Whether Martin Alfonso Cuassi was elected mayor of Segovia, Antioquia, in the mid-1990s; whether he was shot in 1997 [COL42202.E]

No mention of Martin Alfonso Cuassi could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Abelardo Herrera Echevery was elected mayor of Segovia, Antioquia, in 1994 (Colombia n.d.) and served in this position from 1995 to 1997 (Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights 10 May 2003). His predecessor, Martín Alberto Cuassi (or Cuasi) Cifuentes, was re-elected for the period 1998-2000, though he reportedly fled the country in 2000 before the end of his mandate on account of "constant death threats and two attempts on his life" (continuas amenazas de muerte y los dos atentados de que fue objeto) (ibid.). On 12 August 1997, Amnesty International reported that Cuassi, along with another candidate in the 1997 municipal elections, had been threatened with death by a paramilitary group and told to leave the area immediately.

In an article published by the Yves-Thériault Centre, a Montreal-based organization that helps immigrants to integrate into Quebec society, Cuassi indicated that he left Colombia in January 2000 because of a political crisis (Centre Yves-Thériault Feb. 2003, 10). He then spent an unspecified period of time in the United States before travelling with his wife to the Canadian border in order to apply for refugee status (ibid., 11). He claimed that he was subsequently granted permanent residency in Canada, and that he now lives in Montreal (ibid.).

No mention of Cuassi being shot could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Amnesty International. 12 August 1997. "Colombia: Luis Alberto Lopera Munera, activista de derechos humanos, maestro Carlos Rojo Uribe, ex alcalde." (AI Index: AMR 23/062/1997) http://web.amnesty.org/library/print/ENGAMR340192003 [Accessed 10 Nov. 2003]

Centre Yves-Thériault. February 2003. Le participe présent. Vol. 7. "Portraits." http://www.csdm.qc.ca/yves_theriault/journalfev03web.pdf [Accessed 11 Nov. 2003]

Colombia. n.d. Departamento Nacional de Planeación. "Resultados elecciones alcaldes 1994." http://www.dnp.gov.co/ArchivosWeb/Direccion_Desarrollo_Territorial/descentralizacion/participacion/resul_electorales/alcaldes/04_elecalcal_1994.xls [Accessed 10 Nov. 2003]

Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Humanos Rights. 10 May 2001. "El paso de las brigadas móviles... muerte y desolación 1989-1993." Colombia nunca más: crímenes de lesa humanidad. Zona 14a. 1966... http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/colombia/libros/nm/z14I/cap9.html [Accessed 10 Nov. 2003]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB databases

Internet sites, including:

Amnesty International

Centro de Medio Independientes Colombia

El Colombiano [Medellín]

Radio Caracol [Bogotá]

Revista Cambio [Bogotá]

Semana [Bogotá]