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Mario Paciolla was killed as a Colombian activist

13 4 2
31.07.2020

Analysis. The murder of an Italian social worker is the latest by a repressive regime, under which death and torture of dissidents are normal.

written by Gianpaolo Contestabile, Simone Scaffidi

Topic Latin America

July 31, 2020

On Wednesday, July 15, Mario Paciolla was found hanged in his house in San Vicente de Caguán, a Colombian town just outside the Amazon forest, in the Caquetá region.

Paciolla was in San Vicente as a collaborator of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, on account of the presence in this municipality of one of the 24 Territorial Training and Reincorporation Spaces (ETCR) provided for in the Peace Agreements signed by the FARC-EP and the Colombian government in 2016.

In these areas, designed to promote the disarmament and reintegration into society of former guerrillas, the UN is carrying out the mandate of monitoring and verifying the ceasefire and ensuring that human rights are safeguarded.

Paciolla’s body was found with signs of lacerations, and while at first the Colombian authorities called it a suicide, the statements of Anna Motta, Paciolla’s mother, put this version of events into question right from the start.

Motta said that her son had booked a flight back to Italy on July 20, and that he had confided in her that he had got himself into “trouble,” that he “felt dirty” and that he couldn’t wait to dive back “into the waters of Naples.” In addition to his mother, other people close to Paciolla have also said a suicide scenario was implausible, and the Colombian authorities have finally opened a murder investigation.

According to his friend Claudia Julieta Duque, a journalist and human rights activist, in June Paciolla had had a conflict with the United Nations Verification Mission that was employing him, and on that occasion a colleague had accused him of being a spy; moreover, he had received a formal warning from his superiors for having expressed his disagreement with what he considered to be discriminatory management of the COVID-19 emergency by the UN.

Paciolla’s murder cannot be considered something........

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