The Vandals’ Poster

During the smale scale farmers’ strike of August 2013, the Police published what they called “The Vandals’ Poster”,[1] a poster showing photographs of 48 people who were “protagonists of acts of vandalism against the city and disproportionate aggression against the Security Forces”,[2] including Alejandro Ospina Cogua, a student at the Universidad Pedagógica de Bogotá.

Jorge Molano represents the young man, because the poster is a breach of the student’s right to a decent reputation and integrity. According to Molano, there is no evidence to show that these individuals were vandals. Thanks to Molano’s intervention, a judge ordered that all the posters where Ospina Cogua appeared be taken down and that the people behind its publication be investigated.[3]

Molano also presented evidence implicating retired General Rodolfo Palomino, former director of the National Police, and retired General Luis Eduardo Martinez, former director of the Bogota Metropolitan Police, in abuse of authority, perverting the course of justice and defamation, in order to right the wrongs committed against Ospina and the other individuals identified in the poster.[4] In 2015, the student also brought an action against the Presidency and Ministry of Defence. One of the remedies he seeks is the creation of a poetry award “on the right to protest and the parameters of the authorities’ control of public disturbances”.[5]

Jorge Molano and his colleague German Romero, also a member of dhColombia, presented a demand for measures to guarantee an end to police abuses when dealing with or controlling demonstrations by citizens, to expose the motives and identities of the high level officials responsible for the abuses in these cases, and to highlight the good reputations and personal qualities of the students and workers.[6]


[1] The vandals’ poster shows photographs of people sought by Colombian justice and offers rewards to people who help to identify or locate them. These posters are distributed in public spaces, police stations and on the Internet.
[2] Pacifista: La indemnización que tendría que pagar el Estado por supuestos abusos durante el Paro Agrario, 30th August 2015
[3] PBI Colombia: Interview with Jorge Molano, 16th September 2015; Noticias RCN: Prohíben publicar cartel de vándalos del paro agrario, 3rd October 2013
[4] El Espectador: Solicitan declaración del general Palomino por el ‘cartel de los vándalos’, 23rd October 2014; PBI Colombia: Interview with Jorge Molano, 16th September 2015
[5] Pacifista: Op. cit.
[6] Vanguardia: Demandan al Estado por violaciones de DDHH durante el paro agrario, 27th August 2015

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