Seventy year old Jorge Enrique Oramas was an environmental rights defender in Cali, Valle del Cauca.
For more than ten years he had been leading a project called “Biocante de Milenio” a project aimed at developing organic foods for rural communities. His primary focus was food security and sustainable development. He had also been active in the campaign against illegal mining in the Parque Nacional Natural Farallones where the mining has caused extensive contamination of the main sources in the area. In addition he was a well respected member of the community of La Candelaria where he had been living for several years.
On the evening of 16 May, 2020, his neighbours heard a shot from the direction of his farm. When they went to investigate they found him lying dead on the ground. He had been shot.
According to a tribute to Jorge published in El Espectador,
“The memories that come to the minds of those who knew him appear as they talk about his virtues and particular way of seeing life. For at least the last decade, according to his friends, he carried a handmade backpack and a Trilby-style hat on his head. On the right side of the hat, he always wore a feather that reminded him of his origin: nature. On May 19 of this year, at the wake that hat with which everyone remembered him rested on the coffin.
Jorge Enrique studied Sociology at the National University of Colombia and dedicated, at least half of his life, to studies on nutrients and organic foods as healing for the body. In Villacarmelo, the village where he lived, he had his businesses: Biocanto and the Food Clinic. With the first, he sold his products based on quinoa and amaranth to restaurants and people. With the second, it offered people who had a chronic illness or disease a health alternative by changing their eating habits.
His home, where he was murdered, was a humble and simple house where he lived with Bambuco and Mambo, two of the stray dogs that he had adopted and who were his most faithful companions. His name, although it seems obvious, had a history that shows another of his most important passions and hobbies: music. He knew a lot about the history of Colombian music and although he was not a musician, he enjoyed the sounds of Colombian instruments a lot and sometimes in meetings, he would bring them out to set the mood.”