FALSE POSITIVE: The Punk Rock Musician on Dialysis That Colombian Police Cant Silence

in Citizen Journalism/Corruption & Transparency/Guerilla Journalism by

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This is Luís Alberto Velásquez Molina and he knows something that the Colombian Police do not want you to find out.

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Luís is from Medellin, a city famous for beautiful women, plastic surgery, and Pablo Escobar.

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It’s also the heartland of Latin American Punk Rock.

medellin-skyriseLuis lives in the hills above Medellin in a comuna called Villatina.
Villatina is no stranger to police violence.

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This man lives a few blocks away from Luis. He was 12 when his 17 year old brother was executed by police along with 7 other children in the Villatina Massacre.

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The police accused of orchestrating the massacre were never sentenced.
The victims families are still seeking justice 21 years later.

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Luis is a role model for the youth of Villatina. They remember seeing his band Sonido Libertario or Libertarian Sound play for them in the comuna.

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Luis wants to teach the youth of Villatina that music, not crime and violence, is the best outlet for anger against an extremely unjust society.

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Luis has lived with a terminal illness for 14 years and needs a strict diet and dialysis to stay alive. “When I drink too much water my legs swell up.”

luis-veins-dialysis14 years of dialysis at 3 times a week for 4 hours a session equals 8,736 hours of a metal tube pumping and filtering blood through his arm.

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Luis waited 10 years to receive a kidney transplant in 2009 but his body rejected it a year later. He almost died.

punk-medellinThat’s when 28 punk bands from Medellin organized a concert they called “Punk to help a Friend” and raised enough money to buy Luis a small home in Villatina. He made a slow and painful recovery.

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Besides from suffering a terminal illness, “Luchito” or “our Little Fighter” as the Punkeros call him, was in a car accident that permanently damaged his right ankle making movement difficult.

false-positive-luis-camelBut that doesn’t mean Luis can stop being a Camel, or Camellar as they say in Colombia, when you work without food or breaks to scrape enough spare change together to survive.

luis-camellandoLuis created a D.I.Y. mobile shop out of a child’s pram with speakers to blast Punk Rock. After dialysis he wheels his shop carrying sweets and cigarettes to the same park he has worked 6 nights a week for the last 8 years.

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At 42 years old Luis is nowhere near as strong as his youth. But that’s not gonna stop him screaming Punk whenever Sonido Libertario gets together.

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He’s exhausted after the performance but its worth it. Punk fires him up to get out of bed every morning so his 10 year old son wont become an orphan.

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On the 29th of December 2012, Police discovered a military grenade in a black sealed bag placed on top of the lollypops and bubblegum in Luis’ cart.

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The night before last weeks court date Luis got home from work at Park Periodista at midnight, woke up at 3:30am, took 2 buses 1.5 hours to the hospital for his 5am-9am dialysis session, then another bus to court.
He was exhausted.

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A witness sitting in Periodista Park with his grandson the night of the incident swore under oath he saw a third party place a black sealed bag on top of Luis’ cart moments before police arrived.

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The prosecutor used the cocaine found inside the black sealed bag to paint Luis as a user of vicio or vice. The only chemicals Luis can consume without becoming extremely sick are an aggressive dose of medication.

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Neither Luis nor his defense lawyer were permitted access to the evidence being used against him. The evidence had been destroyed on the pretext it was “too dangerous” and Luis was taken away in handcuffs.

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Medellin’s Punk Rockers Are Pissed.

Punk-MedalloThey believe the charges against Luís Velásquez were fabricated in a common practice called “False Positive” when police and military frame innocent civilians to earn commissions.

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Victims of False Positives are primarily poor people because they cannot afford legal defense. They are easily forgotten.

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Leaked reports show armed forces can earn up to $3,000,000 COP ($1,565 USD) commissions for weapons they discover when an arrest is made.

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If the defense were permitted to examine the evidence against Luis before it was destroyed they may have been able to verify if the grenade was missing from a police warehouse.

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Medellin’s Punkeros believe everyone, irrespective of where they come from or what level of society they belong, deserve fair trials.

