PBI-Colombia accompanies Nomadesc at commemoration for assassinated social leader Temístocles Machado

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On January 28, PBI-Colombia tweeted: “This January 28 and 29 we commemorate [the life of Temístocles Machado] and his struggle in Buenaventura , accompanying @Nomadesc, who together with the UIP [Intercultural University of Los Pueblos] commemorate. In homage to Don Temis, just as he said: ‘the fight here does not end’.”

Don Temis was assassinated on January 27, 2018.

The BBC has noted:

Machado’s most ambitious work was the collection of tens of thousands of documents that he accumulated to support that he and his neighbors were owners of the lands on which they had settled more than half a century ago.

For Don Temis, each document was a weapon to defend against eviction attempts that had multiplied in the area in recent years.

Following a road built in 2006 that divided Isla de Paz in two, the neighborhood became, overnight, a strategic area for commercial activity and port expansion as it linked the city of Buenaventura with the port. Suddenly ‘old owners’ of the neighborhood appeared, with papers and everything, that had not appeared in the place for decades.

That is why Don Temis did not hesitate to travel to Bogotá or wherever necessary with his mountain of papers to defend the ownership of the land.

At the time of his murder, Don Temis was in a legal dispute with one of the alleged owners of Isla de la Paz, who claims that his grandmother ceded those lands decades ago.

PBI-Colombia adds: “For his activities and tireless commitment he received threats for years, until they came true four years ago. To date, seven people have been captured and prosecuted as responsible for the murder of Temistocles.”

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) has also highlighted that he was one of the main leaders of a civic strike in Buenaventura:

In 2017, the leaders helped organize a massive civic strike—also known as a general strike—in Buenaventura, home to Colombia’s key port on its Pacific coast, to protest the city’s deepening socioeconomic and human rights crisis.

For three weeks in May, 114 social organizations took over the streets, holding protest marches, community kitchens and cultural festivals, effectively shutting down Colombia’s most important trading hub.

The strike won an agreement containing important concessions from the government to improve public services, including community housing, health services, roads, the justice system, and a new framework agreement to protect the rights of port workers.

PBI-Colombia has accompanied the Association for Research and Social Action (NOMADESC) since 2011 and its president Berenice Celeita since 1999.

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