Medellín terror targets Afro-Colombian family

Forty-five family members of an Afro-Colombian man who was shot Dec. 16 in Medellin have been displaced from their homes following threats from illegal armed groups operating in their neighborhood. Víctor Adán Pacheco Palacios, the slain family patriarch, moved with his children and grandchildren to Medellín's poor and conflicted district of Comuna 13 two years ago from the Pacific coast department of Chocó, after being displaced from their homes by paramilitary violence. Medellín authorities suspect the shooting may have been retaliation for the refusal of Pacheco's sons to join an armed group operating in Comuna 13.

Medellín human rights ombudsman Jesús Alberto Sánchez said that by October, violence had displaced a total of 5,700 individuals this year in the district of Comuna 13 alone. "These conditions expose the social problems of Medellín and stand as evidence of the armed conflict," said Sánchez.

While the Pacheco family has not given the name of the armed group that issued the threats, the Medellín mayor's office in a press release said that the family is in "protective custody," and that police are "cross-checking information to identify those responsible." (Colombia Reports, El Espectador, Bogotá, Dec. 19; El Tiempo, Bogotá, Dec. 18)


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