Colombia: community leader killed in Meta state

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 12.45.56 PMCommunity activist and unionist Edith Santos was killed Friday, apparently by a hit man, in a rural area near Acacias in the department of Meta, Colombia. She was supposed to start working with the labour ministry today. Ecopetrol, the state oil company that is the biggest operator in the area, put out a statement rejecting violence.

I have a special connection to that area, having spent a few amazing days near there exploring the woods. I also met with some very nice people from the oil industry who were working to increase oil output in the area and figuring out what to do with all the water.

The area used to be under FARC control. There has been sporadic paramilitary violence and intimidation in the area. Unionists report that oil companies use militias to help get their way with land rights and union fights. I don’t know what happened in this situation. I do know that raising one’s voice in the Colombian llanos remains a hazardous pursuit. While that is true, it will be hard to consider Colombia a democracy worth the name.