Parliamentarians from around the world sign letter about the threat of assassination ahead of the May 29 vote in Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

Video still of Francia Márquez speaking in Bogota, May 21.

Parliamentarians from Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom and other countries have expressed in this open letter their “grave concern for the growing threat of violence, assassination, and intervention in Colombia’s presidential elections on 29 May.”

The letter has been reported on in El Pais, The Independent and The Intercept.

Among those who signed the letter, Niki Ashton, a Member of Parliament in Canada.

The letter states:

Both Gustavo Petro and his running mate Francia Márquez Mina have survived assassination attempts in the past — Petro as a presidential candidate in 2018 and Francia Márquez as an activist in 2019. Now, death threats regularly circulate on social media platforms, threatening their lives and their right to political expression just days before the first round vote.

Political violence is not contained to the candidates. As of writing, more than 50 social leaders — including trade unionists, Indigenous and Afro-Colombian representatives, peasant movement organizers, and environmentalists — have been murdered this year in an attempt to intimidate and eliminate Colombia’s popular movements.

Together, these threats call for greater vigilance, scrutiny, and transparency in Colombia’s presidential elections. For decades, the people of Colombia have demanded peace and dignity. We write now in solidarity with their struggle for a free and peaceful democratic process.

The full letter can be read here.

A delegation from Canada/Quebec, organized by Common Frontiers, the Colombian Working Group and the Canada-Colombia Solidarity Committee, is currently accompanying the presidential election in Colombia.

Toronto-based Common Frontiers coordinator Raul Burbano recently reported that US activist Terri Mattson, the Latin America Coordinator for CODEPINK, a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, was detained on May 22 and deported after attempting to enter the country as an election monitor.

Global Affairs Canada does not appear to have commented on the risks faced by candidates and the democratic process apart from posting this travel advisory.

We continue to follow the situation.

The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project has accompanied threatened human rights defenders in Colombia since 1994.

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