Abelardo Liz Cuetia was a journalist who worked for the community radio station, Emisora Nacion Nasa, in Corinto, Cauca, that is part of the Voz del Viento media collective. Community journalists routinely report human rights abuses on the ground and highlight issues which other journalists are often unwilling to tackle.
Abelardo had worked for 5 years as spokesperson for the Indigenous Council of Corinto and had campaigned for indigenous and land rights.
On 13 August, 2020, Abelardo was reporting on a land occupation in the village of El Barranco de Corinto, organised by community members to recover ancestral indigenous land which had been occupied by private individuals and companies.
As he was reporting the army arrived to break up the occupation and opened fire injuring several people. Aberlardo was wounded in the shooting and died later from his injuries. Another member of the community was also killed.
According to Cultural Survival “Confrontations against the Indigenous communities have been taking place for several weeks, corresponding with grassroots gatherings called ‘Liberation of Mother Earth’. Organisded by Indigenous communities in Cauca via the Regional Indigenous Council of Colombia (CRIC), the process is characterised by a commitment to create a world outside of a capitalist system that champions human rights over profits.
Founded in memory of other Nasa Indigenous People who have been killed in Colombia, the communities are seeking the recovery of dignity and justice while simultaneously paving a path towards a world that values all forms of life and celebrates all forms of existing. However in doing so, they have been met with violence.”