PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/67/99
UA 249/99 Fear for Safety/Extrajudicial Execution 24 September 1999
COLOMBIAFear for Safety: Antonio Barrera Riaño, Fredisminda Alvarez, Plinio
Ramiro Macheca and Juanario Tapiero (Villavicencio) .
Antonio Mocada, Oswaldo Guerrero and Oliva Gamboa
Killed: Fabio Lugo Capera.
There is serious concern for the safety of community leaders and other residents
of the Villa Llorena district of Villavicencio, capital of Meta department,
and the Carpintero settlement in the nearby municipality of Cabuyaro. This
follows a recent upsurge in paramilitary activity in the region. Both of these
places are populated by communities that have been displaced by the escalating
On 14 September 1999 leaflets containing death threats against community
leaders, signed by paramilitary organisations, were distributed in Villa
Llorena. The leaflets named Antonio Barrera Riaño, president of the Junta de
Acción Comunal, community working group, Fredisminda Alvarez, Plinio Ramiro
Mahecha and Juanario Tapiero. All these people are actively involved in the
work of the Junta de Acción Comunal, which recently staged protests to draw
attention to the plight of the internally displaced living in Villa Llorena.
On 7 September 1999 eight heavily-armed paramilitaries went into Carpintero
and announced that they were looking for Fabio Lugo Capera, a community leader,
Antonio Moncada, Oswaldo Guerrero and Oliva Gamboa. They succeeded in locating
only Fabio Capera, whom they abducted and later killed.
Amnesty International continues to fear for the safety of the leaders and
residents in both these displaced communities.
Peasant communities in disputed zones in Colombia’s long-running civil conflict
have frequently suffered human rights violations. Neither the armed forces
and their paramilitary allies nor the left-wing armed opposition groups
recognize the civilian population's neutrality in the conflict.
Members of the Colombian army and security forces and their paramilitary allies
continue to commit serious human rights violations with virtual impunity. Over
the past five years several thousand civilians have been killed by paramilitary
groups throughout the country. The Colombian government suspended the
constitutional legal base for the formation of paramilitary organizations and
issued directives to the armed forces to combat and disband such groups in 1989,
yet they continue to work with the support of the security forces in many areas
of the country.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail letters
in Spanish or your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of community leaders and residents in the
communities of La Llorena, Villavicencio, and Carpintero, Cabuyaro municipality,
both in Meta department, particularly Antonio Barrera Riaño, Fredisminda Alvarez,
Plinio Ramiro Macheca and Juanario Tapiero (Villavicencio), Antonio Mocada,
Oswaldo Guerrero and Oliva Gamboa (Carpintero);
- urging the authorities to take immediate steps to guarantee their safety;
- calling for full prompt and impartial investigations into the killing of