The Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network (ACSN) expresses its deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Bernardo Cuero Bravo. His murder is an attack on all of us struggling for peace and racial justice in Colombia and beyond.
Mr. Cuero was murdered on June, 7 2017 in front of his home in Malambo, Atlantico. He was a leader at the National Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians (AFRODES) and the Legal Representative of the Association of People Displaced for Living of Malambo (ADEVIM). Mr. Cuero was a former recipient of a protection scheme provided by the National Protection Unit (UNP). Despite repeated calls for more protection from the Colombian government and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, the UNP rescinded its protection scheme for Mr. Bravo, which included a bulletproof vest and a cell phone.
In recent weeks, other leaders from AFRODES have received death threats in Cali, Cartagena, Bogota, and Soacha. These threats are directly related to the organization’s work in defense of Afro-Colombian rights. As evidenced in the murder of Mr. Cuero, black activists are increasingly targeted for defending their rights to the territory and demanding that the government fulfill its constitutional obligations to the black community.
We demand that the Colombian government immediately investigate the perpetrators of Mr. Cuero´s murder and the threats against AFRODES. Furthermore, the government must take deliberate steps to provide comprehensive protection for black activists throughout Colombia and specifically our dear colleagues at AFRODES. The United States government should urge the UNP to provide a report regarding why they did not provide him with adequate measures. The U.S. ambassador should also publicly condemn this murder and guarantee that the remainder of the AFRODES leadership receive protection immediately.