Friday, October 14, 2011

Death Threats Against Theater Companies in Colombia | Slog:

Some members of NYC theater company The Civilians are in Colombia, researching a new project they're calling The Bogatá Musical, based on the beauty pageants held in women's prisons. (The Civilians usually make theater based on research and interviews with people in the real world. Seattle last saw them at the Rep, where they workshopped Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, about the apocalypse and The Simpsons.)

One of their members has just sent an email about death threats that have been issued to theater companies in Bogotá from right-wing paramilitary groups, who work under the umbrella name of Águilas Negras, or "Black Eagles." (For one man's story about Colombia's ongoing civil war and how its factions intersect with the country's drug trade, see the first section of this article.)

There's an election coming up and the Águilas Negras have targeted theater companies that work with lower-income kids to make traditional Colombian street theater—parades, dance, masks, stilt walking, that kind of thing:

Today we begin a social cleansing of all the dirty organizations that stand in our way... motherfucking organizations of shit that pretend to be defenders of the human rights through artistic expressions that are against the policies of our government. We don't care whether you're protected sons of bitches, it won't do you any good.

The Águilas Negras gave the companies eight days to leave the city. But they didn't leave. Instead, on their eighth-day deadline, they held a parade. Video and more details—as well as a call to action—below the jump.