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They set up a
petition on CHANGE.ORG and every signature sends an email to the judge they say condemned an innocent man to his death inside a Maximum Security Prison. 1,095 emails and counting…

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The Punkeros of Medellin saved the life of Luís Alberto Velásquez before. This Sunday they’ll do it again as Medellin’s best punk bands and their fans get together to raise money and awareness for his cause.

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They want to scream a message that False Positives and Police Impunity are not welcome in Periodista Park – home of the memorial statues of 8 children executed by police in the Villatina Massacre.

Johana Mazo Ramírez (8 years),
Johny Alexander Cardona Ramírez (17 years),
Ricardo Alexander Hernández (17 years),
Giovanny Alberto Vallejo Restrepo (15 years),
Oscar Andrés Ortiz Toro (17 years),
Ángel Alberto Barón Miranda (16 years),
Marlon Alberto Álvarez (17 years),
Nelson Duban Flórez Villa (17 years),
Mauricio Antonio Higuita Ramírez (22 years).

You can help Luís Alberto Velásquez Molina too by sharing this page and signing the petition on CHANGE.ORG

Also all money raised from purchases of the “Police Bastard” EP by UK punk band DOOM are being sent to Luis Alberto Velasquez so he can afford to buy healthy food inside the atrocious conditions of Medellin’s Bellavista Prison.

UPDATE

Luis Alberto Velasquez Molina was granted house arrest after seven months in Bellavista Prison. The following photo shows Luis in his house in Villatina, a few hours after being released from prison, writing on the bottom of my article on Colombia Reports the following thanks:

“I am Luis Alberto Velasquez Molina and I am innocent. Thank you to all the people around the world for helping me with your signatures and to DOOM, Jake, the Doctor Marialena, Doctor Muñoz and all the energy of punks of the world.”

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22 Comments

    • Hi Matt, thanks for the concern. Yes this is helping and the more awareness created the better chance Luis has of his human rights being respected.

      Luis was sent to Bellavista prison in Medellin on Wednesday the 18th and, either through inconvenience or incompetence, it seems like the judge didn’t program his dialysis on Friday the 27th (it almost became the first day in 14 years he was unable to make it to the hospital but his lawyers scrambled to get him to the emergency room) Now they are using this to file a claim of negligence against the judiciary.

  1. The Columbia police are greedy pigs! This man will make a change, this movement has to get more global attention, even here in Canada, our politicians need to put more pressure on Columbian officials to be accountable and stop these atrocities! With all the gold were mining there, what’s stopping this from happening to workers there.? I don’t know politics but this makes me want to get involved to help in any way possible this poor dude.. Stay strong and Rock on.

  2. On saturday the 5th Luis was sentenced to 12 years – 10 for the alleged grenade and 2 for the alleged drugs.

    In Bellavista prison the overcrowded cells and lack of decent hygenic conditions (which have already led to numerous deaths inside the prison in 2013) make it very hard for someone in Luis condition to survive inside. Already the poor food served at the prison has given Luis a bad case of diarreah meaning he has to make multiple trips to unclean and overcrowded toilets.

    Some good news; the Punkeros of Medellin raised 1.725.000 COP ($913USD) for him at the punk concert. This money is being given to him in small amounts every visit because the danger of being assaulted and robbed in Bellavista prison is incredibly high.

    Here is a video of the punk concert for Luis:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orU6snThajs&feature=youtu.be

    Luis and his lawyers need all the help they can get to help commute his sentence because he is terminally ill. So far there are 5.127 signatures but by sharing this page and the petition we can double that:
    http://www.change.org/luisalberto

    The Punkeros of Medellin appreciate all the help they are getting from around the world!

  3. Un saludo a todos los Punk´s de Medallo, Colombia, representan para mí una de las escenas más autenticas y honestas en latinoamérica. Un abrazo y todo mi apoyo en su lucha. Punks not Dead

  4. INFO TAMBIEN EN FRANCES:
    Concierto de apoyo la prox semana en BDX, Francia. A ver de que forma se recoge algun peso.

