( Translated by Thomas Kolar, a  CSN volunteer translator)
HUMANITARIAN COUNCIL: ASCOBA: 58 community councils in 7 valleys, 13
collectives, 15,000 persons and 2970 families.
Recounted in the presence of delegates from ACNUR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees), Ocha (UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), The Public Defender, Interior Ministry, International Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Mission
APP of the Organization of American States, Brigada Internacional de Paz, and other organizations.
Summary of some of the denunciations presented on behalf of the community:
–last night they assassinated a young leader, they took him from his house, nothing more is known.
–a return of dignity, freedom, and security needs to occur, things the government does not provide.
–working in resistance brings a sense of belonging and relevance.
–the government is saying that there is no one to whom to deliver the lands of Curvarado.
–many communities oppose the program of guardabosques (defense patrols) because it is a program supposedly dedicated to defense and in these territories there is no need, they are really intended to militarize these zones which only serves to increase insecurity.
–there is a megaproject to extract all the arracacho wood which will plunder the virgin forest.
–a megaproject of mining in Careperro resulting in the river becoming full of sediment.
–the Black Eagles (paramilitaries) have displaced families, destroying their ranchos, and where are they to go?
–what is happening now is the same thing that happened ten years ago, for it seems that again we will have displacement and intensified warfare.
–the EPS (public health service) has not paid the doctors in three months.
–the Agenda of Peace that is working with the Diocese of Itsmina and Quibdo ought to take into account that there is no true reparation and that the victims are again in a remilitarized zone.
–Doctors Without Borders denounces the grave problems of malnutrition among the displaced, the lack of clean water, problems of sexual and reproductive health (high percentage of abortions) and problems of mental health.
–the OAS (Organization of American States) reports that the Embassy of Japan is disposed to help these areas and their problems.
1.Curvarado: palm: corporations and armed groups (paramilitaries), interethnic conflicts fed by these actors.
2. Mina Careperro
3. Extraction of arracacho wood: throughout the valley of the Atrato.
4. Sale of 02: Gestras? Through a European bank that says 22,000,000 hectares are needed.
Words of the leaders: once we had a life of dignity, now we are a shadow. We note the guerilla that has returned to the attack, and the Black Eagles (paramilitaries)also, all because they both want to control our lands and we tell them that we do not want any part in their wars but only to live in peace and that they should respect our lives.
The Black Eagles have moved in to the heart of our towns where they hold power. Why?
Because we are not restricting them to only buying food and fuel. What about the law and the police who speak against them but do not attack them?
In the case of the megaprojects, the Black Eagles arrive first, then arrives the state or the FARC and a gun-battle follows and then the women, children, and everyone suffers: then there is displacement and if displacement then death, sickness, insecurity, poverty, our young are named among the illegals because they offer them money and some stability that seems better than nothing. Better said, the young join with them because they feel lost. This is better called genocide. With all that happens food security is poor because they do not want to plant when they will have to abandon the fields.
You ought to know that there is torture, disappearance, assassination, restriction of movement for our fishing and traditional community activities.
If bitten by the snake, you choose to fear the earthworm.
Rights to the land are for us inalienable, undeniable, and not saleable, but all these principles here are violated.
We demand actions not more words or visits or training without actions, we are trained and maintained like the workshop of a mechanic, but things do not change, only worsen.
So, how can we discuss with the state?
In ’96, the indigenas were displaced for six months and the afros for three months because of the AUC; the community of Chimirindo has not returned, as if this town ceased to be and there was a great extraction of wood according to some afros that went back in.
In ’97, the FARC killed three indigenous leaders. In ’98, there was combat between the FARC and the AUC; and all those territories have fallen to the armed for the extraction of wood. In Taparal there are afros that had to seek refuge in indigenous communities. There is now a large amount of settlements inside of the protected areas between Acandi and Tambo, there has been installed electric towers (while we have no electricity). A few days ago the army carried out maneuvers in the indigenous communities supposedly looking for the FARC , that is not there, and they did a lot of damage. The government makes things worse as with project REZA that brings us many chickens that only contaminate; we do not need neither chickens nor seed; we have plantains, corn, yucca, what we need is someone to sell to.
And the problem of health is serious wherever one looks, and at times indigenas have to compromise with armed men in order to be able to care for health, as what happened to a companero and his woman who were hospitalized in Turbo and remained alone without being able to speak Spanish, she died and they told the indigena he could only take her if he paid one million three hundred pesos which he did not have, a man appeared that gave him the money in return for being able to cut the wood of his community, and thus it goes. Yesterday an indigena was tortured in Pichinde del Jagual until he told where the guerilla was, and others were put in pain; in la Raya another was killed because he did not inform;
There, in the central town the people lie that the guerrilla is nearby which leads to the coming of armed men and more damage. The produce of the community lands is not worth more than two million pesos on the market each fifteen days for a community of six hundred persons and this will not last for the 15 days and they have to go first to Riosocio to ask permission from the army that has to check their identity cards and fingerprints.
In Virginia and Cacarica the marines and army are undertaking strange operations, they enter communities pretending to be illegal groups to see who will collaborate with them;
In the villages of Embera and Perancho they pretended to be FARC or the Black Eagles;
They asked strange questions and the community remained mystified because many times they had seen the positions of the army in the town and they certainly could not go to their places of work out of fear.
The 24th of March of 2008 I was arriving at Perancho after combat between the army and the guerrilla: the army fired from helicopters and bombed the people and houses; at 12:30 they began to bomb and the guerilla fired on the helicopter; it is agreed that before this ended some of the indigenas of Toribio waving white flags finally went out, a person remained wounded but he did not know if it was a bullet or fear that got him. One week later they returned disguised as the FARC . Several indigenas and afros have killed themselves. The AUC is eating the plantains and the indigenas cannot sell them.

Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621

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