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News > Colombia

Colombia: Death of Student Remains in Impunity After One Month

  • A boy holds a sign reading ‘Colombia without ESMAD’ during a demonstration in Bogota, Colombia, Dec. 23, 2019.

    A boy holds a sign reading ‘Colombia without ESMAD’ during a demonstration in Bogota, Colombia, Dec. 23, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 December 2019

President Duque filled the police with praise for the role it played during the November nationwide strike.

Despite the existence of videos that could be used to detect the culprits, the murder of Dilan Cruz continues in total impunity as Colombia's President Ivan Duque praises the Riot Squadron (ESMAD).


Colombia Holds National Strike, Concert & Marches in Medellin

The assassination of the 18-year-old citizen was remembered by Colombians who took to the streets on Dec. 23 to protest the loss of a student who was hit in the head on Nov. 23 while he was unarmed and running away from the Police.

This happened amidst a nationwide strike in which thousands of Colombians including workers and students participated. In those days at least five people were killed and nearly 1,000 people injured.​​​​​​​

A month after these events, President Duque filled the police with praise for the role it played during the strike, highlighting that ESMAD counteracted the damage that "vandals" intended to commit.​​​​​​​

"I want to praise the work accomplished by defending mobility, public transport, the right to work and the right to free enterprise since we have seen that some vandals thought to take away the tranquility of citizens," Duque said during a ceremony at the General Santander Police School.

"Exact moment when ESMAD hits and threatens several journalists today in Bogota."

The Dilan Cruz memorial event took place in the downtown area of ​​Bogota, where the ESMAD showed again to repress and disperse the participants.

"People ​​​​​​​were peaceful... They were at a party and happily banging pots. But ESMAD very aggressively came in to throw things," Cecilia, a woman who attended the tribute, said.

So far, the state institutions involved in the investigation of the Dilan Cruz murder have been trying to convince the Colombians that his death was just an accident.

“It was an accident resulting from a confrontation between people who were protesting violently and the reaction of the authorities who are made to that,” Interior Minister Nancy Gutierrez said.

"This is 'the vandal' who unscrupulous media, which only serve the evil and corrupt state, speak of. This is young Dilan Cruz Medina," his maternal grandfather said. Dilan used to help his grandfather in his mason job​​​​​​​.

On Wednesday, the indignation of Colombians increased more when it was reported that cultural promoter Lucy Villarreal was killed after a workshop with children that took place on Christmas Eve.

The murder occurred in Tumaco, a population located in the department of Nariño, which is an area where dozens of paramilitary gangs operate.

Villarreal was a member of the Indo-American Cultural Foundation, which is made up of musicians and dancers who will perform at the "Blacks & Whites" Carnival in Pasto city in early January.

On December 10, Alberto Brunoni, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights representative in Colombia, reported that at least 86 human rights defenders have been killed during 2019. ​​​​​​

Since the signing of the Peace Agreement in 2016, however, over 500 social leaders have been killed in Colombia. The vast majority of cases remain unsolved.​​​​​​​

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