Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Colombia: Indigenous Activist's Husband Killed

I'd really love to stop doing these posts on Colombia. Colombia isn't my specialism, you know. I'd really like to just concentrate on all the anniversaries and memorials and books and other things that deal with the legacy of state terrorism in Latin America, just like the title of the blog says. But these stories keep coming, and because it's obvious that there is no dividing line between 'past' and 'present' violence, and because, well, people dying today is urgent in a sense that a monument - however important - cannot be, they're impossible to ignore.

So here we are again.
Soldiers at a rural roadblock on Tuesday shot and killed the husband of an indigenous leader who has organized anti-government marches.
Edwin Legarda, 34, was driving a Toyota SUV at about 4 a.m. near an indigenous reserve in western Colombia when the soldiers opened fire.

Soldiers Kill Husband of Colombian Indian Leader (AP)

Otto has a good report on the subject.

But now, according to IPS, there was no checkpoint at all.
The commander of the army Third Division, General Eliseo Peña, admitted that soldiers had opened fire on the truck, and said the incident would be investigated.

He said the CRIC vehicle failed to follow orders to stop at a military checkpoint, although he added that this did not justify the shooting, and much less, the number of shots fired.

But according to Hilario Sánchez, the indigenous mayor of the town of Totoró, where the injured Legarda was first taken, "there is no indication of the existence of a military checkpoint in that area," and the pickup truck "was shot at from all sides."

"There was no checkpoint there," José Domingo Caldón, head of the CRIC’s Indigenous University, which holds mobile classes in Cauca, told IPS by cell-phone from the area where the killing took place.

"When there is a checkpoint, the military always put up red traffic cones and a sign that says ‘Military Checkpoint’. When we drove by there, at 6:00 AM (11:00 GMT) there was no sign of a checkpoint. There was no checkpoint there. There were no signs. We believe it was an ambush," he said.

"There was no checkpoint" where army shooting took place

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