Magdalena Medio Chapter into context

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The chapter is based in Barrancabermeja (Santander). Historically, this municipality’s economic growth came from the petroleum industry, the first well having been exploited in 1916. In Barrancabermeja there is the central office of Ecopetrol, the labor union of which is one of the most renowned in the country : the Unión Sindical de Obreros (USO).


The main perpetrators of crimes against humanity in the city were the Autodefensas Unidas de Santander y sur del Cesar (Ausac) of the AUC in complicity with the Public Force, especially the Nueva Granada Battalion of the 5th Brigade. Between 1988 and 1993, they increased their actions against persons coming from rural parts and working-class districts. In this municipality, the most emblematic cases of socio-political violence are the disappearances of 19 merchants, the massacre of the judicial commission that investigated this case (1987-1988), the extrajudicial executions ordered and executed by the Intelligence network of the National Navy (1990-1992), the collective disappearance and massacre of the 16th of May 1998 and the massacre of the 28th of February 1999.


The Barranca chapter of the MOVICE is mainly composed of victims of these events, relatives of victims of enforced disappearance and extrajudicial executions. There are 14 victim organizations such as the Colectivo 16 de Mayo, the Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos (ASFADDES), el espacio de trabajadores y trabajadoras de derechos humanos, the Asociación de Desplazados Asentados en el Municipio de Barrancabermeja (ASODESAMUBA), the Corporación Regional para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (CREDHOS), the Observatorio de Paz Integral (OPIN), the Organización Femenina Popular (OFP) and the support of the Programa de Desarrollo y Paz del Magdalena Medio.


The chapter promotes ongoing advocacy to assert victims’ rights, especially in relation to the search for disappeared relatives and the fulfillment of protocols to return corpses during the exhumation process.

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