On 4 March 2021, fourteen Colombian bishops denounced threats against the life of the bishop of Buenaventura, Monsignor Rubén Jaramillo, members of the Catholic Church amid a new wave of violence that engulfs the population of the departments on the Pacific Coast of Colombia: Chocó, Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño.
It hurts us deeply that a bishop is threatened simply for exposing what we all see said Omar Sánchez, archbishop of Popayán, Cauca,
Peasant farmers, indigenous and Afro communities in the region are subjected to violence, are confined in their territories, have to face an increase in anti-personnel mines and forced displacement. The Bishop has been denouncing these human rights violations.
Buenaventura is Colombia’s largest port city, its strategic position of makes it an important city for Colombia’s economy. The highway between Buenaventura and Cali is one of the only two roads that connect the Pacific Coast with larger cities in the interior. The port was expanded with a major injection of foreign investment to become the largest deep-water commercial port in South America and the busiest in Colombia. It is now among the 10 most important ports in Latin America..
Buenaventura, in January 2021 saw a 200 percent increase in homicides compared to the same time period last year. Despite Buenaventura managing approximately 75% of Colombia’s internationally traded goods, generating large profits for corporations and contributing significantly to Colombia’s tax revenues, the Colombian state has neglected to bring basic services including drinkable water, reliable electricity, adequate housing, health care, and schools for the local population.