Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has called on the country’s political leaders to condemn acts of violence against presidential and legislative candidates.
“I call on all political actors, of all parties, to condemn in a clear and explicit way any type of aggression, any type of violence, in what remains of the political campaign,” Santos said during the launch of the National Pact for Life, a policy aimed at reducing murders in Colombia.
Gustavo Petro, a leftist and one of the leading presidential hopefuls, suffered an attack on his caravan on March 2, while campaigning in the city of Cucutá. Petro and his supporters have criticized Santos for failing to address the issue, but during his comments on Tuesday Santos didn’t mention any particular incident.
According to Santos, Colombia is transitioning to peace and “cannot tolerate violence.” However, since the Havana peace agreement was signed between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government 50 people associated with the group have been killed in 44 separate attacks, including two political candidates, 28 former fighters, 12 family members, and ten party activists.
Meanwhile, over 200 social leaders have been murdered as paramilitary groups seek to take over territory previously held by the FARC.
On the same day Petro's caravan was attacked, Senator Alvaro Uribe was confronted by a massive protest by Cauca University students who called Uribe a "murderer" and allegedly threw rocks at the candidate and his supporters.
The Cauca region has been gravely affected by paramilitary groups linked to Uribe's party Centro Democratico (Democratic Center). Uribe has also been the staunchest detractor of the peace agreement signed by Santos with FARC.