South America

Nasa Indians Intend to Bring Suspected Guerilla Murderers to Justice

By Delisa Morris

Impunity Watch Reporter, South Ameria

BOGOTA, Colombia — In Colombia, the Nasa Indians have captured seven FARC Guerilla soldiers, including two minors, for the murder of two members of their tribe.  The Nasa Indians intend to try the suspects on Sunday under their laws.  The trial will take place on the Nasa Indian land and will be convened by several members of the tribe.  If the suspects are found guilty they could face in stocks or forced labor, according to indigenous leaders.

Nasa Indians during a clash with soldiers / Photo courtesy of The Guardian

Allegedly, the Guerillas killed two tribe members on Wednesday.  The tribe members were removing a banner that commemorated the death three years ago of Alfonso Cano, the top commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia who was slain during a military assault.  Others say the two victims were pursuing guerrillas who had tried, but failed, to kill community leader Edgar Tumiña near Toribio.

Word of the killings spread and some 300 Nasa Indians pursued the Guerilla suspects.  Armed with little more than wooden staffs hundreds of Nasa Indians surrounded the seven Guerillas.

“They were surrounded and forced to surrender,” said Gabriel Padi, a senior member of the indigenous council in Cauca.

Colombia’s government has condemned the killings.  At this time negotiations are happening between the Colombian government and the FARC in Havana, Cuba.  The negotiations are said to be entering their final, and most crucial time.

“It’s unforgivable that while we make progress in negotiations in Havana to end the Colombian conflict, the FARC continue attacking civilian populations in this way,” chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle said in a statement Friday from the Cuban capital.

According to human rights groups 40 members of indigenous tribes have been killed this year in Colombia, several at the hands of guerillas.

Apparently another Indian was killed in the southwestern Colombian province of Cauca, the same area where two other members of the Nasa indigenous community were gunned down three days ago, officials in the region confirmed on Saturday.  All three of the victims belonged to the Indigenous Guard.  

The Indigenous Guard is an organization dedicated to defending Indian rights, land, autonomy and culture.

On Saturday, 26 death threats were issued against representatives of the indigenous assemblies of that region in a leaflet attributed to the FARC but for which the rebels have not yet claimed nor admitted responsibility.

For more information, please see: 

ABC News – Colombia Indians to Try Guerillas for Killings – 7 Nov. 2014

Fox News Latino – Another Indian Slain in Southwest Colombia – 8 Nov. 2014

The New Zealand Herald – Colombia Indians to try guerillas for killings – 8 Nov. 2014

Latin America Herald Tribune – Indian Guard Units Capture 8 Guerillas in Colombia – 7 Nov. 2014

Ecuador Right Behind U.S. in Gender Equality

By Delisa Morris,

Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

QUITO, Ecuador–President Rafael Correa highlighted and appreciated advances in gender equality on Wednesday, acknowledging the recently released World Economic Forum report, Global Gender Gap for 2014.

President of Ecuador Rafael Correa / Photo courtesy of

“Finally, gender justice in the country,” said President Correa via his Twitter account. Ecuador currently stands as the second most equal country in Latin America, following Nicaragua, which ranks as the 6th most equal country in the world.

The report ranked Ecuador at 21 for global gender equality.  Iceland was found to be the most equal, followed by Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

On a scale of 0.00 of inequality to 1.00 of complete equality, Ecuador obtained an overall score of 0.745.  This ranking takes into account the four distinct categories of: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.  Ecuador scored above average in all areas.

Factors include wage equality, labor force participation, literacy rate, enrollment in primary education, healthy life expectancy and number of women in ministerial positions.

Females play a strong role in Ecuador’s political life, standing at 29 percent inclusion. Currently the ministers of Justice, Social Inclusion, Health, Transport and Public Works, the Coordinating Minister of Social Development, President of the National Assembly and the two Vice Presidents of the National Assembly are positions held by women in Ecuador.

In the area of education, women obtained ratings surpassing men.  Enrollment in primary education stood at 1.01, secondary education at 1.03 and tertiary education 1.15. The total score for women in the category of educational attainment stood at 0.996, as literacy rate is at 0.098.  The average for all sampled countries for educational attainment stands at 0.935, therefore Ecuador was above average.

The World Economic Forum has been publishing reports on gender equality since 2006.  The company reports on gender equality in 142 nations around the world.

Ecuador’s current standing sharply contrasts with its standing at 82 in 2006. Following the election of President Correa in 2007, Ecuador’s ranking dropped drastically to 44.

