Colombian police fire on indigenous people

Story from Radio Mundial, Venezuela:

Two indigenous were killed and five more injured on Tuesday in an incident at the beginning of a large march on a road in southern Colombia. The incident occurred at the beginning of a national day of protest against president Alvaro Uribe, who some weeks ago decreed a state of emergency due to a strike by judicial-sector workers.

The indigenous affirmed that the police shot them as the demonstrators tried to block the Pan-American Highway. The police denied responsibility, and claimed that the victims had been shot from within the indigenous march, and that they were attacked with gunpowder. Initially, the police said that the indigenous died when an explosive they were handling went off, but later it emerged that the dead had bullet wounds in the head and back. The indigenous leaders denied the authorities’ version and assured that their members died in a confrontation with the police, who fired upon them.

After the incident, CNN showed a video taken by an indigenous activist, which showed the police allowing a person in a green uniform, with his face covered in a ski mask, to fire an M-16 rifle three times, apparently against the demonstrators.

Colonel Jorge Enrique Cartagena, of the Colombian federal police, confirmed that an M-16 rifle only fires lead ammunition, and assured that the incident would be investigated. But President Uribe called the denunciations a “fairytale” and claimed that the uniformed officers did not fire against demonstrators.

Translation mine.

Anyone who’s read Forrest Hylton’s dense, informative Evil Hour in Colombia knows better than to trust the Colombian authorities on this. El Narco’s reign has been a trail of blood wherever he’s been in office. Whether as mayor of Medellín, governor of Antioquia, or president of all the land, he’s been an authoritarian murder-monger, and the violent-crime rates don’t lie–contrary to the relentless media hype, he has not been good for Colombia at large. The murder rates have not decreased. The only thing that’s changed is that there is more plausible deniability, probably because the evidence is being destroyed more thoroughly.

I don’t dare hope that this incident will finally bring him down, because his support base is foreign business and the local landowning class, and since they’re looking to grab up all the land they can, they are no friends of the indigenous themselves.

And neither, for that matter, are El Narco’s handlers in Washington, who are giving the tacit nod to all this insanity.

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