On January 7, Aldemar was assassinated by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle on the route from El Hatillo to La Loma in broad daylight. He was a community leader and active trade unionist, until recently employed in the mine of Colombian Natural Resources (CNR). He leaves his wife and three children behind.
The murder of Aldemar is not an isolated incident. Unfortunately, this murder fits a pattern of violence against civil society and their leaders that we see across Colombia and in the mining region of Cesar. According to the report ‘Civil society under Threat’, in Cesar at least 200 leaders became victims of threats, assaults and killings during the period 2012-2016. It is important to point out that all of these victims are social leaders whose efforts are considered by certain sectors of the Cesar population to be critical of the impact of mining activities in the region. Most of these acts are claimed by or carry the signature of neo-paramilitary groups, who claim to defend the interests of the mining companies and other economic actors in the region.
Aldemar was an active member of the community of El Hatillo; a rural community that since 2010 has been involved in a lengthy process of involuntary resettlement with three mining companies. He was a family member of several community leaders who were critical towards a resettlement plan recently proposed by the mining companies.
Together with 88 initiatives from 25 different countries, Facing Finance support the declaration of assassination of Aldemar. We urge the Colombian authorities to not treat the assassination of Aldemar Parra Garcia as an isolated incident, but address it in the context of a pattern of acts of intimidation and violence directed against civil society in Cesar, and we urge the mining companies to publicly distance themselves from neo-paramilitary groups that claim to operate in their interests, and to actively take up a role in assuring that the security of those that are critical of the impact of mining in Cesar is guaranteed.