AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Bishop of Buenaventura receives death threats: “Today he is the victim”

Tuesday, 8 February 2022 drug trade   violence   human rights   armed groups   bishops  

Buenaventura (Agenzia Fides) - "We are very concerned for the life of Bishop Rubén Darío Jaramillo of Buenaventura, who, as a good pastor and with the pain of his people in his heart, denounced what was happening in this region where the armed groups had acted against the population, and he had the prophetic courage to denounce what was happening. Now he is the victim", said Father Darío Echeverri, Secretary General of the National Conciliation Commission (CCN), after the Bishop of Buenaventura received several death threats. The Catholic priest complains that some places in the Buenaventura port area are forbidden for the bishop, although they belong to his ecclesiastical jurisdiction, in order to carry out his pastoral mission there. He therefore urges the national government "to pay special attention to this port, the most important in Colombia", and calls on the armed groups to stop attacks on the Afro and indigenous population living there, as well as on immigrants from all over the country. For some time Mgr Rubén Darío Jaramillo has been calling for decisive action by the authorities because, according to the bishop, "this is not just violence, it is a real war". The Buenaventura port area is the scene of clashes between criminal gangs, fighting for control of the area, in order to use it for drug trafficking and to impose taxes on goods. Criminals also use machine guns and grenades. Many families have sought refuge elsewhere, many others are trapped by armed clashes. (see Fides, 19/1/2021; 26/1/2021). (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 8/2/2022)