RealNews

Candidates Fear Guerillas as Colombian Election Nears

For defying a guerrilla order to drop out of the race for mayor of the town of Tamara, Colombia, Arcadio Benitez is likely to be killed. He figures if he becomes mayor, he can count on police protection. But if he loses, he must flee his country. “I have nothing to lose,” Benitez said. “Nothing but my life.” Benitez is among the 70,000 municipal candidates around Colombia facing the choice to abandon politics or die defending it. With a little more than two weeks left before election day, 16 candidates have been murdered and six kidnapped. One aspirant moved into the local police station. What’s worse, experts say, is that for the first time there are cities around the nation with no candidates at all. In provinces around the country, a handful of municipalities had not a single person sign up to run for city council or mayor. So many people were forced under threat of death to drop out, that the result was an unprecedented number of uncontested races, including two for governor. Full Story

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