Archivo de ‘Antioquia’
Homeowners of Lérida CDO properties that were evacuated for safety reasons sent a letter to Colombia’s Vice President Angelino Garzón, asking for more attention from the National Government in regards to the negotiation process with the construction company.
Santiago Uribe, spokesperson for the victims and Resilience Chief of Medellín, said the most pressing concern is that the construction company wants to negotiate with each one of the families individually and refuses to do so with the group.
Uribe also said the victims are concerned with the possibility of banks reactivating mortgages, after the grace period they had been given is over.
An alleged initiative by members of the ‘la Oficina de Envigado’ and ‘los Urabeños” criminal gang to engage in talks with the Government is unknown to authorities and people close to mediation processes in Medellín. The Police Department, the Mayoralty of Medellín, and the Catholic Church have all denied having any type of contact with the members of groups that for the past four years have been engaged in violent territorial disputes and are the culprits behind acts of murder, extortion, kidnapping, and micro-drug trafficking.
According to Jaime Jaramillo Panesso, commissioner in reconciliation processes, the rumor has been going around for a few months, “but the truth is that there hasn’t been clarity because, until now, the Government has reiterated that criminal organizations only have the option to turn themselves in to authorities, as they are not participants in the armed conflict and therefore can’t benefit from a demobilization process.”
The Police Department made a similar statement, and said it’s unaware of a pact among groups known as the “rifle pact”. Colombia’s Justice Minister Alfonso Gomez Mendez, ruled out the possibility of negotiating with these gangs and said “nothing in terms of their willingness to surrender has been communicated.”
The Archdiocese of Medellín also denied claims that Archbishop Ricardo Tobֶón has been communicating with members of said gangs to facilitate negotiation with the Government.
However, a number of activist groups and even the Archbishop said it would be positive to support some type of initiative that would encourage these illegal groups to abandon criminal activity, reincorporate themselves into society, and reconcile with their victims.
The La Estrella Mayoralty and Medellín’s Metropolitan Police are offering up to 50 million pesos for information that leads to the arrest of whoever attacked 22-year-old Alejandro Correa with acid; the victim did not survive his injuries.
Correa had been walking with a woman on Tuesday night when a man came up to them and ordered them to get down on the ground, he then instructed them to give him everything they had, according to the victim’s female companion, but Alejandro got up and the criminal threw the acid on him.
The victim’s mother, however, doesn’t believe the attack had anything to do with theft. Instead, she said he was involved with an older woman who has three children and that the attack may have been motivated by revenge.
The National Government announced that the town of San Francisco, in eastern Antioquia, is now the third Colombian town to be free of anti personnel mines and improvised explosive artifacts. The Government will certify the town as mine-free at a later date but people have already started to benefit from the newly achieved status, as many were displaced due to the threats of mines and are starting to return.
The National Attorney General’s Office said it will be charging five people for the collapse of the Space apartment complex’s tower 6 last October. All five will face manslaughter charges and two will face additional prevarication charges for omitting information.
The Deputy Attorney General of Colombia, Jorge Fernando Perdomo, said they found more than 1000 irregularities related to the construction of beams and walls in the affected buildings. Said issues have to do specifically with design and miscalculations related to the weight items could support.
Had there been an earthquake, Perdomo said, the building would not have resisted. This is in line with conclusions reached by the Los Andes University, hired by the Mayoralty of Medellínto assess the condition of the remaining buildings and investigate the cause of the 6th tower’s collapse.
Phase 2 of the study will be revealed on April 4th.
“We’re still working on it, because we have to finish the lower portion (…) we hope to finish it by Wednesday and the Metro should be providing full service by Thursday,” said Alejandro Gonzalez, director of Corantioquia.
Authorities tested the problem area over the weekend and are confident that it’s now safe enough for the transportation system to operate.
So far in 2014, homicides in Antioquia have decreased 41 percent according to data released by the Safety and Coexistence Information System of Antioquia’s Governorship.
This year there have been 284 fewer homicides reported than over the same time period last year. In 2013, 706 murders were reported in the first 76 days of the year. According to Antioquia’s Government Secretary, Santiago Londoño, the results are due to several factors, including stronger institutions and the improvement of the department’s investigative capacity and judicial authorities.
While homicide is just one of several security indicators, “it’s essential because it has to do with life and that’s one of our main goals as authorities.”
Rumors have been circulating in regards to when the Medellín Metro will be back in operation, but according to Corantioquia director Alejandro González, it’s not possible to commit to an exact date at this time. Corantioquia is the environmental authority leading the repairs needed at the site of the landslide that caused the problems, but Mr. González said everything depends on tests that will be conducted over the weekend. He said the company is trying to finish a few days before the two-week deadline, but they can’t make any promises.
Despite difficulties brought on by intense downpours in recent days, repairs are advancing according to schedule. Metro was forced to close six station in the southern portion of the Aburrá Valley, which affects at least 100,000 passengers.
Directors of the Aburrá Valley Human Rights Committee said that leaders and activists are still being threatened by criminals and that an attack that might be in the works in retaliation for recent reports made to authorities that resulted in several arrests.
In recent weeks, according to spokesperson Carlos Arcila, the threats have intensified after victims reported cases of extortion, forced displacement, and murder.
One family in Bello was tired of falling victims to intimidation and being forced to pay several millions in “vaccines’; the family reported the situation and Police then arrested six members of the “Camacoleros” gang, but the death threats only increased.
The Committee requested the intervention of the InterAmerican Human Rights Commission to protect the members of this family.