Gilberto Acosta Castro

Source Diario del Cauca

On the night of Tuesday, November 11, 2018, Gilberto Acosta Castro, 52, was murdered. The renowned social leader was shot in M block, very close to his place of residence in Villas de Alcaraván, in the city of Villavicencio, Meta.

At  that point a hitman arrived to fulfil the objective of ‘clearing the map’ of the man, who served as leader of an association of displaced people. As if it were the chronicle of a death announced, EXTRA published last January details of the multiple murder that occurred in the sector of Caños Negros, where the murderer came asking for Gilberto, who at that time was not around and so managed to evade his appointment with the ‘parca’.

Unfortunately, Acosta was being threatened, and his enemies did not rest until they managed to silence his voice forever. Behind the bloody crime that was perpetrated around 6:53 in the afternoon of that fateful day, a series of events are hidden which reveal a pattern of fear and violence..

Dark beginning

It was on January 27, 2018 when the gloomy story began to reveal itself. At that time, the deceased went to the EXTRA offices to report details of the violence that killed Juvenal Pinto, Cenón Ayala and Francisco Javier Guerrero. The murderer was looking for Acosta, but not finding him took the lives of the three other men.
Gilberto said they had acquired land in Caños Negros a year before, where about 200 families were working, most of whom are displaced and now face again the horror of violence, which has dominated their lives.

Acosta stated that a man identified as Hernando Villalba had carried out threats against the people of the farm where they were located, arguing that these lands belonged to him and that they had to evict them.

Final hour

The months passed and the threats against Acosta were relentless. For the previous five years he had been getting multiple threats and although he had managed to avoid death in January they finally caught up with him. Acosta had said at the time that he drawn the situation to the attention of the authorities, and all he got was a visit by uniformed police who passed by his house daily to get him to sign a form for the expenses of providing security.

“He requested security from the National Protection Unit but he did not receive a positive response,” said Leidy Acosta, daughter of the victim. Although the causes of the crime are not known exactly, the only certain thing is that the murderer managed to reach Villas de Alcaraván and Acosta shoot him three times.

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Date of Killing:11/11/2018

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Social leader

Organisation:Asociación de familias campesinas proveedoras de paz desplazadas por el conflicto interno en Colombia (Adespropaz)

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Peasant Communities, Refugees/IDPs/Migrants

More information:Front Line Defenders

1This database records an individual's chosen gender identity. If they do not self-identify as male or female they can use the option of recording other/neither or use the term NBGI (non binary gender identity).