Target: Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia
Goal: Investigate disappearances and mass killings of innocent Colombians.
Paramilitary groups and street gangs are still terrorizing the city Buenaventura, Colombia, despite government measures to curb the violence and end abuses. In the wake of a ‘special intervention’ by the country’s president, paramilitary groups and street gangs have responded by killing more residents and adding to the city’s exhaustive ‘missing persons’ list.
Currently, the groups are responsible for driving out an estimated 6,900 residents from their homes, making Buenaventura the city with the highest rate of forced displacement in the country’s history. It has been almost a year since Colombia’s government announced that it would take extreme measures to rectify the situation, to no avail. All in all, things remain unchanged.
More than 16 dismembered bodies have been discovered since March 2014, with many more body parts being found in shallow graves or washed ashore. Colombia’s government has also failed to shut down ‘chop houses,’ or ‘chop-up sites,’ where victims are reportedly dismembered while they’re still alive.
It is likely that more people have suffered this grave fate than have been reported and, to date, there are allegedly only a dozen investigators assigned to over 400 missing persons cases. As of February 2015, only five arrest warrants have been produced and an overload in case files has only worsened the situation.
The city of Buenaventura has also failed to shelter hundreds of displaced people, putting even more innocent people at risk of being terrorized by paramilitary groups and ruthless gangs. Both law enforcement authorities and Colombia’s government must do more to restore a sense of normalcy to Buenaventura and end the mindless killing of its residents.
Sign the petition to urge President Juan Manuel Santos to take stricter measures towards abolishing violence, murders, and helping displaced people obtain shelter.
Dear Mr. Juan Manuel Santos,
The grave, cruel and usual treatment of Buenaventura’s citizens at the hands of paramilitary groups and street gangs is appalling and gut wrenching. Children as young as 10 years old are being recruited and trained to become killers, men and women are being dismembered at alarming rates, and the city’s law enforcement agencies are overworked and without the means or resources to put an indefinite end to this madness.
To date, more than 200 people are missing and or dead, some of which include children as young as 17. The actual number of disappearances and murders is much likely higher, as victim’s families wait months to report missing persons or never report them out of sheer fear. These paramilitary groups have compromised the quality of life for the people living in Buenaventura, through abuse of so-called power, intimidation and ruthlessness.
To say that these street gangs and paramilitary groups need to be stopped is an understatement. Too many innocent lives have been lost to this outbreak of violence and inhumanity. And, as families grieve, they are all convinced that an end to this anguish is nowhere in sight.
I urge you to take stricter measures towards abolishing the violence and murders that are taking place at Buenaventura, and to help displaced people obtain safe and appropriate shelter from the wrath of these paramilitary groups and street gangs.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Pipeafcr via Wikimedia Commons