Drug trafficking in Tumaco Colombia, has led to the killing of coca farmers, human rights defenders, and social leaders, like Jose Jair Cortes who was murdered in October, 2017, Telesur and other news outlets reported that month. The levels of criminal activity and the death toll continued to rise even after President Juan Manuel Santos signed a peace agreement with the FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, last year. Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC has been deemed responsible for the injury and murder of many people in Colombia for decades, causing an outrage among citizens, which in turn has led to more strife and deaths. According to President Santos, Tumaco has suffered from an absence of government, which he proposed to address with a “comprehensive intervention” that would include a joint task force consisting of army, navy, air force and police personnel. However, Santos’s multi-force intervention appears to critics to be nothing more than a re-launch of the plan presented by Vice President Oscar Naranjo in June, 2017. The only difference is that Santos’s plan involves a larger task force.
Increased demand for cocaine in the US has added incentives for increased coca production in Colombia, intensifying the violence over control of it.
Corporate media have ignored the fact that citizens of Tumaco are fleeing their homes in an attempt to escape the conflicts between the government and FARC, and the battle for control over the area. Santos may have a plan and a task force to address resolve the government’s conflict with FARC, but his plan does not appear to address what to do with displaced citizens.
“Santos Announces ‘Necessary Intervention’ in Tumaco, Colombia,” Telesur, October 20, 2017, https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Santos-Announces-Necessary-Intervention-in-Tumaco-Colombia-20171020-0007.html.
Ana M. Saavedra, “New plan For Tumaco, Colombia Is Just Old Plan Repackaged,” InSight Crime, October 27, 2017, https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/new-plan-tumaco-old-plan-repackaged/.
“Hundreds of Families Forced Out by Violence in Tumaco,” Telesur, October 14, 2017, https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Hundreds-of-Colombian-Families-Forced-Out-by-Violence-in-Tumaco-20171014-0021.html.
Student Researcher: Ozelle Vivas (Sonoma State University), Katherine Epps (California State University, East Bay), Kelly Van Boekhout (Diablo Valley College)
Faculty Evaluator: Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)