At 09.00pm on the night of 24 August, 2020, two heavily armed men in civilian clothes broke into the home of community leader Edis Manuel Caré Pérez in the community of Villa Nueva while he was resting with his wife and children, and shot him dead.
Edis Manuel Caré was 65 years old. He was president of the Local Council of the Despensa Media community (Curbaradó Community Council) and had been temporarily residing in the Villla Nueva community (COCOLATU) for a few years.
He had recently received death threats because of his leadership role in the community. His wife is in the process of claiming 110 hectares of land in COCOLATU in the community of Villa Nueva.
It is important to note that more than 20 hours passed before the inspection and removal of the body was carried out, due to an administrative dispute between the departments of Antioquia and Chocó.
The Community Council of La Larga and Tumaradó (COCOLATU) represents a group of black communities who in 1999 were granted collective title to their land. The collective territory of COCOLATU includes the municipality of Riosucio (Chocó), with an area of 107,064 hectares and a total of 49 communities traditionally inhabited by Afro-descendants and mestizos.
The local community believes that the campaign of violence being waged against them is part of a deliberate strategy orchestrated by large landowners who are connected to the drug gangs to block the restitution of land.
In a statement a spokesperson for the Community Council stated, “Our destiny cannot be death that is simply seen as an inevitable part of daily life. In the context of this violence, which is being normalised in official statements, a massacre is being perpetrated against the most destitute, against those who have suffered the horrors of war to favour the interests of the great owners of the land, drug traffickers and landowners, who to a large extent have taken the land away from the poorest. The world should look at what is happening to the poorest of the poor in Colombia. The government must assume its historic responsibility and stop the bloodshed by implementing the agreements and generating the mechanisms to end this absurd war through dialogue. That is the desire of our black, indigenous and peasant communities.”