This pretty Colombian activist was shot dead on her way home for Christmas – as over 80 social leaders have been killed in the country this year.
Lucy Villarreal, who worked as a cultural manager in the department of Narino, western Colombia, was reportedly killed by a hitman on the road connecting Tumaco, a Colombian port on the Pacific, with Pasto, the capital of Narino Department.
She was reportedly on her way home for Christmas after finishing a workshop with children.
Villarreal, who had two daughters, was known in the region for her work as a member of the Foundation Cultural Indoamericanto, whose members, musicians and dancers have been working since 1994 to participate in the Carnival of Blacks and Whites that it is held in Pasto every January.
Melisa Herrera, the victim’s sister, said to local media that “we have never received threats, so this shocked us a lot”.
Camilo Romero, the Governor of Narino, said on Twitter: “Lucy Villarreal was killed in Tumaco, leader, cultural manager of the carnival, and defender of life. It was done when she was done with a children’s workshop. The sadness is huge.”
Jose Miguel Vivanco, the Executive Director for America of Human Rights Watch, condemned the crime and claimed that although the Colombian government “believes everything finished” a year ago with the death of the boss of the FARC terrorist group, Walter Patricio Arizala, alias Guacho, the truth is that violence “does not stop in Tumaco”.
The President of the country, Ivan Duque, said he has ordered an investigation to find the culprits and sent condolence messages to her family on social media.
One of her daughters said on social media “you are leaving as the best person, the one who fills the soul of anybody with her smile. We will miss you.”
So far it is unknown if the murder is linked with the victim’s activity as a social leader and the investigation is ongoing.
According to the Foundation Development and Peace, based in Narino, with Villarreal’s homicide 22 social leaders have now been killed in the department so far this year.
Earlier this month, the Office in Colombia of the United Nations for Human Rights reported that at least 86 defenders of human rights have been murdered in the country.
The NGO Programa Somos Defensores (We Are Defenders Programme) claimed in research titled ‘Informe Semestral Enero-Junio 2019’ (Semester Report January-June 2019’) that at least 59 defenders of human rights were murdered during the first six months of this year in Colombia, five of them in Narino.
No arrests have been reported.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.