More than 23 years after the Pueblo Bello massacre which claimed 43 lives, Colombia’s prosecutor general on Saturday returned the remains of just seven of the victims to their families.
On January 16, 1990 a group of “Los Tangueros” paramilitaries rounded up 43 Colombians in Pueblo Bello, in Antioquia‘s Turbo municipality, and brought them to the farm of paramilitary leader, Fidel Castaño, where they were interrogated, tortured and killed.
The massacre was committed in retaliation for the theft of 43 cattle owned by Castaño. Just three paramilitaries have been convicted for the massacre.
State-complicity in the massacre was indicated by the fact that the trucks carrying the kidnapped civilians passed two military check points and were not stopped, despite reports of screaming and crying.
However, the military justice system cleared all members of the army of any culpability. Moreover, because the remains of 36 victims were never found, 36 cases remain uncharged, and their perpetrators remain free.
Little more than a week after the massacre, military personnel offered small sums to the families of the victims, though some refused the money. During proceedings before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, lawyers for the victims’ families argued that this proved military involvement. The court ruled that investigations into the massacre did not meet the standards of the American Convention.
- Fiscalia entregara restos de victimas de las masacre de Pueblo Bello (EL Espectador)
- MASACRE PUEBLO BELLO (Amnesty International)