( Translated by Eunice Gibson, a volunteer CSN translator)
On this coming June 11, the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado will make a pilgrimage to the town of Miramar, in memory of Francisco. That day the whole community, the humanitarian zones, and the different communities in civil resistance will go to Miramar, the last location of Francisco’s civil resistance. That day is the beginning of a course in food production put on by the Farmers’ Resistance University and the group will pay homage to Francisco’s life. We invite all the people and organizations, national and international, to join in this pilgrimage for Francisco’s life, carrying out actions in his memory in different parts of the world.
We know that the Army is going around spreading vicious slander against Francisco. It doesn’t surprise us because they have always done that and they will continue to do that. That has always been their way of bringing death and destruction. Nevertheless, the truth of the victimizers is always different from the truth of the victims. That is clear. For example, with the massacre of February 21, 2005, where the Army murdered eight people, the top government (ministers, governor, prosecutors, Army commanders) said the FARC did it, that our massacred comrades were guerrillas. They found witnesses for their fabrications. We speak our truth, the truth of the victims. History has shown that we victims do not lie. That’s why we aren’t surprised that they are trying to identify Francisco as a guerrilla, as if common criminals had murdered him. We have lived with these fabrications, these lies, for ten years.
And that’s why this pilgrimage is to remind us of Francisco, his memory, his teachings, and his commitment to the community, his people. The pilgrimage is to keep his teachings alive, and so that some day humanity will judge this government that has spilled the blood of so many ordinary farmers, and judge how, conspiring with the paramilitaries, it has permitted this barbarism of death and horror.
With the pilgrimage to Miramar in honor of Francisco’s life, we want to remember his journey and his commitment in these ten years. Francisco was part of the beginning of the community in 1997. He shared that with many of us, and he was the coordinator of that part of the community that lived in the town of La Cristalina. He had to leave there because of all the attacks carried out by the Army and the paramilitaries. He left in 1999 and went to Saisa. There he had to start over, but always with his commitment to the people. Nevertheless, in 2000, because of an attack by the paramilitaries, acting together with the Army, where they burned people’s houses in Saiza and carried out selective killings, he returned to La Cristalina. In 2003 he was La Cristalina’s delegate to take part in the national and international meeting of the community. Around the middle of 2004 he decided to take part in the proposal planned by the Peace Community of San Jose to create the humanitarian zones. They were to be an answer to the attacks that were being carried out in various towns in order to displace the people. He worked with Luis Eduardo Guerra in the town of Miramar and moved there to live. There he was chosen by the town as the coordinator of the Miramar humanitarian zone.
In March and April of 2005, being the coordinator of the Miramar humanitarian zone, he was chosen by the communities to represent the Peace Community at the food production course put on by the Farmers’ Resistance University. It was being carried out in the parish of Remolinos del Caguan in Caqueta. He returned from there and took part in the displacement of San Jose to Jan Josesito, which he decided to support completely, along with the town of Miramar. He took an active part in the visit of the international commissions of Italy and Germany in November of 2005. In 2006, he decided to retire as coordinator of Miramar because of family problems, but he continued to work as a leader in the Miramar humanitarian zone and in the defense of the farmers in the area, in spite of threats that were made against him.
Because of his great eloquence in speaking, his simplicity, his frank and pleasant style of leadership, and his life committed to the people of the communities, they will remember him as a great leader. For your candid smile, and for that joyful endurance, thank you Francisco. The paramilitaries have not taken your life, because it is still in our midst.
PEACE COMMUNITY OF SAN JOSE DE APARTADO
May 22, 2007
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621