Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | January 27, 2011

Colombia’s Indigenous: A Culture in Extinction

Who to believe? The FARC use the indigenous of Cauca department as human shields, said the Minister of Defense Rodrigo Rivera. At the same time that Rivera made the allegations, there surfaced reports of the army reportedly killing an indigenous man, Anderson Daugua, and dressing him in FARC garb.

The body was reportedly found after a battle, which lasted 24 hours, between the army and the FARC in a rural area of Caloto, in the south-western department of Cauca. It left seven guerrillas and two soldiers dead.

This is the latest case of a “false positive.” “False positive” was a term derived when some members of the armed forces were revealed to have murdered civilians and dressed them in guerrilla uniforms to increase kill counts.

Defense Minister Rivera contends the army is not responsible; he blames the FARC. Rivera says enough time passed between the end of the battle and the retrieval of the corpses for the FARC to place Daugua’s body among the casualties. The FARC aim to create public outrage and withdraw the army from the area, says Rivera.

In February 2010, Amnesty International denounced the indigenous of Colombia were victims of all sides, the guerrillas, the paramilitaries, as well as the police and the armed forces.

Indigenous are frequent victims of killings, enforced disappearances and kidnappings, threats, sexual abuse of women, recruitment of child soldiers, forced displacement, and persecution of leaders, all crimes which are rarely investigated by the authorities.

See images here of a culture that is quickly disappearing.

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