Once a tranquil location of 70,000 inhabitants, the Caribbean island has seen an alarming increase in homicides with 24 people being killed last year and four already this year. This in comparison to only four being killed in 2008.
With the support of the Chamber of Commerce and through various social networks, the march “Gimmi back mi San Andres,” (Give me back my San Andres) was organized in order to help “recover the value of life for the residents so the island can continue to be a destination of peace,” one resident said.
Much of the recent violence has been a result of conflict between two criminal organizations “Los Rastrojos,” and “Los Paisas.”
“These are groups that focus on emphasizing their supremacy in order to control drug trafficking routes through the island and the sale of narcotics,” representative to the House of San Andres Jack Housni said.
Housni added that he saw the rise of these criminal bands stem from the demobilization process of the paramilitaries that began in 2005.
Late last month judicial officials on the island received death threats in a pamphlet circulated that was allegedly signed by the demobilized paramilitary group the AUC.
According to the island’s police, this form of threat is becoming increasingly common, with citizens targeted due to their political beliefs and business leaders threatened with reprimand or dismissal.