A neo-paramilitary group on Wednesday sent out a pamphlet in northern Colombia, threatening to kill anyone who joins a national strike called for Monday.
A pamphlet was sent out in the municipalities of Segovia and Remedios, Antioquia, by “Bajo Cauca’s Pacifiers Bloc – Seguridad Heroes del Nordeste” (SHN), reportedly a dissident group of the Rastrojos, in which they declared as “military targets” all those who take part in the strike.
“If you participate it’s because you want to support the Left,” the pamphlet says.
The pamphlet accused the head of an NGO in Antioquia of becoming rich through his support for the miners, while the leader of the farm-worker’s association was charged with deceiving people through his “Leninist ideology.”
The response from the named organizations was forceful: “their objective is to intimidate and so weaken the participation of the people in the National and Regional strike; the community rejects these threats.”
They asked the authorities to investigate the threats and ensure the safety of the community.
The SHN have been a violent presence in Segovia and Remedios since early 2012. Formerly part of the Rastrojos bacrim, they refused to leave the northeast of the country after the Rastrojos handed control over the area to the Urabeños in December 2011.
Most of their funding comes from the gold mining industry.
A miner told newspaper El Tiempo in November that “everyone pays, some more than others, he who doesn’t pay either leaves or is killed.” He pays $2000 to SHN each month.
In July 2012 two union members went before the television cameras to criticize the involvement of bacrims in the gold mining industry in Segovia. They were killed two days later, according to an NGO in Medellin.
In fact, the number of unlawful killings in Remedios and Segovia went up by 200% in 2012. The authorities blamed inter-bacrim fighting.
On Monday, the miners and farm-workers are expected to join together with truck drivers, students, and health and education workers in a nationwide strike.