BOGOTA – An activist who defended victims of the armed conflict was shot and killed in front of his family while watching a soccer match on television in northern Colombia, the National Association of Afro Descendants (Afrodes) said on Thursday.
Bernardo Cuero Bravo, a national Afrodes prosecutor, was murdered in Malambo, a city in the northern province of Atlantico.
“Two men rode up on a black motorcycle as he watched a soccer match, asking about apartments for rent in the area, and when Bernardo approached to deal with them, one of the individuals pulled out a gun and killed him in front of his partner and other relatives, and the men fled,” Afrodes said in a statement.
Cuero was also a legal representative for the Association of Displaced People in Malambo, a member of the Community Action Board and a member of the Victims Forum in Malambo Municipality and Atlantico province.
The activist had asked the National Protection Unit (UNP) and other government agencies for assistance due to “multiple threats and attacks as a result of his community activities as a defender of human rights for the Afro descendant population and victims (of the conflict),” Afrodes said.
Several years ago, the UNP had provided Cuero with a bullet-proof vest and a cell phone, but these items were later taken away following an assessment of the dangers he faced.
A few years ago, Cuero survived an attempt on his life and his case was submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which advised the Colombian government to increase security for him and other Afrodes members.
The rights group has repeatedly reported threats against its leaders in Cali, Cartagena, Bogota and Soacha.