By Aura María Saavedra Álvarez, EL TIEMPO, December 24, 2023

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The Head of State made reference to the recent violent events in that municipality.

President Gustavo Petro made a statement on December 24 about the escalation of violence in the Department of Cauca. In the early morning on Friday, there was a massacre at an indigenous council, and in the afternoon, the Mayor of Guáchene, Elmer Abonía Rodríguez, was murdered.

The President held a security council on Saturday. From there he announced that there would be an increase in Armed Forces troops in Cauca, as well as intelligence operations to find those responsible for the crimes committed just two days ago.

In his X account, December 24, he indicated: “The violence is an effect of the attempt by the armed organizations to take control of the communities and the people’s organizations. They take advantage of the interethnic conflict and the power of the illegal economy.”

Petro made a call to the popular movement. “You should oppose the attempts to exercise control that are based on fear and killing. The government is ready to serve your need for peace and wellbeing.”

Finally, the President said that in 2024 the government will be with the popular mobilizations to oppose the violence and make progress in the process of substituting legal economies for the illegal ones. “We have to see a surge of the peoples’ power for peace,” he concluded.

A bitter Christmas in Cauca: the reported murder of an indigenous leader in a rural area

A day after the security council that was held because of the escalation of violence in the Department, the murder of indigenous leader Eliécer Puyo Chocué, who is part of the Laguna reservation, was reported.

That information was released by the Nasa Peoples’ Association of Councils, which at the same time repudiated the wave of violence that’s being experienced in Cauca. It requested the national government to take actions oriented toward respect for human rights.

First reports indicated that the murder took place in the sector known as El Pescado, near a service station next to the PanAmerican Highway.

“We refuse to accept this new event that is grieving our families and our community in general and the whole Sa’t Tama Kiwe territory and the Department of Cauca, because in this month alone, we have seen a systematic succession of murders, aggravating the public order situation and the tranquility of the people that live here,” according to the statement issued by the Nasa People.

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