The Global Gender Gap Report seeks to represent the gender based disparities which are found worldwide. The country rankings are provided to provide comparison and create awareness of the gender gaps existing in today’s world, and the opportunities that could be generated through greater female inclusion.

Through the study, the correlation between female inclusion and the long term economic competitiveness of countries is tracked to devise mechanisms to reduce the gender gap. Currently, the gender gap for economic participation worldwide stands at 60 percent.

Cuba followed Ecuador with a ranking at 30, Argentina (31), Peru at (45), Panama (46), Chile (66), Brazil (71), Mexico (80), Venezuela (86), and Guatemala (89).

For more information, please see:

telesur – Strides in Gender Equality Recognized in Ecuador – 29 Oct. 2014

World Economic Forum – Top 10 most gender equal countries in Latin America and the Caribbean – 28 Oct. 2014

Buenos Aires Herald – Country is strong in gender equality index – 29 Oct. 2014

telesur – Cuba, Nicaragua and Ecuador Among World’s Best for Women Representation – 28 Oct. 2014

Over 1,000 people evacuated in the face of floods in Buenos Aires City

By Delisa Morris, 

Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Heavy rain and strong winds plummeted Buenos Aires Tuesday night forcing over 1,000 people to evacuate the city due to flooding.  Fallen trees and power outages were among the wet conditions flowing into Wednesday evening.

People wade through flood water in Argentina / Photo courtesy of

Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich said power outages have been applied in certain areas as a preventive measure, and confirmed 5,000 policemen have been sent to the 17 damaged areas with water, food and mattresses to aid local governments.

The most damaged areas are in Buenos Aires province. For instance in Marcos Paz, 60 kilometers away from Argentina’s capital, 120 families had to be evacuated, while in Coronel Pringles, 500 kilometers away from Buenos Aires city, 450 people decided to leave the area.

The Municipality of Lujan also issued a red alert due to the dangerous 4-meter rise of the Lujan River during the storms.  Local firemen informed reporters that, 12 families had to be evacuated.

“The river is growing at a rate of 20 centimeters per hour,” the fire department told reporters.

Roof collapses and structural damage to buildings has been attributed to the strong winds in the city of Bragado.  Local firemen told reporters the city appears to have been hit by a “tornado”.

Capitanich confirmed the city was hit by a tornado during a press conference today, and stated Bragado was the most damaged city so far.

Though many people have been evacuated and 70 houses have been damaged, no injured people have been registered.

In Buenos Aires City, more than 100 trees have collapsed due to the strong winds, Civil Defense director Daniel Russo informed.

Bus and train services have been interrupted.

Delays were also noted on the General Paz highway at the level of the Oeste freeway and the San Martín Avenue, due to water accumulation.

On the Puente Pueyrredón Bridge, water was completely covering the road, prompting traffic chaos.

Furthermore, flight delays and 30 cancellations have been registered in both the International Ezeiza Airport and the City’s Metropolitan Airport.

In 2013, one of the heaviest storms recorded in Argentina killed dozens of people in the province and forced thousands more to evacuate.

For more information, please see:

Buenos Aires Herald – Over 1,000 people evacuated over floods in BA City province – 29 Oct. 2014

NBC News – Heavy Downpours Cause Flooding in Buenos Aires – 29 Oct. 2014

BBC News – Rains and winds lash Buenos Aires province, Argentina – 29 Oct. 2014

Fox News Latino – Storm forces evacuation of 1,000 people in Argentina – 29 Oct. 2014

Maduro Looking into “De-friending” Spain Over Comments

By Delisa Morris

Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela is not taking the criticism of Spain’s Prime Minister Mariono Rajoy very well.  Rajoy has called for Maduro to release an opponent of his from jail.  In response Maduro has ordered the revision of all bilateral ties with Spain.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro / Photo courtesy of

The conservative Rajoy met the wife of Venezuelan protest leader Leopoldo Lopez in Madrid this week, Tweeting a photo with an exhortation for him to be freed and protests allowed.

“I think you have made a mistake, Mr. Rajoy, ” the socialist Maduro thundered in a speech on state TV, accusing him of a patronizing attitude towards Spain’s former colonies.

“He thinks he’s a king, the owner of the Americas … You respect Venezuela, Mr. Rajoy, as we respect the Spanish people … You are creating a disaster in Spain.”

