Why was the Colombian tour guide who helped Israelis murdered?

Colombian authorities still trying to decipher murder of tour guide Monica Blanco, who helped two young Israelis survive a kidnapping.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Colombia
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Almost one month after the Israel Hayom newspaper exposed the story of the murder of a Colombian tour guide who helped two young Israelis survive a kidnapping, the country is still trying to understand what led to the kidnapping and murder of Monica Blanco, 47, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

The murderers left Blanco’s body in front of a cemetery, under a tree, at a certain point on the road. In contrast to other similar incidents, Blanco was not shot dead from a passing vehicle. The murderers took her out of the car and fired six shots at her, just five minutes from the town of Corinto. The murder occurred at 7:45 p.m. on the night of May 23. A military van heard the shots and immediately went out to find out where they came from. A few minutes later a biker reported seeing a body in front of the cemetery.

Blanco was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 16, 1970, but her parents moved to San Andres when she was only two years old. She grew up in a family of tour guides and had worked in the family business since she was a teenager. She later studied travel management and in 2015 settled in Cali. A mother of three children from her first marriage - aged 20, 18 and 16 – Blanco tried to advance her tourism company, first with her partner, and then alone, after the two had separated.

For more than a year she organized so-called “Cannabis Tours” for foreigners who visited Cali. During the tour, young backpackers from different countries visited areas of narco crop cultivation in the Cauca area. The backpackers would watch the process of growing the cannabis, photographed the bushes, smoked and returned to Corinto for lunch. At the end of the tour they returned to Cali.

Four days before the murder, on Saturday, May 19, Blanco accompanied two young Israelis. They were travelling in the area of Cauca when they were abducted by armed men who identified themselves as dissidents from the Sixth Front of the FARC. The group released the Israelis three days later, but retained Blanco, demanding a $100,000 ransom from her family in Argentina, prosecutors said.

"She was a brave girl," one person who met her said, according to Israel Hayom. "She viewed these young people as her children and felt responsible for them. She asked that the two young Israelis and the truck driver be released. She always took care of the tourists and said that they come before everything."

Sources quoted by the newspaper believe Blanco begged the kidnappers to let her customers and the driver go, and retain her. The kidnappers agreed to this and called her family to demand money in exchange her release. When they realized that she did not belong to a wealthy family and that they could not get the sum they dreamed of, they felt cheated and murdered her.

Blanco, who lived alone in an apartment in Cali, was overconfident and ignored warnings about the new guerrilla gang operating in the area. "In the city they warned her not to go on these tours anymore, they told her it was dangerous," said an acquaintance, according to Israel Hayom.

Locals believe that Blanco’s murder was an attempt by the guerillas to send a message that ransoms should be paid or that the victim will be murdered. They also conveyed the threat that "no one should go up to a place where these guerillas are located without their permission," said one local.




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