URGENT MESSAGE FROM THE PEACE COMMUNITY OF SAN JOSE DE APARTADO
Paramilitary operations in every direction
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
Once again we have to reach out URGENTLY to national and international solidarity because of the serious humanitarian situation being experienced in several of the towns in the District of San José. Please request the Colombian government imperatively to stop the deadly activities announced by the paramilitaries against our Peace Community and against the people of our social and geographic neighborhood. The paramilitaries are carrying out military operations throughout the towns of the District of San José, clearly in complicity with the official government forces that are also patrolling in the same towns. Once again the brazenness of a complicit and murderous government is made manifest.
Between the dates of October 14 and October 16, 2015, a group of paramilitaries carried out military operations in every part of the town of Arenas Altas, a settlement of our Peace Community. Later the same paramilitaries announced and warned several campesinos from the area that for every paramilitary killed by the guerrillas, five civilians would be killed by the paramilitaries.
On October 17, 2015, a group of heavily armed paramilitaries arrived in the town of Playa Larga, and then headed toward the town of El Porvenir in the District of San José.
On October 19, 2015, a group of paramilitaries arrived at the home of a member of our Peace Community in the town of Arenas Bajas. There they detained him for several minutes. After doing that, they camped on the private property of that member of our Peace Community, while the group split into two and the second group headed toward the town of Arenas Altas.
On October 20, 2015, during the morning, the paramilitaries were seen on property that belongs to Sra. Nolía Sánchez, bordering on the town of Arenas Altas, where there is a settlement of our Peace Community.
In recent days, several campesino families from the towns of Aguas Frías, Arenas, La Hoz, Esperanza and Mulatos have told us how worried they are because of the death threats that the paramilitaries have made against the civilian population. These families are at risk for displacement because of the threats of wholesale killing.
On that same October 20, 2015, a group of members of our Peace Community, coming from the different towns of our Community and accompanied by international organizations, went to the towns of Arenas Altas and Arenas Bajas, hoping to accompany the families there who have been subjected to paramilitary terror, and the group observed the presence of paramilitaries there.
We have to ask ourselves, where are the civilian agencies of the government? Where is the Public Defender? Where is the Rule of Law? It is consumed by ineffectiveness and wrapped in the merciless corruption that is devastating the defenseless people of San José de Apartadó.
Facing the terrifying actions that the paramilitaries carry out, our Peace Community is walking against death, walking in a river of life.
It could be that in one of these gestures of solidarity and human affection, the merciless and violent ones may stop us from drawing breath any longer, or may put an end to our lives, but they will never be able to put an end to our dreams.
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
October 20, 2015