The Program ‘Democratic Insecurity’ Takes More Lives of Union Activists

Colombia, Jan. 8, 2009
Author: ANTHOC
(Translated by Rolf Schoeneborn, CSN volunteer translator)

Tumaco Municipality, Narînô Department, Jan. 6, 2009

It is nothing out of the ordinary to be shot and killed in the municipality
of Tumaco, Colombia. There are armed groups operating outside the law, new
gangs come and go, former members of paramilitary units, and common
criminals who all sow destruction in a municipality with just 170 000
inhabitants that has to deal with a level of violence far above the national
average. Just to give an example: during the last weekend of 2008 ten
persons died here a violant death. -by comparison,in the city of Cali
sixteen persons lost their lives that weekend. However, Cali is a large city
with more than 2.500 000 inhabitants.This is a very critical situation and
the democratic security promised by president Álvaro Uribe Vélez is nowhere
to be seen or felt. Criminal gangs that go by the names such as "stubbles",
"new generation" and "black eagles" are responsible for terror and
destruction all over Tumaco.

Tumaco is largely populated by descendants of African slaves and has no
history of violence. But foreign elements responsible for biopiracy are now
in control of the territory, which is known for its agriculture, cattle
industry, and contiguous aquifer zones. These foreign elements have now
initiated a war with no quarter given, which affects the local population
that neither wants nor chose, nor has any interest in this ever increasing
violence we are facing here.

There were three fatalities just on Jan. 5. One of the three was -Cecilia
Monta^no. wife of Jorge Calcedo, president of the Tumaco 'Asociación
Nacional de Trabajadores Hospitalarios de la Seguridad Social y Servicios
Complementarios' "ANTHOC" ( National Union of the Social Security Hospital
Workers and Ancillary Services). Cecilia Montan^o wa shot in the head three
times and the murderers disappeared immediately and no action taken by the

Once again this incident shows that trade union members and members of their
families are being killed with impunity in Colombia and that the state
inspite of all the lawsuits and complaints that are being filed fails to
respond appropriately. This has caused many union officers to leave the
country indefinitely because their life and safety could not be guaranteed.

We are now asking all human rights organizations to make their voices heard
loud and clear in the face of these barbarous acts that treaten to
annihilate the Tumaco population of African descent in very systematic ways,
and in ever greater numbers. We call upon the authorities to improve public
safety conditions in Tumaco. We want to be able to enjoy life in safe
surroundings, we wan to enjoy our riches, our biodiversity, and our
historical legacy. Armed gangs of delinquents serving the interests of big
Mafia organizations should not be in a position to jeopardize all this.

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