Social leader Marco Rivadeneira murdered in Putumayo, Colombia
On March 19, the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project tweeted, “We express our concern about the murder of defender Marco Rivadeneira and about the serious risk situation experienced by communities and social leaders in Putumayo and Colombia.”
Marco Rivadeneira was a leader of the Peasant Association of Puerto Asís (Asopuertoasís), the National Agrarian Coordinator (CNA), the Peoples Congress (CDP), and the Colombia-Europe-United States Coordination (Coeuropa), a network of 281 human and human rights organizations.
El Espectador reports, “Rivadeneira, historical social leader of the Putumayo department and spokesperson for the Coordination Colombia, Europe, United States (Coeurupa), was assassinated in the Nueva Granada neighborhood, south of Puerto Asís.”
“Rivadeneira was in a meeting of peasants on the sidewalk when he was taken from the place by three armed men in civilian clothes, according to social leaders in the area. Half an hour later the information came that he had been killed.”
“He was a recognized political and social leader, member of the Peoples Congress and president of the Puerto Asís Peasant Association (Asopuertoasís). In addition, he worked in processes of substitution of coca crops.”
“According to farmers in the area, the body of the leader remains at the scene, because the authorities have not carried out the survey. Some inhabitants of the village are watching over him at the place where he was killed.”
Coeuropa has tweeted, “We repudiate the murder of our colleague MARCO RIVADENEIRA, part of our Nal Operating Committee, delegate of the southwestern peasant node, defender of the rights of its people. A few days ago we alerted about the serious situation in this department but there was no response.”
In their public complaint, the CNA and CDP state, “We demand that the Attorney General’s Office initiate the corresponding investigations to clarify this murder, as well as we call on the national and regional government and institutions to provide real guarantees for life, the defense of their own forms of government in the territories, deepen policies in defense of the countryside and recognize the initiatives that are being built from the regions for a Dignified Life.”
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner in Colombia has stated, “We are shocked by the murder of the human rights defender and political and social leader Marco Rivadeneira, whom we have known and with whom we have worked closely since 2010.”
Telesur adds, “So far this year in Colombia, persecution and murders have increased, to date more than 100 leaders have died, while human rights entities point out that the Executive does not take correct measures to eradicate violence.”
PBI-Canada joins with PBI-Colombia in mourning the death of Marco Rivadeneira and in expressing our solidarity with his family.