Judging that Colombia’s government has not done enough or not been transparent enough, a high court has asked the executive branch to report on what it has done to address the issues of public order and acts of violence in port city Buenaventura.
President of Colombia’s Constitutional Court, Luis Vargas, submitted a formal request for a report of what measures the government has taken in the past months to tackle an ongoing deadly drug trafficking battle and turf war between some of the country’s most notorious criminal gangs.
“It is urgent to know the measures adopted in order to counteract the situation in order to attain the location of the ‘chop houses,'” said Vargas according to El Espectador newspaper speaking of the places where gangs torture and dismember victims before disposing of their remains in the ocean.
Though Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos spoke in Buenaventura this past Friday outlining what he and his administration have been doing, the Constitutional Court’s president evidently was not satisfied with this response, asking Sunday for a full report.
Santos said that the city had not seen a homicide in 19 days, that 136 gang members had been captured in the past month and a half, and that in addition to security, $100 million will be invested into social programs for the city.
Regardless of this Friday statement, Vargas has demanded more “clarity” in what the government has been doing to handle the “grave situation of violence,” according to El Espectador.
Crime in the pacific port city Buenaventura, in the western state of Valle del Cauca, has surged drastically in recent months, as gangs fight to control now one of the primary export hubs for Colombia’s narcotics trade. In addition to the violence directly connected to narcotrafficking, criminal organizations such as “Los Urabeños” and “La Empresa,” an offshoot of the “Los Rostrojos” neo-paramilitary group, threaten many business owners with extortion.
Murder, torture, disappearances, displacement, and more have all become commonplace since the end of 2013, and international and domestic organizations alike have been calling for stronger responses from the government.
Last month, Santos listened to the calls of national and international pressure and ordered Minister of Defense Juan Carlos Pinzon to use national security forces to stem the violence.