North-Colombia journalists threatened over interview with demobilized paramilitary

Death threat by the "Oficina del Caribe" (Photo: Alejandro Arias)

Ten journalists from the north of Colombia have received death threats after interviewing a demobilized paramilitary leader who accused a local mayor of ties to paramilitary groups, one of the journalists wrote on his blog Saturday.

According to Alejandro Arias, the death threats followed an interview with “El Canoso,” a demobilized paramilitary leader of the now-defunct Tayrona Resistance Bloc, led by the now-extradited Hernan Giraldo, alias “El Viejo.”

In the interview, Canoso accused Santa Marta Mayor Carlos Caicedo, other local politicians and one of the sons of former President Alvaro Uribe of having ties to the “Northern Bloc,” to which the Tayrona Resistance Bloc belonged.

In a letter signed by “The Caribbean Office.”, the journalists were told that “enemies deserve to die so they shut up forever.”

The letter was delivered to journalists who did the interview for a local radio station and others who subsequently reported on the accusations in other media.

The area around Santa Marta, one of Colombia’s tourism hot spots, has seen a sharp increase of violence in the past months following the rise of a neo-paramilitary group allegedly former by family members of Giraldo. According to several reports, the new group has violently expelled “Los Urabeños,” another neo-paramilitary organization, from the region.

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