On Jan. 7, Aldemar Parra Garcia was assassinated by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle on route from El Hatillo to La Loma (Department of Cesar, Colombia) in broad daylight. He leaves his wife and three children behind.
Aldemar was an active member of the community of El Hatillo; a rural community that since 2010 has been involved in a lengthy process of involuntary resettlement with three mining companies. He was a family member of several community leaders who were critical towards a resettlement plan recently proposed by the mining companies.
The murder of Aldemar is not an isolated incident. Unfortunately, this murder fits a pattern of violence against civil society and their leaders that we see across Colombia and in the mining region of Cesar.
According to the report ‘Civil Society Under Threat,’ in Cesar at least 200 leaders, considered to be a threat to the mining activities in the region, became victims of threats, assaults and killings during the period 2012-2016.
Most of these acts are claimed by or carry the signature of neo-paramilitary groups, who claim to defend the interests of the mining companies and other economic actors in the region.