{mini}Printable version

English · Español

14 April 2011 | | | |

Against All Odds

Colombian activist leading the search of missing colleague is robbed and threatened

Download: MP3 (2 Mb)

Colombian environmental activist Hildebrando Velez, one of the people who have been leading the search for Sandra Viviana Cuellar who disappeared on February 17th , is denouncing that his house was broken into and information about the case is now missing. In addition, the leader has received anonymous phone calls threatening him.

On April 9th, Velez returned to his house and noticed that two laptops, a hard drive, a USB drive and a cellphone were missing. The locks hadn’t been forced and the people who broke into his house didn’t take money or other objects. The stolen equipment contained information about Sandra’s disappearance. “They want us to stop looking for her”, said Velez in an interview with Real World Radio.

Velez’s house address was registered as the address of “Sobreviviendo”, an organization chaired by Sandra. The burglary was denounced to the Groups of Unified Action for Personal Freedom, elite units from the Army and the National Police that act against kidnapping and extortion.

Sandra is 26 years old. She is an environmental engineer, activist and teacher who disappeared on February 17th outside Cali when she was on her way to give a lecture at the University in Palmira. Velez has been one of the most active people in her search.

The Colombian Commission of Jurists issued on Tuesday a statement to reject the attacks against Velez. The Commission denounced that Velez has been receiving a series of threatening messages. The latest was on April 8th: “…All bad people…Satan and his army…soon they will be destroyed forever, and they will cease to exist…”

These threats were also denounced, but there hasn’t been any strong measure to investigate the messages or the theft.

In the interview with Real World Radio, Velez said that the theft was “weird”, although he considered that it was an attack to take information from him and especially to “prevent us from continuing looking for Sandra Viviana”. “They want to intimidate us, they took all the data bases we have. This has certainly caused us some difficulties”, he added.

The activist also said that he was a bit shaken but that he won’t stop looking for Sandra. “It is an ethic responsibility. The society is joining efforts so as to Sandra’s disappearance is not forgotten. We have to keep looking for her.”

Velez regretted that the theft and the threats he received are not being investigated although he denounced the events to the authorities. “If we want the investigation to find Sandra to succeed, we need to demand more active steps from the authorities.”

The leader highlighted that he doesn’t want what happened to him to take attention away from Sandra’s case. Velez said to Real World Radio that they have been contacting the Colombian Office of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner. However, they still haven’t received any news.

Photo: http://www.aredmag.org.co

(CC) 2011 Real World Radio


Who are you?
Your post

This form accepts SPIP shortcuts [->url] {{bold}} {italic} <quote> <code> and the HTML code <q> <del> <ins>. To create paragraphs, simply leave blank lines.


Friend of the Earth

Real World Radio 2003 - 2018 | All the material published here is licensed under Creative Commons (Attribution Share Alike). The site is created with Spip, free software specialized in web publications. Done with love.