    Luis Alfredo Velasquez Molina, surnommé « Luisito » par les gens de Medellin, est un vieux punk colombien qui souffre depuis 14 ans d’une grave maladie rénale chronique dégénérative, c’est-à-dire, terminale.
    LUISITO a été envoyé en prison il y a quelques mois pour la possession d’une grenade militaire. Cette grenade a été trouvée à l’intérieur d’un sac à dos noir,juste au dessus du petit chariot où Luisito place ses bombons et les clopes qu’il vend dans les rues de Medellin. Des témoins confirment que le sac a été déposé là bas par une troisième personne juste avant que la police n’arrive pendant que Luisito ne régardait.

    Ni Luis ni son avocat n’ont eu l’autorisation de voir la preuve utilisée contre lui parce qu’elle avait déjà été détruite par la police, malgré le manque évident de preuves contre lui.
    Après qu’une loi anti-terroriste soit passée il y a quelques années sous le président Alvaro Uribe (loi ANTI-FARC), les flics en Colombie touchent à peu près 480€ pour trouver des armes et faire une arrestation, ce qui a crée une chaîne énorme de corruption à l’intérieur de la police Colombienne.
    Ils profitent des gens pauvres pour le faire parce qu’ils ne peuvent pas se payer une défense légale appropriée.

    Luis a besoin de 3 dialyses par semaine, chacune de 4 heures ce qui coute très cher. Des concerts de soutien ont été organisés tout au long de l’année en Colombie et maintenant, pour quoi pas, ici.

    Parce qu’il mérite pas être traité comme une merde alors qu’il est un malade terminale. Parce que la police est la même merde ici et partout. Soutenez avec ce que vous pouvez/voulez!

  5. hi, im just curious. it is said that false positives is a killing done by the military and not by the police. and now i read this news and you said that its including the case where the military and police worked together to kill civillian to get commissions.

    and also regarding the commission it self has been explained in the UNOCHR preliminary investigation (which i suppose as that, im sorry i forgot), that its not true.

    so, could you explain it?

    thank you

    • Hi Keth,

      That’s a great question. The False Positives perpetrated by the Colombian military happen when the army capture innocent civilians, execute them, and present them as Guerilla Fighters in order to collect a monetary reward.

      There have been approximately 4,000 confirmed “False Positive” executions of innocent civilians by the Colombian military but experts believe that number could be as high as 10,000 people.

      False Positives perpetrated by the police are not as drastic – instead of executing innocent people they merely plant weapons on them. The victims of these corrupt police then end up in prison for crimes they did not commit – better than being executed but its still a grave human rights abuse and incredibly damaging to Colombian society nonetheless.

      What makes Luis Alberto Velasquez’ case unique is that he is terminally ill: 12 years is a death sentence even though Colombia does not exercise capital punishment.

      Given the HUGE inconsistencies in the case are enough to cause a mistrial in most countries (eg. the police destroying the evidence before the defense lawyers can check the grenade for their clients fingerprints) means the False Positive perpetrated by the police against Luis Alberto Velasquez will result in the death of an innocent man making it as bad as the False Positives perpetrated by the Colombian military.

      • thank you for your explanation Mr Marco. i really appreciate that.

        i’ve read several news that said the false positives case has come down in number since the new policy in colombia where giving a sentence to people (army or police) who did that. is that true? because seeing this case which happened recently to Mr Luis Alberto which is highly a violation of human rights and possibly a crimes against humanity. i dont think the law is worked, yet. people still hoping the ICC could do something about it.

        and also, there are studies saying that false positives could also be a war crimes. i just wanna know your opinion about this.

        thank you.

  6. I’m so happy to know that Luis is a freeman now!
    I’m from Colombia, and i tell you that no matter what the law says, that things happens all the time, and in that park, where the drugdealers work together with the police, isn’t hard to guess what happened… the drug dealers didn’t want to see punks arround that don’t buy them shitty drugs, and, as how you said, Luis was bringing music to the punks in the park for years, so the gang members after the countless beatings they give to the punks out there didn’t worked, they just tried to ”cut the root” with that false positive, It’s just my version as a punk that frequents that place full of loathing.

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