Colombia Reports will be operating from abroad for a while, mainly to recover from the trauma caused by this year’s violence and the attacks on this website.
The brutal repression of this year’s protests exposed me to levels of violence that would traumatize any normal person, and it most certainly traumatized me.
On top of that, I received multiple death threats, I got sued for doing my job and I fear that Colombia Reports’ Facebook website was taken down by the National Police.
What concerns me the most is that the Facebook pages of Colombia Reports and other news outlets were taken down in what I fear was a retaliation of reporting on police brutality.
I am currently in the process of verifying whether or not the police’s cybercrime unit used tools to combat child pornography to silence journalists together with local journalists and lawyers.
I hope I’m being paranoid. The thing is that the commander of the police’s so-called PMU Cyber unit has indicated my fears may be grounded.
The Cyber Police Center has made 733 requests for the suspension of content. Today 37 profiles and 107 publications have been removed already.
PMU Cyber commander Coronel Julian Buitrago
Unless I’m being paranoid, I’m in for a shitstorm that coincides with my application for a visa extension.
Fortunately, I had already booked a ticket to leave the country before the scandal about the National Police’s “cyber surveillance” broke.
The visa nightmare
I was planning to spend a few months in the Netherlands because I can’t deal with the stress of possibly losing my visa and all my belongings at the moment.
This process is an administrative nightmare any given year, but even more so now.
Losing Colombia Reports’ Facebook page killed the website’s most important platform for crowdfunding with which I pay the bills.
The trauma caused by the violence has made it almost impossible to work, let alone come up with a strategy to turn things around financially.
I hope that spending a few months abroad will allow me to recover the strength I need to work and the money I need to survive.
If that doesn’t work, my 14 years of reporting on Colombia will come to an end.