Between all of the anguish, fear and pain, there exists something that unites all of these feelings and that is dignity. It is because of this that we do not remain silent. It is because of this that they have had to kill us standing up and with our heads held high. This dignity is the fruit from our tears and is perpetrated by the murderous Colombian State.
Today, on January 12, 2006, the Colombian army murdered 53-year-old Edilberto Vasquez Cardona. Mr. Cardona was a member and the first leader of the humanitarian zone in Arenas Altas; he was replaced by Arlen who was also murdered by the army.
At around 7 pm on January 11th, Edilberto went to bed along side his 12-year-old son in his home located between Arenas Altas and Guineo Alto. The next morning the army arrived and made him come outside. At 7:15 in the morning, in a farm only 20 minutes from his house, Edilberto was shot to death.
At the same time in a farm located only 150 meters from where they killed Edilberto, the army opened fire on a house where two people from our community were at. The couple was able to escape despite the bullets and grenades aimed at them.
A little later, the young son of Edilberto came down to the town of San Josesito to tell of what had happened. The ombudsman came to the town when we informed him but when he asked the army what happened they replied that they had found a guerilla fighter with a portable radio, a rocket and grenades.
At around 11 am the army brought the body of Edilberto down to San Josesito so that his family could identify it. Upon seeing the body, the ombudsman and the family created a commission and at 1 pm went to the house of Edilberto. There they found signs that said National Counter Guerilla Army 33. They also took statements from witnesses and found, 20 minutes from the house, the blood and guts of Edilberto.
The facts tell us everything. The same killers that ended the lives of eight people a year ago now take their machine of terror to Arenas Altas, where in November they murdered Arlen. It is clear that the government is doing all that they can to annihilate us and in order to justify this they label us as guerillas. They detain us, they take us from our homes, and carve us up and afterwards they wash their hands with the same old lieŠthat we are guerillas.
The impudence is total, the extermination of the community is evident, the humanitarian zones are military targets, and the villagers are the prey of the hunt and extermination.
The shamelessness of the state is not limited to cowardly killings of impunity. But also there exists a single piece of justice against this extermination. The district attorney¹s office has called upon a member of the internal council, Gildardo Tuberquia, to investigate. For the District Attorney, the government, and for the state, we the victims are the victimizers and they, the victimizers, are the victims. In the face of this injustice, we will not give up nor retreat. The state can exterminate us, they can continue to take our lives and lock us up, but they can never capture our dignity. This is why they may never rest, for one day they will be judged by humanity.
Edilberto, thank you for your contributions and for your life. Your children will continue with the construction of the community and of the reality of a different world. A world where instead of death and war there shall be life and justice.
We thank all of those who refuse to remain silent in the face of injustice, nationally and internationally, for their solidarity and for their help in constructing an alternative and distinct world.
The Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado