Columbia – Monsignor Rubén Darío Jaramillo Montoya, bishop of Buenaventura, Colombia, is not holding anything back when it comes to fighting crime and the demonic in his city.
On July 14, he’s borrowing a navy helicopter to spray the city with holy water.
“We want to go around the whole of Buenaventura from the air and pour holy water onto it…to see if we exorcise all those demons that are destroying our port,” Montoya said in a local radio station interview, “so that God’s blessing comes and gets rid of all the wickedness that is in our streets.”
The city of Buenaventura is dedicated to Saint Bonaventura. The Diocese is home to 434,000 Catholics, 21 parishes, and 84 missions.
The paramilitary gang known as Los Malos, the bad guys, terrorize Buenaventura locals. The gang recruits children. They’re known for heinous crimes such as dismembering their live victims and scattering the dismembered bodies in the bay or the jungle.
“What we’re seeing in Buenaventura is post-conflict violence,” Jorge Restrepo, director of the Conflict Analysis Resource Centre in Bogotá, told The Guardian in an interview. “It is the application of forms of violence associated with the political conflict—forced disappearance, displacement and dismemberment—to other types of disputes.”
Since locals started standing up to the gangs, the city has slowly taken a turn for the better. Human rights groups helped provide housing and create a humanitarian zone that is free of violence.
According to Newsweek, President Juan Manuel Santos sent in soldiers to stabilize Buenaventura. In 2016, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia signed a peace agreement with the government.
But violent drug gangs still are in operation. Fifty-one people were killed in Buenaventura in the first five months of 2019, twenty more than this time last year.
The most shocking murder was the death of ten-year-old Diana Tatiana Rodriguez, who disappeared in early June. Her tortured body was later found. Diana’s uncle, John Edward Quintero Urquiza, confessed the murder.