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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Silence will always be our worst sin

Por mayli2017

With the trial of her father's murderer on the move, neither the pleas of her mother, nor the constant threats that came daily to her cell phone, intimidated and without the support of most of her family, Diana López chose to continue looking for evidence and looking for witnesses to prove that former governor Kiko Gómez was the one who ordered the murder of his father almost two decades ago.

Despite all this, in the opinion of Gonzalo Guillén, an experienced Colombian journalist, Lopez's contribution was decisive in getting them to declare Kiko Gómez guilty of the death of his father. The ex-governor's defense alleged that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were the ones that ordered the death of Diana's father.For this reason, the accusing party had to make contact with the members of the now ex guerrilla, who denied the fact.

The last day that Diana López Zuleta saw her father alive was on her tenth birthday. A few weeks later, on February 22, his father Luis López Peralta would be killed by a shot in the neck. For the history of Colombia it may be one of many homicides for political and social reasons, but for Diana it is an episode that marked her life for more than 20 years and that still cannot be closed.

Diana Lopez spent her childhood with her mother and maternal grandmother in a small town in northern Colombia called La Paz. His father denounced the illegality of the administration of Kiko Gómez, who at that time was mayor. That is why assassins killed him, although he did not die immediately after being shot in the neck. He was taken from Barrancas to Valledupar, almost three hours away, to try to save his life with a tracheotomy and died in the operating room while Diana, still in shock, was in the waiting room of the clinic. Luis López Peralta was going to turn 40 three days later.

The year of the murder of Luis López, Juan Francisco Gómez better known as Kiko Gómez, was recognized by the Congress of the Republic as the best mayor in the country and received the Simon Bolivar Order of Democracy and his career was on the rise in the years after point of being elected governor of La Guajira between 2011 and 2015.

For that election, Diana Lopez was already a young woman who had chosen to study journalism to seek that the murder of his father did not remain unpunished.In the Colombian capital Diana met another journalist interested in it, Gonzalo Guillén, who had toured La Guajira gathering information on the hundreds of victims of the mafias in the region.

To say of Lopez, who pushes for this to come to light is Gonzalo Guillén, a journalist, who investigated Gómez when he was governor.The veteran journalist, now retired, after collecting dozens of testimonies and numerous documents, told BBC Mundo that he chose to send all the information to the prosecutor's office so that an investigation into Kiko could be started instead of just preparing a report.

Guillén found 131 attributable deaths attributed to Kiko Gómez in the first stage of work with the victims and their families. The situation was so terrible that he made a memorial and sent it to the attorney general of the nation.This is how the legal proceedings against Gómez were opened, including one by Diana López's father.

On October 12, 2013, on the instruction of the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation, the then governor of La Guajira was arrested. A few months later, through a decree, President Juan Manuel Santos would accept the resignation of the position that Kiko Gómez sent from La Picota prison in Bogotá.