(Translated by Rich Henighan, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN’s Volunteer Editor)
The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó wishes to lay bear ceaselessly before the country and the world the violations of its rights, carried out by the direct and indirect agents of the State in the last weeks.
During all these years, the reckless means through which the state has sought to annihilate us have been evident. All their criminal actions, which still have total impunity, reveal the corruption of Justice showing its perversion in which the executioner is portrayed as the victim and the victim, the executioner. This strategy is designed to distort the truth before the world and prop up the gallows they have built for us.
We bear witness to the latest facts:
On Friday, July 23, 2010 around 2PM paramilitary groups entered the settlement of Alto Joaquin, belonging to our Peace Community, and told the families anew that they had to abandon their fields. They said that now they no longer belonged to their owners, but rather to the paramilitaries and those who submitted themselves to them. On that same date a communication from the Ministry of Mines and Energy was delivered to several families. In this message was a warning that they were going to raise the water levels behind the Urrá Dam, and that because of this the families ought to leave the area; that if they did not, the Ministry would not be responsible for what might happen. These facts reveal a tight coordination between the Government and the Paramilitaries.
On Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at around 3:00 PM in the Policarpa and Viente de Enero neighborhoods of Apartadó, the paramilitaries met with the inhabitants. They told them that it was forbidden to go up towards San José, that they had a list of persons to assassinate from both the hamlet of San José and the Peace Community.
On Sunday, July 25 at 9:00AM, Monday July 26 at 2:00PM and Friday July 30 at 2:00PM the Police– acting in an illegal way and ignoring the judgments of the Constitutional Court– made stops with lists of names of members of the Community at the exit from Apartodó heading to San José.
On Monday August 2, 2010 around 2:00PM members of the Community of Peace in the neighborhood of La Unión proceeded to cover up the trenches that the Army had made in the middle of the territory of the Community when they knocked down the signaling fences in the open spaces of the Peace Community. An hour after the community’s work to rebuild what the Army had destroyed, when the Community was taking documentary photos, the soldiers who were there alleged that the Army’s works were to protect the Community, and that they were there only carrying out orders. When asked by the people if they thought that the Community’s protection included stealing their lands and digging trenches in the open spaces there, the soldiers began to insult the members of the Community and assert that the Community was a problem and as a result they didn’t much care for such a guerrilla-loving place. When asked their names and ranks, they jokingly gave ones different than those on their name-tags.
On Wednesday August 4 and Friday August 6, 2010 in the early hours of the morning communication media reported that Col. Germán Rojas had issued a complaint, used in cases of calumny, injuries or threats of death against his troops, against a youth named Tuberquia for having insulted and threatened his troops.
On Thursday August 5, The Public Defender questioned members of the Army about the irregularities committed against the community on Monday August 2 in the vicinity of La Union. The response of the Army was that its troops were not there and that no problem existed.
Lying and the distortion of facts are still routine practices in the Army and our Community of Peace has been victimized over many years by them. Col. Germán Rojas, the commander of the Voltígeros Batallion of the 17th Brigade boasted about working with persons linked to the paramilitaries and about forcing people to help him exterminate us. Now he’s lying again, aided –as he knows—by allied judicial tribunals that only keep the affair silent and allow total impunity. Nevertheless, we know that one day a higher justice will appeal the crimes of those persons who have systematically
disregarded and trampled our human rights and will judge them guilty of crimes against humanity.
The planned actions of the Government, which now, in their audacity, doesn’t even hide its relations with the paramilitaries, are clearly crimes against humanity. We have been giving evidence for thirteen years before national and international tribunals about these crimes. The paramilitaries speak of wiping us out and act with total arrogance and impunity, not even hiding their desire to seize our lands and then to hand them over to businessmen who are planning megaprojects.
They are arrogantly affirming again the logic of death, despoilment, and rape. They are disregarding all normal legal and ethical norms. However, they are mistaken if they believe we will give ground on our principles, on our defense of our lands and of the natural world. We firmly believe in life and because of this we nonviolently resist them. Death and the lies wielded by the direct and indirect agents of the State besiege us, always seeking our destruction. But Life will out over all those strategies of death and of extermination; this is the Hope that fills us, making real, henceforth, the triumph of Life over Death.
Based in this Hope, we reject with all our strength: militarization, the robbery of our territory, the despoiling of our lands and our dignity, and the placing of trenches in the middle of our homes as if we were guerrillas. We stand before all those who live this Hope, who oppose themselves to this logic of death. We stand and seek your support and solidarity to prevent the robbery of our lands and our displacement, extermination and permanent humiliation.
-The Community of Peace of San José de Apartadó August 6, 2010
This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.