Anibal Gaviria, is running to be governor of Antioquia, the second biggest regional economy in Colombia. A report published Thursday, by Colombia Reports, revealed his family's wealth came from selling land of displaced peasants, along with owning a number of private companies linked to right-wing paramilitary groups.
New Murder of Indigenous Leader in Antioquia, Colombia
He is leading the polls for the governor race and his controversial history seems to have failed to trigger conversations in Colombia.
Anibal Gaviria has already served as governor of Antioquia, between 2004-2007, in which it was widely acknowledged that his father had negotiated the support of the United Self-Defenders of Colombia, a (AUC) far-right paramilitary group who drummed up support for Anibal in the northern and eastern areas of the province though mobilization and intimidation. Anibals father then passed away in 2014 before the prosecution could file charges over the issue.
Then during Gaviria’s governorship, during which he was a close ally of right-wing President Uribe, the Gaviria family bought huge areas of land from displaced Campesinos (many of them displaced by the AUC) paying them well below market value, taking advantage of the fact they had fled in terror.
In 2011, a court recognized that the land the Gaviria family had acquired from displaced people had been acquired illegally, and ordered its return, an order that was ignored by the family.
Colombia Reports also found that six companies owned by the Gavirias are in the midst of legal troubles, for of which are accused of receiving financing from paramilitary operations, while two others have illegally taken land from displaced Campesinos.
Despite Gaviria’s background, Anibal is on course for a landslide victory in Antioquia, after gaining the support of the Liberal Party, The U Party, Radical Change and even the Green Party.
A poll published in July by the ‘National Consulting Center’ predicted that Anibal would win 41 percent of the vote, with the second-place candidate Andres Guerra getting just six percent. Though, the poll also showed 40 percent of voters saying that they’re either unsure or not voting. The elections will be held on Oct. 27, 2019.
The issue of paramilitary violence is still a burning problem in Colombia, despite the signing of the peace agreements in 2016.
Since the FARC and the government signed the accords, cartels and paramilitaries, some with links to the state, have killed 138 FARC members and at least 627 social activists.
The most recent murder was confirmed Wednesday and took place in Antioquia itself. Abraham Domico, an Indigenous leader from Colombia's Embera community was killed in the municipality of Taraza, Antioquia. Most of those killed are community organizers defending land rights of Indigenous communities.