Source : Email Sent from the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
9:54 a.m. October 12, 2016
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
Once again our Peace Community reports on the events that we are suffering. Just a week ago we reported paramilitary activity in our towns and Community settlements. Again today our duty requires us to place before history and humanity an account of the new deeds of horror that are threatening us.
On Thursday, October 6, 2016, a group of Colombian soldiers parked themselves in the fields of subsistence crops belonging to the Peace Community families in La Unión. They stayed there for two days, damaging the crops and destroying cacao trees along with their fruit. This was a clear abuse and a violation of the right to survival that the Peace Community has created in its living and working spaces. Once again we see the Armed Forces trying to damage and destroy the crops and harvests that families of our Community have managed to produce in La Unión. This location is one where displaced families have been able to return to the Peace Community that we have maintained for 18 years now.
On Saturday, October 8, 2016, a group of paramilitaries camped in the town of Arenas Bajas, on property belonging to families who are part of the Peace Community there.
On Tuesday, October 11, 2016, our Peace Community carried out a humanitarian mission to rescue the families from our Peace Community who are confined since last Saturday, October 8, 2016, in the town of Arenas Bajas. At 5:00 p.m. our Community, accompanied by two international organizations that regularly accompany us, arrived at Arenas Bajas. There we were able once again to verify the continuing presence of the paramilitaries on our property. They had taken over and established themselves in the residence of a member of our Community and the subsistence crops had been made into trenches and paramilitary camps. For several minutes there was a heated argument with the paramilitaries after we demanded that they get off our property. The paramilitaries insisted once again that they don’t intend to leave the area because their principal objective is to remain here.
On Wednesday, October 12, 2016, at the place called Pela Huevo, close to the town of Arenas Altas, members of our Community were kept from doing their farm work by Colombian military troops who were camped on the property and in the Community’s fields in that town. There the soldiers insisted that they are aware of the paramilitary presence in the region, but that they don’t plan to do anything about it, because all of the complaints made by that sonofabitching Peace Community will be misconstrued before public and international opinion as “hoaxes by the Peace Community”. These statements made by governmental institutions don’t surprise us, because they graduated a long time ago from the school of disinformation. The government defies the Constitution and the laws and resorts to illegality and illegitimacy in order to protect the paramilitaries. They have been a permanent presence between the towns of Arenas Altas and Arenas Bajas for more than 30 years, and up to now the government has not taken any action to avoid dangers to the civilian population.
In the midst of suffering and torment and bullying by a criminal government that scorns and tramples all of the Constitutional Court decisions that were meant to protect us, we turn to and call upon all of the people, communities, and organizations in solidarity with us to demand a minimal coherence from a government that makes continual promises of peace, while it works against everything it preaches.
Again we are grateful for all of the energy and moral support that you have furnished to sustain our civil and peaceful resistance.
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
October 12, 2016