Last monday, Afro-Colombian leader Gilmer Genaro García Ramírez was assassinated. He was head of the Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera. His assassination happened in the rural zone of the municipality of Tumaco in the department of Nariño, located in the south-west of Colombia. The National Afro-Colombian Council for Peace -Compa- made a strong call demanding that the acts of war against the social leaders be stopped.
According to the international denouncement made by Compa, the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia -FARC- are responsible for the assassination of García. They solicited a pronouncement by the negotiators in Havana about the incident and also demanded that the Government provide guarantees and protection for the Afro-Colombian social leaders.
García is remembered as a “tireless defender of the collective rights of black people and the rights of the Afro-Colombian victims in the conflict.” He occupied important roles in the Network of Community Councils in the South Pacific -Recompas- and for more than 5 years has been denouncing threats and persecution against himself and his fellow leaders.
According to the denouncement, due to his posture of the defense of ethnic-territorial rights, life, autonomy, and neutrality in respect to the armed groups in the region, “ he had serious contradictions with the controls of the FARC who have presence in the zone.”
The version of the organizations
The international communique states that on August 3, Genaro García was pressured to participate in a meeting with the FARC in the rural zone of Tumaco. That day he was in a car on the way to the meeting and it was detained by armed men that made him get out, they asked for name and identification. “For Genaro they ordered him to get down on the ground with his hands on his head, two men arrived in a motorcycle and one of them shot him in the head and in the legs,” declared the text.
The organization denouncing the act is the National Afro-Colombian Council for Peace, a space of action coordination between organizing processes and platforms of Afro-Colombians on a local, regional, and national level who share the interest and commitment to contribute from a Afro-Colombian ethnic perspective to the “Roundtable Conversations for the Termination of the Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace in Colombia.”
Persecution, intimidation, and cease of hostilities
On July 20 the FARC initiated a new unilateral effort to de-escalate the armed conflict. However, the persecution and acts of war against the social movement done by various armed actors has still not decreased.
The assassination of García adds to the recent wave of detentions and threats to leaders of different social organizations with national presence. The social organizations have repeatedly stated that an end to hostilities must extend to the social leaders as well, in order to stop the increase of persecution and criminalization of the social movements.
There still has not been an official declaration from the FARC in respect to the incident. It is expected that in the next hours the negotiators of this guerrilla group will clarify its responsibility in the death of García.