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“Sabotage” Threatens Medellin Peace Process

Colombia’s Peace Commissioner’s Office says that attempts to negotiate a peace process that involves some 14,000 gang members in Medellin is being sabotaged.

The claim was confirmed by organized crime analyst Fernando Quijano, who has supported the ongoing peace process in Colombia’s second largest city.

According to local police, six people were murdered on Sunday, making it the most violent day of the year.

The sudden violence comes three months after jailed leaders of Medellin crime syndicate “Oficina de Envigado” and rival organizations announced a ceasefire, which allowed homicides to drop 40% in Medellin and 184% in the neighboring Bello in May.

Also over the past few days, pamphlets appeared threatening residents of the Manrique district with a “social cleansing” campaign.

Residents of the home turf of the notorious “Terraza” gang have also been threatened by men driving around in luxury vehicles, according to the Peace Commissioner’s Office.

“There are enemies of peace, there are people who are interested in the failure of what is happening in the Itagui prison” where gang leaders and government officials have been negotiating peace since June 2.

The recent violent events in Manrique show that there are external threats, which may be internal, that would generate terror and could put this issue of peace talks on hold.

Analyst Fernando Quijano

The recent violence in Manrique is particularly problematic because the district is the home of the notorious “Terraza” gang, which has been taking part in the talks with the government.

La Terraza has been the de facto authority in the impoverished and neglected parts of Manrique since the formation of the Medellin Cartel’s enforcer army in the early 1980’s.

Despite the aforementioned attempts at sabotage, the delegations continue to advance in the construction of a methodology for the process and in peace proposals with an agenda of territorial transformations.

Peace Commissioner’s Office

Apart from the demobilization and disarmament of the city’s gangs, the government and gang leaders have been negotiating investments in education and jobs for the inhabitants of Medellin’s poorest districts and gang members in particular.

The peace process is the third since 1990 when local militias agreed to demobilize after a peace deal with the government of former President Cesar Gaviria.

The Medellin talks are part of multiple regional peace process that were initiated as part of President Gustavo Petro’s “Total Peace” initiative.

Source : colombiareports