A retail industry leader has said that 90% of retailers in Colombia are being extorted by criminal organizations, according to newspaper El Pais.
According to regional FENALCO director Sergio Soto, shopkeepers are being extorted for amounts between $75 and $125 on a weekly basis. In cases of truck drivers transporting food, the trade most vulnerable to extortion, the amount can go as high as $500 a week.
“Shopkeepers and small traders are scared to formally complaint. And it is understandable because when identified, the extortionist sends death threats to them, their families and employees. Many are forced to move from the area,” said the director of FENALCO in the Antioquia state.
According to Sergio Soto extortion in the 10 municipalities around Medellin alone has reached a value of $25 million.
The Antioquia director said FENALCO has asked for help to stop these crimes from the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Police.