[News] 6 Days, 6 Deaths: More Murder of Social Leaders in Colombia

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Mon Jan 7 11:32:29 EST 2019


https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/6-Days-6-Deaths-More-Murder-of-Social-Leaders-in-Colombia-20190107-0008.html 



  6 Days, 6 Deaths: More Murder of Social Leaders in Colombia

Published 7 January 2019
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Another Colombian rights activist was gunned down in her home for 
helping Afro-Colombian victims in the country’s long civil conflict.

Mother of four Maritza Quiroz Leiva was gunned down by armed hitmen in 
her rural home in San Isidro in Colombia’s Caribbean region.

Quiroz was an Afro-Colombian representative on the Santa Marta Victim's 
Roundtable working on reparations for the torture, kidnapping, 
displacement, and sexual violence that vulnerable victims in the region 
experienced during the country’s 50 year conflict.

In late December, Quiroz had taken part in a government land 
redistribution ceremony in the Santa Marta region, part of the 2016 
peace accords between the government and the former Revolutionary Armed 
Forces (FARC). Colombia has one of Latin America’s biggest land access 
disparities where “0.1 percent of farms are ... over 2,000 hectares in 
size and control 60 percent of land, while 81 percent of farms cover an 
area of only two hectares and occupy less than 5 percent of (arable) 
land” in Colombia, according to a 2014 Oxfam report.

Her death was lamented by those who worked with her to achieve land justice:

    En horas de la madrugada de hoy fue asesinada en su parcela la
    lideresa reclamante de tierras de Santa Marta, Maritza Quiroz Leiva.
    Seguimos contando los muertos mientras el Estado y sus instituciones
    ignoran de la manera más fría la masacre de la que es víctima el
    pueblo. pic.twitter.com/a2iKi1j6p3 <https://t.co/a2iKi1j6p3>

    — Victoria Sandino (@SandinoVictoria) 6 de enero de 2019
    <https://twitter.com/SandinoVictoria/status/1081936508280553473?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>


*In the early morning today land rights leader of Santa Marta, Maritza 
Quiroz Leiva was murdered. We continue to count the deaths 
while the state and institutions ignore in the most cold way the 
massacre that the entire country is victim.*

Quiroz and some 7.7 million people in Colombia have been internally 
displaced because of the armed conflict that supposedly ended with the 
peace agreement. However, over 400 land and human rights activists in 
rural and Caribbean regions have been gunned down byparamilitary 
groups hired mainly by drug traffickers 
<https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Colombian-Indigenous-Senator-Denounces-Attack-on-His-Brother-20181221-0007.html> 
since the accord went into effect in November 2016.

The hitmen broke into her rural home and shot her as her 22-year-old son 
hid. He later found his mom badly injured just outside their farm as 
Quiroz had tried to flee danger. She later died from the bullet 
wounds in a Santa Marta hospital, according to local media.

"We regret and strongly reject the murder of Maritza Quiroz Leiva, 
leader of victims in Santa Marta. No reason justifies the actions of 
this violence. (Colombia) is veering from peace," said the mayor of 
Santa Marta, Rafael Alejandro Martinez, through his social networks.

Quiroz’s life had been threatened several times and her husband had 
been assassinated under the same circumstances which led her to flee to 
San Isidro.

She was the mother of four children and the sixth social leader to be 
killed so far in 2019, after 34-year-old Wilson Perez Ascanio was gunned 
down in the early morning of Jan. 5. He was a member of a Popular 
Constituent Assembly (MCP).

So far, 90 Campesino social leaders have been killed 
<https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Colombia-Four-Social-Leaders-Killed-in-First-Four-Days-of-2019-20190105-0010.html> 
since President Ivan Duque took office in August 2018. The right-wing 
head of state has been criticized by locals for his indifference to the 
slew of murders and for not structurally addressing the situation that 
has only worsened since his inauguration.

-- 
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