José Anibal was a courageous leader who, tired of the violence and intimidation suffered by the community of San José de Uré, founded the Peasant Association of the Lower Cauca and became the president of the Community Action Board of La Meseta. José believed in peace and in the Peace Accords, for which he advocated in several ways. He is well remembered for his work as spokesman for the local planning committee for a federal programme promoting the substitution of illicit crops.
José disappeared on 20 March and was found dead several days later. It is evident that he represented a threat to the interests of the Colombian Gaitanista Self-Defense Groups -AGC-, who occupy the territory of Valdivia and buy all the coca that is sown there. His friend and companion Olga, another human rights defender, describes him as the “leader of leaders,” adding that this provided a strong motive for his killers.
Based on original reports by Postales para la Memoria and Colombia Informa.