BECAUSE OF HIS LINKS WITH PARAMILITARY GROUPS, WE ARE ASKING FOR THE RESIGNATION OF THE MAYOR OF SAN ONOFRE.
(Translated by Anne Boylon, a CSN translator)
San Onofre-Sucre, November 27, 2006/November 28
ALVARO URIBE VELEZ
President of the Republic of Colombia
MARIO IGUARAN ARANA
JULIO CESAR TURBAY QUINTERO
National General Comptroller
The President of the Republic haas recently made public statements to the effect that all state civil servants about whom there are indications of connections and alliances with paramilitary groups must immediately present their resignations and make themselves available to the judicial authorities.
These statements are a response to recent public revelations of complicity between members of Congress and leaders of the Colombian Autodefensas. The Supreme Court has been carrying out investigations and taking decisions relative to these situations.
At the request of the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes, the Colombian Senate Commission on Human Right summoned the San Onofre community and its surrounding hamlets to public hearing today. At this hearing inhabitants of the community were able to make known all the information they have relative to the crimes committed in their region during the last decade.
The public hearing was held in the Rodolfo Blanco Municipal Sports Stadium in San Onofre with more than 1,000 persons in attendance, among them representatives of the diplomatic corps, members of the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, regional military and police authorities, delegates from the Federal Prosecutor´s Offiice and the Peoples Defender´s Office, the San Onofre mayor and various delegates from national and international human rights organizations.
Previous to and during the hearing the General Secretary of the Commission received approximately 200 testimonies from the victims, including personal testimonies from 18 witnesses. Though there were 42 registered to testify, they were not all able to appear due to a break-down in the plane transporting the Senate Commission to the hearing which resulted in a delay in beginning the hearing.
Those able to testify gave accounts of massive forced disappearances, connections of politicians with paramilitaries, the existence of mass graves, administrative corruption and the situation of dire misery faced by 2, 162 displaced families.
All of these testimonies coincided in revealing the responsibility by action and by omission of the municipal mayor, Mr. Jorge Blanco Fuentes.
The witnesses stated that the present Mayor was the only candidate to the mayoral office due to the violent threats made against his opponents and the population. In addition, the witnesses also stated that the mayor had the complete and unlimited support of the paramilitary leader, Rodrigo Mercado Pelufo, alias, ¨Cadena.¨ Witnesses also testified to the effect that the mayor had knowledge of the criminal acts perpetrated against fincas such as ¨el Palmar¨ but that he did nothing to protect the San Onofre community and its neighboring inhabitants. Documents were also presnted at the hearing revealing that resources totaling in the millions have been delivered to the municipality by national entities, but that none of these have been used for public works, in spite of claims to the contrary made by the municipal administration.
Because of these testimonies and also those included in the written testimonies presented to the Human Rights Commission of the Senate, we, exercising our constitutional right to formulate petitions to the authorities, respectfully request of you the following:
- To the President of the Republic that he ask for the immediate and irrevocable resignation of the Mayor of San Onofre.
- To the Public Prosecutor that, using the documentaion produced in the hearing and that are in the possession of the secretary general of the Senate Human Rights Commission, he initiate an official penal investigation of the conduct of this civil servant
- To the General Procurator, that he, by means of the same documentation, initiate a disciplinary investigation of Mayor Jorge Blanco.
- To the General Comptroller, that he, also using the above-mentioned documentation, inititate a general audit of all the municipal accounts beginning with the admistration of Mr. Blanco; that he also designate a commission to carry out a site visit in order to verify the state of execution of the public works in the municipality.
- To the appropriate authorities, that they guarantee the life and the physical and psychological integrity of the San Onofre population in the Sucre department, especially of those who very valiently testified in the recent hearing.
Movimiento Nacional de Victimas de Crimenes de Estado
Corporación Yira Castro
Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos
Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo
Fundación Manuel Cepeda
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621