Colombia’s former guerrillas take up pots and pans in protest of ‘extermination campaign’

(Image: Megan Janetsky)

Colombia’s former guerrillas of the FARC called for the taking up pots and pans on Tuesday in protest at the ongoing assassinations of rebels who laid down their weapons as part of a peace process.

The guerrillas’ political party announced a so-called “cacerolazo” at 6PM after the latest assassination of one of their members in Quibdo, the capital of the western Choco province.

“We want guarantees so they won’t continue killing us,” former guerrilla commander and current Senator Carlos Lozada said on Twitter.

Lozada told radio station La FM that he believes the FARC is the victim of a coordinated extermination plan that seeks to disrupt the country’s ongoing peace process.

We have no doubt that this is due to an ongoing extermination plan against the members of our party, with an undeniable purpose to make the building of a stable and lasting peace in our country fail.

FARC Senator Carlos Lozada

Fellow-Senator Victoria Sandino said that the concentration of killings in historically conflict areas and close to sites where demobilized guerrillas are reintegrating strengthens this suspicion.

80% of the murders have occurred in five departments.  In Cauca, Nariño, Antioquia, Norte de Santander and Arauca. But in addition, the majority of these murders have occurred outside the rural [reintegration] spaces.

FARC Senator Victoria Sandino

According to conflict monitor Indepaz, 10 demobilized guerrillas have been assassinated this year. Last year, at least 77 FARC members taking part in the peace process were assassinated, according to the United Nations.

The increased deadly violence against FARC members coincides with ongoing deadly violence against human rights defenders and community leaders.

According to Indepaz, 51 social leaders have been assassinated so far this year.

The ongoing political violence against social leaders and former FARC members is  increasingly putting pressure on President Ivan Duque, whose far-right party is aggressively stigmatizing any opposition and whose government has been reluctant to implement peace policies.

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