Rapper Elider Varela, known as “El Duke,” was murdered in the northwestern Colombian metropolis of Medellin, reminding people of the violence that continues to plague poor areas of many of the nation’s cities, grassroots and cultural groups and local artists say.
Varela, leader and founder of the La Kamada Hip Hop School and the rap group Comando Elite de Ataque, was killed by gunmen Tuesday in a sector of the violence-ridden Comuna 13 district of Colombia’s second city.
A statement issued by more than a dozen local organizations lamented that “pain and powerlessness again intrude on the social and community processes in Medellin,” adding that “death hovers once again over the inhabitants of Comuna 13.”
Varela, “a father, husband, cultural and hip-hop promoter in Comuna 13, a lover of life ... has been killed in the El Saldo neighborhood by those who fear art and under the indifferent gaze of those meant to protect us,” the groups said.
The rapper is the seventh hip-hop singer to be killed in Medellin since 2010, in what appears to be a violent campaign against artists who promote peace.