Colombian Cartels’ Brutal Response to Lockdown Breaches

Failing to comply with pandemic lockdowns in Colombia could get you killed, as armed groups take matters into their own hands, a new report from Human Rights Watch reveals.

Drug cartels and rebel groups have killed at least 9 people in 3 states for breaching their lockdowns, which are often far stricter than the government’s. Even sick people seeking treatment have been blocked from leaving home.

Armed groups have torched motorcycles and shot at vehicles, including one flying a flag used to signify a medical mission.

“This abusive social control reflects the government’s long-standing failure to establish a meaningful state presence in remote areas of the country, including to protect at-risk populations,” says José Miguel Vivanco, Human Rights Watch’s Americas director.

People have little choice but to comply with the draconian tactics, a community leader in Putumayo province tells The Guardian, “because they never see the government here.”

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