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  • Protesters calling attention to the violence caused by paramiliatary groups. 2011

    Protesters calling attention to the violence caused by paramiliatary groups. 2011 | Photo: EFE

Published 1 June 2019
Opinion

The paramilitary group that was supposedly dismantled is still trying to create a climate of fear among those who hope for peace.

Two Colombian police officers have been arrested on charges related to their alleged association with the Aguilas Negras paramilitary group in Colombia  This comes after a group using that name circulated threatening pamphlets at a university targeting people who participated in recent protests against government cuts to public education.

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The two officers, Deputy Commissioner Gerardo William Molano Galvis, who has served on the force for 26 years, and patrolman Enrique De Leon Rodriguez, are believed to have ties to the right-wing narco-paramilitary group. They will be charged with crimes they allegedly committed in 2008 and 2009.

They were detained in the town of Puerto Wilches and will be tried in the capital of the department of Santander, Bucaramanga, the area from which the group originated..

The Aguilas Negras (Black Eagles), a decentralized group of right-wing counter-revolutionaries who were, according to Insight Crime, dismantled, are making a comeback, with their name appearing on pamphlets that threaten the “extermination” of government protesters, including Indigenous groups, leftists, and student leaders, among others.

Last Wednesday, May 20, students at the University of Antioquia started encountering pamphlets distributed around campus which made direct threats on five student leaders and on several groups at the university.

This threat appreared yesterday at the University of Antioquia. If the Aguilas Negras don't exist, then who is using that name? Is it a new military doctrine?  #ColombiaSinMiedo (#ColombiaWithoutFear)

On May 29, another threat was issued in the form of an open letter to seven women working in the areas of human rights, peace negotiation work, or social work in Colombia. The letter made mention of the former candidate for president against Ivan Duque, Gustavo Petro, labeling the women “collaborators and so-called leaders of the leftist guerilla fighter Gustavo Petro and Humane Colombia.”

They continued the threat by saying that “our guns will do the work that others weren’t capable of doing … Death to his (Petro’s) collaborators.”

Social leaders have accused Colombian President Ivan Duque of not doing enough to protect people from these paramilitary group. Since late 2016 when the peace agreement between the Colombian state and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was signed, thousands of Indigenous people have been forcibly displaced, with thousands more being kept in involuntary confinement.

There have also been at least 600 social leaders killed since 2016, with 39 reported in 2019 as of April 12.

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