Colombia’s defunct communist party may soon revive, due to a lawsuit claiming it met its end through “political genocide,” Colombian sources reported.
The Patriotic Union (UP) party lost legal status after receiving little more than 1,000 votes in the 2002 congressional elections. But according to the lawsuit, the group’s poor electoral performance can be explained by one key fact: many of its leaders — and members — weren’t alive for the elections.
Since its founding in 1985, the communist party and political arm of the FARC has seen more than 3,000 of its members killed by various paramilitary groups, including presidential candidates, congressional and local representatives.
At least one of its leaders was also killed by the state, according to a 2010 ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which held the Colombian government responsible for the assassination in 1994 of UP Senator Manuel Cepeda.
The UP representatives’ petition to the commission claimed Cepeda’s assassination was “evidence of a systematic pattern of violence” against the party.
Former UP members have filed numerous suits denouncing the killings in national and international courts with the assistance of Corporacion Reiniciar, a human rights NGO in Colombia. A delegate from the Inter-Parliamentary Union visited Colombia in 2010 to investigate several political assassinations, but many of these cases await rulings.