Lopez, 43, was jailed on February 18, 2014, on charges of masterminding anti-Maduro protests that raged for three months, stirring violent clashes that killed 43 Venezuelans. Lopez’s trial is currently taking place.

“I have ordered the foreign minister (Rafael) Ramirez to review all relations with Spain due to this unfriendly and meddling act of support to the ultra-right groups who exercise violence in Venezuela,” Maduro added.

“There is exploiting Prime Minister Rajoy meddling in the internal affairs of Venezuela, when he simply has no moral standing to talk about Bolivarian Venezuela,” Maduro said Friday.

“Don’t meddle in my fatherland, Rajoy. Venezuela must be respected, you hear?,” the president said.

“We have had plenty of patience with people of the far right such as you, who comes along now to support groups responsible for the deaths of more than 40 Venezuelans,” Maduro said.

Supporters of Lopez say that the protests were borne out of frustration with a dictatorial government, failed economy, wasted oil revenues, and daily hardships from product shortages to soaring prices.  

Venezuelan authorities tell a different story.  They say he is a dangerous maverick directly responsible for killings and property damage during this year’s protests which they call a coup attempt against Maduro. They often remind Venezuelans of his role in a short-lived 2002 coup against former leader Hugo Chavez when Lopez helped arrest a minister and haul him away through a mob.

International clamour over Lopez’s case has been growing, with the top United Nations human rights official Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein also calling for his release this week.  Maduro does not welcome this “meddling” in his governmental affairs.

Fluent in English and from a wealthy family, the U.S.-educated Lopez, an economist by training, leads a hardline political party, Popular Will, within the opposition coalition.

For more information, please see:

Reuters – Venezuela’s Maduro slams Spain’s Rajoy over jailed opponent – 24 Oct. 2014

Fox News Latino – Venezuela’s Maduro announces review of ties with Spain – 24 Oct. 2014 – Spanish leader Rajoy met Leopoldo Lopez’s wife – 23 Oct. 2014

El Universal – President Maduro orders to review Venezuela-Spain relations – 24 Oct. 2014


Lawmaker Kidnapped & Released in Northeast Colombia

By Delisa Morris

Impunity Watch Reporter, South America 

BOGOTA, Columbia — The Colombian politician Carlos Omar Angarita Navarro, deputy of the Assembly of the Department of Norte de Santander, was released today by the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) who had kidnapped him Monday in that area of ​​Northeast, said official sources.

Diputado Navarro / Photo courtesy of

The ELN has been classified as a terrorist organization by the governments of Colombia, Peru, the United States, the European Union and Canada.  The group has been violently active in Colombia since 1964, advocating for a composite of Communist Marxism and Liberation Theology.  

Navarro, a member of the Conservative Party, was abducted Monday afternoon on the outskirts of the town of Hacari as he was returning from a meeting with the community at which the town’s health problems were discussed.  The politician was in a meeting with members of an IPS in that town, they were complaining about the alleged poor performance of its services. 

Currently the Conservative Party is the second largest political force in the government’s congress.

He was captured on the highway that links Hacari and Ocaña, the provincial police commander, Col. Eliecer Camacho, told reporters on Tuesday.

“No criminal group has said anything about the motive for the kidnapping,” the police chief said, although he refrained from confirming ELN rebels were responsible.  Navarro’s relatives believe that the ELN rebels were responsible.

Three armed men forced the vehicle Navarro was traveling in with his two sons to stop at a spot known as El Espejo, kidnapped the lawmaker and took him toward the mountains, Hacari spokesman Diogenes Quintero said.

Col. Camacho said that although a family member said the politician was abducted by the ELN, often criminal bands perpetrate their crimes using the name of another group.  But he added that the ELN does indeed operate in the area, along with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas and the Popular Liberation Army.  

The deputy was released after negotiations with the participation of several Colombian authorities and mediated by a local priest, the chief investigator said in a statement , who also participated in these efforts.  

According to officals, the presence of these armed groups poses a risk to the inhabitants of the towns of Hacarí, El Tarra, San Calixto and Teorama, belonging to the troubled region of Catatumbo.

For more information, please see:

W Radio – Norte de Santander: secuestran en Hacarí al diputado Ómar Angarita – 21 Oct. 2014

El – En libertad diputado secuestrado por el ELN en Norte de Santander – 21 Oct. 2014 – El ELN libera a diputado regional secuestrado en el noresete de Colombia – 21 Oct. 2014

Fox Latino – Regional lawmaker kidnapped in NE Colombia – 21 Oct. 2014