Sent by cdpsanjose on Friday April 7, 2017 at 4:41 p.m.

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

“In spite of all that, and of the intense pain, the crimes against humanity that we have been subjected to and that we have experienced first hand for all these years, we’re still standing. We take joy in eating our daily bread. We’re smiling at life and we’re not on our knees before some miserable, murderous paramilitary scheme”

Once again our Peace Community of San José de Apartadó is reporting the limitless cynicism of a criminal government to the country and to the world. By means of the 17th Brigade of the Colombian Army, it systematically uses corrupt methods to discredit our integrity as a Community. With the support of civilians from other regions and upheld by well-known paramilitaries, they are carrying out a plan if disinformation to the civilian population of our region—they are calling us thieves who supposedly have received a lot of government and international resources that were supposed to go to the general population of the District of San José. Only the organizations that accompany us and from whom we have received some support know of our honesty and transparency. At the same time that we are making clear that we have never administered, and will never administer resources or projects of the Colombian government, or of any other agency that directs resources at the general population, we also make clear that we are limited to families that identify with our principles and regulations.

The latest events are as follows:

On Tuesday, March 21, 2017, there was a fierce presence of paramilitaries in the towns of Mulatos Medio and Mulatos Cabecera in the District of San José. They told several residents of the region that “…that son-of-a-bitching Peace Community has to be obliterated and gone for good.  The only community that is going to exist is the one we are organizing in community action groups…”

 On that same Tuesday, March 21, 2017, in another part of the town they told a number of residents that they have paramilitary groups in the towns of Murmullo, Alto Joaquín, El Conejo, Nain, and in the area of Macho Solo, Las Claras and La Resbalosa in Córdoba Province. They insisted energetically that they did not want anybody connected to the Peace Community and that any such person would be identified as a spy and would be killed.  In the same way they insisted that the gringos that accompany the Peace Community have stolen the resources that were sent from overseas for the town of Mulatos Medio.

On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, speaking from the headquarters of the 17th Brigade of the Colombian Army, commanded by Colonel Antonio José Dangón, the Mayor of Apartadó Eliécer Arteaga, using blackmail and pressure against a group of defenseless residents of the area once again attacked our Community.  They called us an obstacle to the development and progress of the region since, according to them, we don’t allow roads and we interfere with bringing in energy and with land titling and besides that we are a closed area and we live in misery.

An international delegation coming from different parts of the world was witness to these slanders. If we are submerged in poverty and in precarious economic conditions, it might be because the Colombian government and its paramilitary butchers have pillaged our opportunities to maintain ourselves; it could be the result of the many times they have stolen our community resources, have burned and destroyed our crops and our homes.  It is the result of the economic blockades and closing off the possibility of getting our agricultural products to market, along with all of the other actions taken against our way of life.

In spite of all of that, and of the intense pain, the crimes against humanity that we have been subjected to, and that we have experienced first hand for all these years, we’re still standing. We take joy in eating our daily bread. We’re smiling at life and we’re not on our knees before some miserable murderous paramilitary scheme.

On Friday, March 24, 2017, in the urban part of the district of San José de Apartadó there was a meeting of residents of the region and some organizations.  It was announced in that meeting that a lot of money had been coming in for investment in the development and progress of the District of San José, but that it had been administered by the Peace Community, but no progress or development could be seen. That statement is nothing more than the traditional dynamic of denigration and disinformation that the 17th Brigade of the Colombian Army, headquartered in Carepa, Antioquia Province has articulated on other occasions. The command staff of the 17th Brigade has manipulated videos and films that claim that the Community supposedly sent thousands and thousands of trucks loaded with cacao every week, something that is totally false.

On Sunday, March 26, 2017, in the urban part of San José de Apartadó where there was also a strong presence of Army and Police, five well-known paramilitaries who were on motorcycles went into some commercial establishments to demand that the owners pay economic support to “the cause.”  They threatened to throw them into a deep hole if they didn’t collaborate by paying “the vacuna” to be imposed on shopkeepers. Several of the owners and shopkeepers came to our Community to express the fear they were feeling, because they are intimidated by the paramilitaries.

On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at 8:15 a.m. in the town of Mulatos in the District of San José a group of paramilitaries announced to several of the people living there that they had a list of five people to kill and that they were looking for them around the towns so that they could find them and kill them.  They said that three of the people on the list are members of our Peace Community.

On that same Wednesday, March 29, 2017, in the town of La Unión de Alto Carepa, a group of paramilitaries left money in the road. The money was picked up by military troops who were chasing them.  Minutes later the soldiers stopped chasing them, took the money and went to spend part of it in the town of Belén in the Municipality of Carepa.  This group of paramilitaries continued on their way to the town of Mulatos without any interference by the Armed Forces.

In the last few days the paramilitaries have installed a paramilitary base in the town of Arenas Bajas, where they have also built recreational areas. They are incorporating the men who make up their armed force into the area.

We will not stop raising our shouts to the four winds and placing before humanity and history these events of extermination that we are subjected to every day by high levels of the government, which uses these paramilitary systems to carry out their purposes.

We are thankful for national and international solidarity, for those who walk with us. We urge them not to retreat in demanding that the Colombian government comply with the decisions of the honorable Constitutional Court in favor of our Peace Community.

Peace Community of San José de Apartadó

 April 7, 2017

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