(Translated by Stephanie DiBello, a CSN volunteer translator)
Various sectors of the media are talking lately about the truths that we have always spoken with regards to the Feb 21, 2005 massacre, when the army murdered 8 people, 7 of which belonged to our community. The truth has come to light more and more everyday. It has been shown that the massacre was orchestrated and carried out by high officials in the State to destroy our process, which explains the complicity and the diversion of the investigation on the part of the government in response to this tragedy. However, none of this information is new because it only reaffirms the truths that we have been reporting. They act as if these horrible acts were things of the past, when unfortunately in reality the same circumstances of death and terror continue with the protection of institutions of the State that stay quiet and turn the other cheek.
It is again our obligation to history to leave proof of all of the incidents so that the truth may permit humanity to judge these atrocities at some point in time.
– August 19th at 8:45 pm: The Public Forces and the guerrilla engaged in combat in San Jose, according to information from the defensoria (Refers to the Defensoria del Pueblo, which is an institution set up to monitor human rights in the country). The fight lasted for 15 minutes. San Jose is a ten minute walk from the community in San Josesito.
– August 17th at around 7pm: Two people in Nueva Antioquia were assassinated by the paramilitaries, and the army did not allow bystanders to get closer in order to identify the remains. This is to show that paramilitaries have a continuous and permanent presence there (in Antioquia), in coexistence with the police and the army.
– August 14th and 15th: 60 paramilitaries heavily armed and dressed in camouflage were present along the Playa Larga and la Esperanza trails (the latter belonging to our community and located 4 hours from Nueva Antioquia). In la Esperanza they went to three houses of members of the community and asked for the guerrilla, saying that they (the paramilitaries) needed to remove people from the zone if they didn’t work with them. This was especially aimed at the residents of Mulatos, la Esperanza, and Resbaloza, with the paramilitaries insisting that they needed to carry out forceful actions against those areas with heavy guerrilla concentration. After that they went back down to Nueva Antioquia.
– Since August 3 the army has kept guard at the exit of Nueva Antioquia in order to record the names of everyone who passes through. Within Nueva Antioquia the paramilitaries control the food supply and charge taxes on the products that those from the rural areas come down to sell. All this occurs in the public eye, right in front of the army and the police.
These incidents speak for themselves, showing that the paramilitaries’ actions continue stronger than ever. The coexistence between the Public Forces and the paramilitaries is absolute, and acts of war continue in the zone, putting the civil population in serious risk, all of which contradicts the government’s false affirmations that this is region is now calm and peaceful.
The paramilitaries’ threats towards those who have returned to Mulatos, Resbaloza, and la Esperanza worry us because they coincide with the same threats made by soldiers just days before. Nueva Antioquia has been a paramilitary stronghold for many years with the complicity of the State, and nothing has come out of the records that we have made. In 2005 before the massacre we denounced this form of behavior by the paramilitaries and the Public Forces and days later the massacre occurred. The murderers left Nueva Antioquia in 2005, and now the death threats against our community are coming from the same place again, which is more than coincidence. The deaths continue without letting up, exterminating the civil population.
Indeed they want to establish a ‘peace of graves’ which we absolutely reject as well as, in spite of the threats, the impunity and acts of war. To the contrary, all of this reaffirms what we are doing and reinforces the reasoning behind our principles of neutrality and solidarity, and our declaration to say ‘no’ to the impunity and death and ‘yes’ to life.
We are grateful for the national and international solidarity that encourages us to continue creating alternatives in the middle of an armed conflict that we suffer through daily and that seeks to annihilate us.
The Peace Community San Jose de Apartado
August 20th, 2008