Colombia: Cauca campesino leader assassinated

Sergio Úlcue Perdomo, a campesino leader representing veredas (hamlets) in the municipality of Caloto, in Colombia's southwestern Cauca department, was killed by unknown gunmen in civilian clothes who invaded his family's shelter in vereda Marañón on Nov. 17. Family members, including children, looked on as he was slain. The family has been living in the improvised shelter since November 2011, when they were forced by paramilitary threats to abandon their traditional lands and home in vereda El Pedregal. In 2009, Úlcue Perdomo led an effort to document rights abuses by the Colombian army and allied paramilitaries at the veredas of El Pedregal and El Vergel, bringing a complaint before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) on behalf of some 175 families. The CIDH issued a "Precuationary Measure," MC-97-10, calling on the Colombian government to guarantee the safety of the threatened families. (Corporación Justicia y Dignidad via Rebelión, Nov. 19)

The assassination came two days after the closing of an international indigenous meeting that was held in the Cauca resguardo (indigenous territory) of La María Piendamó, the Fifth Continental Summut of Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala, attended by some 2,000 from throughout the Andean and Central American nations, as well as Mexico, the US and Canada. The periodic summit, named for the word for the American continents in the language of Panama's Kuna people, convened for the first time in Mexico in 2000. The Fifth Abya Yala Summit concluded with the issuance of a "Declaration of La María Piendamó" condemning the "predatory and irrational" nature of the "neoliberal extractive capitalist model," while also warning against a "'green economy'" that would "commercialize" natural resources in the guise of saving them. (Panamá On, Nov. 19; Servindi, Nov. 15)

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