Human rights groups denounced Sunday the killing of a social leader in Colombia, bringing the death toll up to five so far this year.
Colombia: Another Social Leader Killed, 4th of 2018
Campesina leader Maria Magdalena Cruz Rojas, from Unibrisas de Iteviare near the town of Mapiripan, was assassinated at home in front of her husband and her son on Friday night by unidentified hooded hitmen, reported the Foundation for the Defense of Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Right in Eastern and Central Colombia.
She worked in defense of the campesinos cultivating coca crops and helped the implementation of the government programs meant to substitute the coca crops with alternative ones.
The organizations demanded President Juan Manuel Santos to guarantee properly the society’s participation in the implementation of the peace accords signed with Colombia’s former guerrilla group FARC, and to investigate the murder.
For decades, the Colombian government has implemented a strict policy of forced eradication of coca crops via aerial fumigation by military forces, with the important support of U.S. military forces as part of a long-standing cooperation know as Plan Colombia.
However, the plan failed to properly fight drug-trafficking in the country, while poverty in rural areas has remained one of Colombia’s main issues, illustrated by the armed conflict with the guerrilla rebels, known as FARC, that lasted over half a decade.
As a result, a ground-breaking peace accord was signed in Havana in October 2016. With the document, the government agreed to make radical changes in their drug policy, taking into accounts the needs of poor campesinos forced to grow coca crops for survival, offering instead the implementation of programs of substitution of coca crops. One year later, however, coca campesinos denounced that the agreement was not applied properly.