Bogotá, Oct 14 (EFE) .- The political violence six months after the presidential elections are held in Colombia has left 79 victims, of which 11 have been assassinated and the rest threatened, as revealed this Thursday by the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation (Pares).
These new figures, published in the second report on Political and Electoral Violence of this organization that monitors the electoral environment from March 13, when the electoral calendar began, to October 7, suppose that each week there were 3 victims of political violence in the country.
In this period, Pares recorded 62 violent events, which occurred mainly in June and September, in which half of the victims are concentrated in the departments of Valle del Cauca (11), Norte del Santander (10), and Antioquia and Magdalena (6).
Most of the victims were popularly elected public officials (43%), which includes councilors (12), mayors (11), governors (4), councilors (3), deputies (2), a representative to the Chamber and a senator.
Peers points out that “in this pre-electoral stage, the most victimized sectors have been those that, at the local level, are part of the Government coalitions”, and that are subject to 28 acts of violence with 32 victims, while those of the opposition suffered 12 events with 16 affected and the independent 4 events with 4 victims.
Most of these threats or harassment were towards emerging alternative parties, such as the Green Alliance, the leftist Colombia Humana or the indigenous Mais, and the traditional Liberal Party.
ALLIANCES WITH CRIMINAL GROUPS
This type of violence is not only linked to the dynamics of the armed conflict in Colombia or to criminality, but also involves “patronage and corrupt political dynamics.” “Traditionally, violence is one more mechanism of electoral competition in the country,” said Pares in this new report.
The Foundation points out that there are corruption mechanisms that include alliances of political clans with groups outside the law and explains that it has documented the continuity of parapolitics or corruption phenomena that increase the violent climate in campaigns.
“Based on these dynamics, which remain constant, the risks of the entry of illegal money or the use of illegal armed structures for electoral competition, as well as electoral violence, increase,” said Pares in the report.
Peers assures that there are “practices harmful to democracy” that, at the local level, lead illegal armed groups to cooperate or coexist with State institutions to maintain territorial control.
However, in the majority of violent cases it has not been possible to clarify which group or structure is behind it, and in the 29% that was possible, dissident FARC groups and paramilitary or self-defense groups are the main suspects.
Colombia will hold Senate and House of Representatives elections on March 13, 2022, while the first round of the presidential elections will be on May 29 and the second, if necessary, on June 19.
Faced with this scenario, from Peers they predict that the months of January and February, “as has been traditional,” will be the most violent.