Fri Jun 14, 2024
June 14, 2024

Colombia | No confidence in the regime, strengthen our organization and mobilization against death threats

Recently it was announced that the Historic Pact campaign has canceled its tour of the coffee-growing region in Colombia due to the threats and a possible plan to assassinate candidate Gustavo Petro and his vice-presidential candidate Francia Márquez. This plan would be one more threat on top of the multiple threats that have already been spread through pamphlets, and the attacks that Francia had already suffered in the past.
By Socialist Workers Party (Colombia) Executive Committee
Despite the Government’s denial of the existence of the “Cordillera” group, and countless messages in networks that try to downplay the significance of its threats, we know that every threat in this country must be taken seriously since we know well that threats can lead to actual assassinations.
It is typical of the regime to persecute, stigmatize and prosecute social fighters, young people, opposition candidates, and anyone else with a critical stance against it. Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, Luis Carlos Galán, Álvaro Gómez, individuals who, despite not being leftists, were “inconvenient” to the bourgeoisie, were assassinated, and the whole truth regarding their deaths has never been revealed. Similarly, the murders of candidates such as Jaime Pardo Leal (UP) Carlos Pizarro (M19), Bernardo Jaramillo (UP), alongside thousands of militants of the Patriotic Union party, remain unaddressed.
It is known that groups such as the Black Eagles, AUC, and Gulf Clan, have threatened youth leaders, social fighters, union leaders, and hundreds of teachers who have had to move to other worksites for this very reason. These groups have the power to declare lists of people to be military targets, and in the regions where they hold power, they force people to vote for their preferred candidates at gunpoint. The government’s agencies have no policy to prevent their actions, but rather favor them by omission and active support. Likewise, during the Duque administration, the unpunished actions of these groups have resulted in a true political genocide, bit by bit, with a social leader assassinated nearly every day, and several massacres per month.
From the Socialist Workers Party, we denounce the threats, the criminalization of social protest, and any plan to end the life of candidate Petro who embodies, in a distorted way, the aspirations of change held by the popular sectors and the general. We call to take very seriously the threats that at this moment are being made against the members of the Historic Pact and specifically the candidates Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez. We must be alert and ready to go out to the streets to mobilize mass demonstrations in the face of any attack by the regime against these candidates, which in the end is an attack against the already-weak bourgeois-democratic system, against the possibilities of having candidates who present programs to address the social discontent in Colombia, against the ability of the working class to run for government. With the general strike of 2021, it was demonstrated that it is in the streets where we can defeat the criminal political regime.
Although we, the Socialist Workers Party, do not share the program of class-collaboration promoted by Gustavo Petro, we understand that the ability for these candidacies to exist is part of the political rights of the working class and struggling youth that we must defend and that they should have the right to run for elections without the fear of being assassinated for speaking out against the political regime and government of Duque, against Uribism, against paramilitaries and drug trafficking. We demand that the national government take the necessary actions to dismantle the paramilitary groups that are defining the political course of the country from the shadows. We join the demand to guarantee the safety of Petro, Francia, and other activists of the Historic Pact; but we cannot entrust the regime with the protection of their lives.
This is the same regime that ordered the police to shoot at demonstrators on September 9 and 10, 2020 following the murder of the lawyer Ordóñez and the legitimate protest of young people and the population in general; the same regime that ordered the ESMAD riot police to shoot indiscriminately with so-called “low lethality” weapons at demonstrators, as it did against Dylan Cruz and dozens of young demonstrators in Cali, with the aim of destroying demonstrators’ eyes, blinding them for life; the same regime that is complicit in using rape to reward its military forces; the same regime that murders children in the bombing of supposedly guerrilla camps, and later defines those children as enemy combatants; the same regime that is capable of shooting at the civilian population in the middle of a bazaar in Putumayo, and then decorates the commanders responsible for the carnage; this regime cannot be trusted to protect dissidents. These and other facts have been confessed by paramilitary bosses and by military officials that have submitted themselves to the UN Special Jurisdiction for Peace’s investigations but are continuously denied by the government and its ministers, including Minister Molano, who has been subjected on two occasions to a motion of censure by the Congress of the Republic.
That is why we cannot be satisfied with merely demanding that a murderous regime respect our lives. We must take great leaps forward to organize our own forces, to surround Petro and Francia by masses of supporters to prevent them from being assassinated; it will be necessary to resort to and strengthen the self-protection groups such as the Guards, as Francia has had to do, relying on the Maroon Guard to escort her after she was abandoned by the State’s forces. Knowing well the emergency measures necessary to preserve their lives, we will not defeat this murderous offensive with a defensive posture, but with mass street mobilizations. Likewise, these crimes and plots will not be stopped by relying on the rotten institutions of the state. At the very least we must continue to demand: the immediate dismissal of Diego Molano from the Ministry of Defense! Freedom for the frontline youth and other political prisoners! No more criminalization of social protest! Dismantle the paramilitaries and ESMAD! Stop the threats against Petro, Francia Márquez and other members of the Historic Pact, we will protect their lives with our mobilization!

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