Giraldo, who works on behalf of Afro-Colombian communities in the Choco region on Colombia’s Pacific coast, claims that the threats against him all show “coordination among security agencies, armed forces of the state, and paramilitary groups.”
The human rights advocate spoke out in response to a statement Monday, in which Vice President Francisco Santos rejected the threats and asked authorities to investigate their origin.
The priest has been targeted by graffiti scrawled around Bogota calling for “national action against the Marxist priest” while another says that “Javier Giraldo = death.”
Giraldo works with the Centre for Research and Popular Education (Cinep) of his religious order and has worked with groups like the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado – made up of displaced persons in 1997, who declared themselves neutral to the armed conflicts in the area.
The Catholic representative argued that the smear campaign “is about making peaceful communities of the Uraba and humanitarian areas appear to be props or expressions of the insurgency,” which, he says is a “very characteristic method of this government to stigmatize those who they later destroy.”
Giraldo also said that Santos failed to acknowledge attacks, threats, kidnappings and blackmail against the community leaders.
It was revealed Monday that Colombian security agency DAS kept files on Giraldo’s movements between 1960 and 2004.