While Medellin mayor Anibal Gaviria prefers to come up with any number showing a declining murder rate and ignores ongoing forced disappearances and an increasing number of cases of forced displacement.
While the local police extort and intimidate the inhabitants of the western Comuna 13 and actively worsen the citizens’ sense of security.
And while local media are too in bed with local politicians to show the inconvenient side of the story, I beg you to pay attention to what the community has to say.
The following letter was given to me by residents and organizations from Comuna 13, while attending an informal memorial service of yet another killed community leader and artist, Elider Varela, a.k.a. “El Duke.”
Today again, the pain and impotence invade the social and communitarian
processes of Medellin. Again death looms over the inhabitants of Comuna 13.
Again the dreams are truncated by the actions of the armed groups and the
incapacity of the municipal authorities to guarantee the community security
conditions, and protect the life of the youth.
The Comuna 13 undergoes a really serious situation; the presence of armed
groups, the practices of territorial control, forced recruitment, and the
assassinations and forced displacement are situations that day after day
become more visible in the majority of the neighborhoods in the Comuna and
show the serious situation of violence the Comuna 13 has sunk into, contrary to
what the municipal and national authorities want to show on different
international stages. It shows that the Comuna 13 in Medellin, being the most
militarized urban territory in the country, still has not been able to live
one day in peace.
Today, Tuesday October 30, in the early hours, Elider Varela "El Duke,"
father, husband, cultural promotor, stimulator of hip hop in the Comuna 13,
lover of life, leader of the La Elite Hip Hop Network and teacher at the
Kolacho hip hop school, is assassinated in the Salado neighborhood by those
who fear art and under the lazy eye of those who supposedly should be
His cries for peace, hundreds of songs, the concerts, the MC classes, the
fatherly love, the love of a child of the Comuna 13, the love for life of a
man dedicated to culture and his neighborhood have not been in vain.
We call for the attention of the local and national authorities regarding
situations like these that continue to affect the Comuna 13, in particular
its youth and including those who are leading social and cultural processes,
we demand that the necessary measures are taken to clarify the acts, that
they move beyond the police and militaristic strategies with which they have
pretended to solve the situations of violence, and moreover, take the
necessary measures for the integrated protection of the youth population.
ELIDER VARELA "EL DUKE" LIVES!!!
HIS MUSIC WILL STAY IN EACH OF OUR HEARTS, IN OUR STREETS AND IN OUR BODIES,
REMINDING US THAT THINGS ARE NOT GOING WELL, THAT THINGS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE
Observatorio de Seguridad Humana de Medellin, ACJ-YMCA Medellin, Red de Hip-Hop La Elite, Corporacion Juridica Libertad, IPC, Corporacion de Comunicaciones Kinesica, Corporacion de Comunicaciones Full Producciones, Biblioteca Comfenalco Centro-Occidental, Assocacion de Mujeres de Las Independencias, Son Bata, Fundacion Mi Sangre, Pacharte, Fundacion Casa de las Estrategias.