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Social organizations based in the city of Buenaventura, Colombia’s largest Pacific port, have warned of a deteriorating humanitarian situation due to the presence of paramilitary groups and increased violence against residents.
News Article
Colombia’s largest port city, Buenaventura, saw a 200 percent increase in homicides in January, compared to the same time period last year. The killings are attributed to deep-rooted problems: state abandonment, systemic racism, and a lack of concerted investments in Afro-Colombian communities.
News Article
Never in more than forty years has the union organization or its members been threatened. Nevertheless, unfortunately we know first-hand the terror that some groups instill to intimidate those who participate in union activity. Just a few weeks ago several leaders of SINTRABRINKS (the union of workers at the Clínica Medellín) received death threats for the third time.”
News Article
[IRTF note: See RRN letter Feb 12 2021 in response to the violence that is addressed in this news article.] Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez of San Salvador asked the country to pray "for liberation from Satan" Feb. 1 after violence erupted following a political rally in the capital of El Salvador late Jan. 31. "The devil is running loose in El Salvador, there are many demons on the loose," Cardinal Rosa Chavez said at the end of his homily at St. Francis Church in San Salvador. He compared the Gospel of the day, about Jesus casting out demons from a man possessed, to the deadly incident that took place the previous night. Gunmen shot and killed two FMLN party activists returning from the rally, injuring others. Some are calling the incident the "most serious act of political violence" in almost three decades since peace accords ended the country's civil war in 1992. Three suspects were captured. The Salvadoran attorney general said those under custody were part of a security team for the minister of health, who belongs to the political party of President Nayib Bukele. "This is serious, the electoral contest cannot become a bloodbath," tweeted Salvadoran Attorney General Raúl Melara, referring to the upcoming elections for mayors and the Legislative Assembly on Feb. 28. "Let's entrust to the Lord, this morning, this country that is, that has so many demons," Cardinal Rosa Chavez said. "This is how the political campaign begins ... Why can't points of view be presented with simplicity, respect, tolerance? Why do they resort to violence, verbal, offenses, insults, threats? May God help us so we can have a civilized campaign, as it should be."
News Article
IRTF, Cleveland Jobs with Justice, and the Cleveland Catholic Worker are among 100+ signatories on a letter to President Biden calling on him to close the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention facility once and for all. “Guantánamo is the iconic example of the post-9/11 abandonment of the rule of law. Guantánamo embodies the fact that…the US government has viewed communities of color…through a security threat lens, to devastating consequences… Guantánamo continues to fuel and justify bigotry, stereotyping and stigma. Guantánamo entrenches racial divisions and racism more broadly…”
News Article
On the evening of January 31, gunmen opened fire on a group of supporters of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). The group, traveling in a pickup truck covered with FMLN signs, was returning from a day of campaigning for the upcoming February 28 mayoral and legislative elections in San Salvador. Gloria Rogel del Cid and Juan de Dioz Tejada, veterans of the armed conflict [in the 1970s, 80s, 90s, that pitted the Salvador people against brutal US-backed military regimes], died, and at least two more were injured. This State-linked repression was carried out by yet another military-backed, autocratic regime with full economic, military and political relations with the US and Canada. Like the Honduran and Guatemalan regimes, the El Salvador government is considered a “democratic ally” in support of the United States’ anti-democratic efforts in the region, such as the desire to overthrow the government of Venezuela.

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