Colombia Support Network has learned of a very serious threat against the lives of Father RAFAEL GALLEGO, MARTA LUCIA TORRES and SAID ECHEVEZ of the Citizens Process for Tiquisio with whom CSN has been working to develop a sister community relationship with their town of Tiquisio.
Tiquisio is a community in Bolivar state which is located in a gold mining area. The Colombian government is promoting development of this mine area by Anglo- Gold Ashanti, a multinational gold mining company. There is a precedent for this type of development, which is the Drummond development of a coal mine in northern Colombia, where paramilitary forces killed community leaders to enable Drummond to carry out its coal mining project. The same strategy seems to be followed here, where the paramilitaries seek to force peasant communities off their lands to make them available for the multinationals to extract gold. The Colombian Army, which receives millions of dollars each year from the U.S. government , seems unwilling to protect the peasant communities.
The threat comes through a message from the Northern Block of the "Black Eagles" paramilitaries, who threatened by name Father Rafael Gallegos and his two assistants named above. The threat mentions their opposition to the Uribe government’s policies of "Democratic Security" of which the gold mining proposal forms a part.
ACTION : PLEASE WRITE
1) To your Representatives and Senators in Congress to express your opposition to US support to these actions
Click on the CSN’s Action Center in our web site www.colombiasupport.net
2)To the President of Colombia’s Anglo- Gold Ashanti Mr. Cris Lodder expressing your outrage and telling him to stop their collaboration with paramilitary forces . Write him through this email :
3)To the persons listed below and tell them to see to the protection of these threatened persons and to investigate the threats and punish those responsible. Tell Vice President Francisco Santos who is quoted in today’s NYT that you are not satisfied by the protection given by the Colombian government to rural communities who are threatened by the Black Eagles. Ask them what role the Colombian Army is playing in these paramilitary threats and why the army is not providing effective protection to Tiquisio.
Dr. Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Presidente de la República
Cra 8 # 7-26, Palacio de Nariño, Bogotá D.C.
Fax: 57 1 566 2071
Or check his website www.presidencia.gov.co
Dr. Francisco Santos,
Cra 8ª # 5-57, Bogotá D.C.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Viceminister of Defense
Dr. Sergio Jaramillo
Human Rights Office of the Colombian Army
CoronelJuan Carlos Gomez Ramirez Director
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Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621