Paramilitaries assassinated two people, injured two and displaced 70 on Tuesday, two hours after Colombia’s President Ivan Duque left the Bajo Cauca region where he vowed to improve security for the second time.
The paramilitary assault made it clear that Duque’s latest promise was as credible as the “strong offensive against drug trafficking” the president promised when he visited the historically neglected region in October 2018.
The persuasive power of the paramilitaries
Locals told regional news website Minuto 30 that heavily armed paramilitaries set up a roadblock in the locality of Taraza and shot two drivers who refused to stop.
The group then went to the nearest farm and assassinated two workers in cold blood.
The 70 neighbors were given 15 minutes to leave their homes or meet the same fate, human rights defenders told the news website.
Taraza city officials took care of the displaced population after Duque visited the town only hours before.
‘You represent the values of the Colombia’s glorious National Army’
The paramilitary onslaught took place two hours after Duque finished his two-day trip to the region with a pep talk for the soldiers in charge of security in the region.
The 5,000 troops stationed in Bajo Cauca have failed to prevent the spike of violence that killed 30 so far this year and triggered Duque’s second visit to the region.
The two murders that followed the president’s road trip made it clear that the army has no say in Bajo Cauca and Duque is full of hot air.
You are in this very important region of Colombia because you are the best, because you have the capacity to protect the life, honor, property, rights and freedoms of citizens.
President Ivan Duque
The violent lawlessness of Duque’s “Peace with Legality”
Duque’s far-right Democratic Center party opposes Colombia’s peace process that was supposed to bring peace to the region that has been virtually abandoned by the State in recent memory.
Instead of implementing the peace deal as agreed with now-demobilized FARC guerrillas in 2016, the president introduced his “Peace with Legality” policy, which has meant nothing but violent lawlessness for Bajo Cauca.
We know that there are difficult moments, but we are with the state to guarantee your protection.
President Ivan Duque
“We have been concerned about the situation in Bajo Cauca for a while,” Duque told locals in 2018 and vowed to “go after the criminal structures that have triggered homicides by fighting among themselves, disputing routes or territorial control.”
This time, the president said that “Bajo Cauca is in my heart” and promised to “continue to disrupt the mobility of drug trafficking groups in the region.”
The paramilitary onslaught made it evident to the locals that only a fool would trust Duque’s word.