In August last year, this human rights defender in Colombia received a death threat by the paramilitary group known as the ‘Aguilas Negras’ -‘Black Eagles’.
Since then, Justice for Columbia began a campaign to request greater security from the Columbian government for the activist Alfonso Castillo through a letter addressed to the authorities of the South American country.
To date, the letter has received the support of 981 people via the internet and the campaign is set to reach 2,000. Alfonso Castillo, president of ANDAS, an organisation which fights for the respect of human rights in Columbia, and member of the organising committee of the National Movement of Victims, received the death threat by e-mail which stated that he was “sentenced to death” and that he had to “leave Bogotá – where he lived and worked – or die”.
Alfonso Castillo was not the only one to receive this threat. Several defenders of human rights in Columbia were also coerced and intimidated by the same missive. Justice for Columbia states that a recent investigation by Human Rights Watch, (available on their website), alleges that the Columbian National Police collaborate with the paramilitary group, ‘Black Eagles’.
In this respect, Justice for Columbia are requesting that the Columbian authorities take the necessary action to safeguard the life of Alfonso Castillo and so, do away with all paramilitary operations. Among the actions to safeguard Castillo’s life, Justice for Columbia request urgent personal protection, an investigation into the source of the threats, as well as the links between the ‘Black Eagles’ and the Columbian National Police.
New victims of the Black Eagles
On 7 January 2011, the bodies of two students from the University of Los Andes, Bogota were found shot dead in the town of San Bernardo del Viento, in the northern region of Cordoba. So far this year, the Columbian media have reported 28 deaths at the hands of paramilitaries.
Furthermore, in the first trimester of President Juan Manuel Santos’ term in office, 32 civilian leaders have been assassinated. Several paramilitary groups are from the Cordoba region, one of the notorious drug routes.
The truth is that the province continues to be strongly linked to these terrorist organisations. In fact, many of the politicians arrested and imprisoned for the well-known “parapolítica” scandal, for their links with paramilitary groups, came from this region.
(Translated by Louise Jefferson – Email: email@example.com)