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Published On: Wed, Mar 7th, 2018

Colombian police officers accused of driving Social Democrat presidential candidate into ambush

nsnbc : Colombia’s National Police is drawing sharp criticism after Social Democrat presidential candidate Gustavo Petro said police led him exactly to the point where would-be assassins could open fire on him. The National Police has launched an “internal investigation”.

Are Colombian authorities proposing cartoon physics?

Are Colombian authorities proposing cartoon physics?

Social Democrat Gustavo Petro was the victim of an assassination attempt last week on March 2 in the city of Cucuta. Videos made during the attempted assassination plot indicate that police escorted Gustavo Petro into “a hostile crowd” where he was shot at.

The prosecution has thus far failed to confirm or deny that the candidates car was taken under fire. Petro has accused Cucuta’s jailed former Mayor Ramiro Suarez of “orchestrating the attack from prison”.

“We were taken to the exact point where armed men were ready to shoot, and they shot at me. In Colombia there was an attempt on the life of a presidential candidate”, said Gustavo Petro. Suarez was a political ally of the hard-right former President Alvaro Uribe until his arrest in 2007.

See video for impact of projectiles. Courtesy Colombia Informa TV.

Attacks against leftist political candidates have marred Colombia’s 2018 election campaign. Frequent attacks on candidates of the leftist FARC have been considered so “normal” that police said “it could not do more to protect FARC candidates and campaigners”. The situation has led the FARC to withdraw from the 2018 campaign trail due to lack of security.

However, an attack on  Social Democrat candidate is not “normal”, even according to Colombian ways to construct “normality”. The more than 30 FARC members who were murdered since the signing of the December 2016 peace accord, and now the attack on a Social Democrat bring back memories to the “bloody 1990s” when several leftist and reformist candidates were assassinated in a wave of political violence that left the country traumatized and prompted the FARC-EP to return to civil war instead of standing by while watching leftist politicians, community and grass roots leaders be massacred with impunity.

On Sunday Gustavo Petro criticized police and prosecution for their slow – almost stoic response in the incident. National Police Director General Jorge Nieto, who previously had claimed police had done everything in its power to protect FARC campaigners said “The only thing that is clear is that the National Police and all the authorities … have a clear responsibility to guarantee security and peaceful coexistence”.

The prosecution has seized the armored car in which Petro was driving, but has yet to confirm whether there was an assassination attempt or not. According to the official version of events, the car was hit by eggs and rocks. A video from inside the car, however, clearly shows that a projectile was lodged inside the bullet-proof glass near Petro. It would require near-cartoon-physics to have an egg or even a hurled rock penetrate several layers of the bullet-proof glass and to stay lodged inside the window. The car took several hits, some of them obviously from firearms. Petro’s allegation that police could have willingly driven him into an ambush, however, does not seem to be consistent with the fact that the windows of the car took several hits where the officers were seated.

The prosecution has seized the armored car in which Petro was driving, but has yet to confirm whether there was an assassination attempt or not. Petro, a former guerrilla and Bogota mayor, has been mobilizing large crowds urging reforms to curb systemic corruption, and an opening up of the country’s democracy and economy. His main rival is Democratic center party leader and former President Alvaro Uribe.

A/N & CH/L – nsnbc 07.03.2018

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