in northern Colombia on Monday at 1 a.m. local time. The assassination took place inside a home near a FARC demobilization camp in Ituango municipality in Antioqua.

Mazo was registered in the demobilization process as FARC “militia member” but not as guerrilla. This status meant that Mazo, although he was registered as a FARC member, neither was obliged nor allowed to stay inside a demobilization camp located in the nearby hamlet of Santa Lucia. The homicide was reported by FARC members who are staying inside the UN monitored camp.

The assassination casts renewed and serious doubts of Colombian authorities capability – or willingness – to protect demobilized FARC guerrilla, leftist grassroots activists, or community leaders, and that, no more than a month before the demobilized FARC is scheduled to form a legal, non-militant political party.

It should be noted that the assassination was carried out in one of Colombia’s allegedly “most secure areas”, and yet, police could not prevent the assassination of this high-profile former FARC member. FARC guerrilla from the Santa Lucia demobilization camp stated:

According to the neighbors, the armed men removed him from the house and shot him three times, enough to end his life. This is the second ex-combatant of the FARC who is assassinated in Ituango. The death of “Molina” occurs just the day before the completion of Transitional Standardization Zones and the beginning of the Territories of Training and Reincorporation, which causes fear among the inhabitants of that path as they consider this as “a very clear and fatal message for the process”

The FARC also notes that at least seven demobilized FARC members and ten family members of FARC guerrilla have been assassinated since December 1, 2016 when the demobilization began.

In June 2017 The Colombian grassroots website Pacifica.Co documented that 37 of Colombia’s social leaders were assassinated since the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army have begun their demobilization while others are seriously threatened. The pattern is similar to the one during the 1980s and 1990s when thousands of members of the leftist Patriotic Union Party were murdered.

The primary suspects are the right-wing neo-paramilitary Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC) a.k.a. Los Urabenos and the Aguilas Negras. Also in this regard the pattern resembles the massacres committed during the 19980s and 90s. That is, assassinations of leftist leaders by paramilitaries and gangs with close ties to Colombia’s right-wing economic, political and military elite.

The latest leader to be killed before the FARC-EP had completed its demobilization was  Mauricio Fernando Lopez, a leader of the teachers union of the Valle University where he trained the university soccer team. In front of family members, a group of hooded men entered his home, gagged him and dragged him away. A few hours later his apparently tortured body was found just miles from his home.

The US-based human rights organization Washington Office on Latin America reported that a number of leaders and communities remain under imminent threat while authorities fail to effectively provide security to some. In one case, the Colombian National Army is accused of colluding with the AGC – which should not surprise anyone who knows Colombia.

CH/L – nsnbc 15.08.2017

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