Paramilitaries threaten to play football with Gustavo Petro´s head, assassinate Colombia´s top left-wing politicians
Colombian drug traffickers have threatened to decapitate Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro and play football with his head if he doesn´t abandon his battle to stay on as mayor.
“Petro´s head will roll and we will play football with it,” the gangsters charged in a crude letter that threatened the elite of Colombia´s left-wing politicians, many of whom currently are candidates in congressional and presidential elections.
Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro – a former M-19 guerrilla leader turned politician – is threatened with assassination if he “continues attacking” Ordóñez. Petro is fighting for his political life as he attempts to overturn the order by Ordóñez that he be fired as mayor and banned from office for 15 years.
Petro has succeeded in obtaining court orders to delay his firing while he appeals to the Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (Interamerican Commission of Human Rights) to block his firing.
Colombia’s elections are threatening to turn into a blood bath after the second gang of former paramilitary, drug traffickers vowed in a week to assassinate left-wing candidates who don’t withdraw from the election and leave the country.
The threats by Las Águilas Negras include many of Colombia´s top-level progressive candidates, including congressional representative Iván Cepeda, Unión Patriótica presidential candidate Aída Abella and Petro.
Petro is a candidate in neither the March congressional elections nor the May presidential election, but is fighting an attempt by Colombia´s right-wing Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez to remove him from office for alleged mismanagement of the city´s garbage collection system.
Cepeda is currently under investigation by Ordóñez as well, who took exception to the congressional representative´s campaign to expose former president Álvaro Uribe´s links with paramilitary leaders.
The threatened victims are a who´s who of Colombia´s left who have made their reputations fighting corruption and violence against human rights defenders, union leaders and campaigners for agricultural land reform.
Las Águilas Negras warned Cepeda he would face the same fate as his father, a Unión Democratica politician who was assassinated in 1994 after being elected to the senate.
“Cepeda should remember the execution of his terrorist father,” the letter threatened. Manuel Cepeda Vargas´s assassination was at the hands of drug traffickers, but the Colombian government was found partly responsible by in a decision by an international human rights organization, the Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (the Interamerican Court of Human Rights).
The court found the assassination of Cepeda and thousands of other Unión Patriótica candidates and members were part of a campaign of genocide in which the Colombian government was held partly responsible. Military and police officers were found to have cooperated in the campaign in exterminating the left-wing political party that came about as a result of peace negotiations between FARC guerrillas and the government.
Abella was forced into exile in Switzerland after the armoured car she was riding in was struck with a rocket fired from a bazooka while she went to work as a Bogotá councillor.
Las Águilas Negras (The Black Eagles) also scorned Iván Cepeda for his personal campaign of exposing the links between former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe and Colombia´s paramilitary death squads which murdered tens of thousands of Colombian citizens.
Cepeda has written a book about Uribe´s paramilitary links and has used his position as a congressional representative to demand investigations into possible crimes by the former president.
Uribe now leads his own political party Centro Democático and is running for a place in the Colombian senate.
The letter calls Iván Cepeda “a supposed celebrity who has persecuted and slandered Colombia´s best president ever, Álvaro Uribe”.
The letter also labels one of Colombia´s crusading human rights legal organizations, the Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo, as a band of terrorists and threatens its members with assassination.
In Colombia threats such as those received today and last week are not to be taken lightly. Political assassinations by drug traffickers, often with the assistance of state security forces, are most often preceded by threats such as those received today.
It is the second in a week that Unión Patriótica leader Aída Abella has been threatened with death returning to Colombia to once again participate in politics.
Another criminal gangs Los Rastrojos threatened her and all other Unión Patriótica members with death if they continued to campaign.
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