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Colombia: Ten rappers murdered for criticizing the system

22 November 2012
Ten rappers have been murdered in the last two years in the Colombian city Medellín. Their “crime”: that they volunteered to help getting young people away from paramilitary groups and drug gangs. 14 rappers have gone underground, and even more fear for their lives, reported the Danish newspaper Arbejderen.

An article in the Danish newspaper Arbejderen on 17 November 2012 by Alexander Nicolas Truelsen describes a current crisis among musicians and rappers in Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city with a population of three million people. In 2010, in particular the neighborhood Comuna 13 plunged into a gang war as various drug gangs and right-wing paramilitary groups fight to be in control of the lucrative drug market.

“Why can’t we be allowed to die of old age in our neighborhoods? Why do they kill us?” wrote Carlos Sánchez, head of the hip-hop group Son Bata, in despair on his Twitter profile, after two more of his friends and colleagues had been murdered in Medellín.

Rap song by Alejo Muletaz

Murders and assassinations

28-year-old Colombian hip-hop star Alejo Muletaz (real name: Alejandro Serna) was killed, shot with six bullets by armed men outside a metro station in Medellin, Colombia’s second-largest city, on 24 April 2012. The rapper had been a prominent figure in Medellin’s hip-hop scene for over 10 years and was an avid promoter of music in the city.

La Familia Clicka Underground, representing hip hop artists in the poor neighbourhoods of Medellin, issued a statement deploring the death of Alejo Muletaz. One of the founders of La Familia Clicka Underground, 37-year-old Luis Albeiro Pacheco, was gunned down in 2011 in the northwestern city.

The murder of 31-year-old Elíder Varela, also known as ‘El Duke’, took place on 30 October 2012 in the neighborhood Comuna 13 and was committed by masked men with guns.

Just a few days after the assassination, the only 17-year-old rapper Robert Steven Barrera, called ‘Garra’, from the hip-hop group Alto Rango was killed with four shots.

The cases added to the murders of
David Galindo Fernando Romero, known as ‘El Gordo’,
Daniel Alejandro Sierra, known as ‘Yhiel’, a member of the group Fuzzy Route, and
Albeiro Luis Pacheco, known as ‘Rasta’ and who was the founder of the Hip Hop Collective Underground Clika Medellin

– murders which all occurred between 13 March and 1 May 2011.

Unsolved

Since 2009, another three members of musical groups from the districts of the city have been killed.

According to Carlos Arcila, a spokesman for Metropolitan Human Rights Bureau, 98 per cent of the murders of rappers and community leaders are unsolved and police investigation is moving very slowly.

Since the murders in October 2012, the rapper Jeihhco, who met with Danish journalist Alexander Nicolas Truelsen, as well as another 60 members of the hip-hop collective La Elite, have been receiving death threats.

Article (in Danish language)

Arbejderen – 17 November 2012:
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