Note from CSN:
The fact that communities around the world protest oil exploitation for the damages it produces is nothing new. But through a grotesque misuse of power, the multinational corporation Emerald Energy has successfully dictated the overruling of a Security Council decision that led to the re-incarceration of several peaceful demonstrators. On October 18, 2010 a Security Council was held in Mocoa, Putumayo to determine the fate of six illegally detained and severely injured protestors, and the decision was made to set them free. Upon receiving the verdict, Emerald Energy successfully reversed this decision by ordering the Colombian Police (a branch of the Army) to continue to detain the protestors. In other words, the Colombian Army, funded with the tax dollars of the Colombian people and with money from US taxpayers, is a private entity at the service of a private company. Colombian Sovereignity has been forfeited in the interest of the profits of this foreign oil company. Simón Bolívar, the Liberator of Colombia, must be turning in his grave as these events occur during the 200th anniversary of the independence of Colombia from Spain. If there has been a change in the Colombian Constitution transferring control of the military to multinational corporations, it has not been widely publicized.
Emerald Energy, located in London, is a member of China Sinochem Group Corporation, a Chinese petroleum company. For more information on Emerald Energy, visit: http://www.emeraldenergy.com/
For more information on China Sinochem Group Corporation, visit: http://www.sinochem.com and choose the “English” option at top right
Please see the following public communiqué received recently from the affected rural communities in Putumayo, and please do take the action recommended below.
Puerto Asís, October 18, 2010
(Translated by Emily Hansen, CSN’s Assistant Program Director)
The indigenous, Afro-Colombian and peasant communities of the Puerto Vega-Teteye Corridor in the municipality of Puerto Asís in the Department of Putumayo, Colombia want to bring to public attention the fact that:
Since April 2010 the indigenous and peasant communities of this region have exercised our constitutional right to demonstrate and hold social protests against the grave impacts of the petroleum exploitation that has occurred between 1961 and today, leaving in its wake corruption, death and destitution for the Putumayo communities.
We denounce that in these past few days grave transgressions have been committed by President Juan Manuel Santos, Commander in Chief of the Public Forces, who, through the use of the Mobil Antidisturbances Squadron (ESMAD), the national police and the Army has illegally detained six (6) indigenous members of the Nasa community, among them our elders and ancestral authorities. These community members were forcibly detained at 5:30 p.m. on October 17, 2010, during the peaceful demonstration that we held in the municipality of Villagarzón. These citizens were brutally beat by ESMAD units and were denied the attention of emergency medical responders that the hospital of Villagarzón had volunteered. The ambulance sent for these community members was not even allowed to enter the military facilities. The military finally allowed the victims to receive medical attention at 11:30 at night after pressure from humanitarian organizations.
The community members, Traditional Authorities and Wise Elders of the Nasa Community, forcibly and illegally detained by the State, are:
1. Lisandro Campo Cuetia, identity card No 6.660.364, who suffered profound wounds to the skull, legs, abdomen and back due to a brutal beating by the ESMAD units. While receiving medical attention, the military man in charge gave him twelve stitches, and Lisandro had a high fever and could not move. Our Elder is 62-years-old.
2. Juan Carlos Cunda Dizu, identity card No 15572014, was beaten on his legs by ESMAD units and has still not received medical attention. The ESMAD members continued beating and kicking him even when he was handcuffed.
3. Edwin Achipis, Nasa youth of 19-years-old and governor of the Nasa Kwimate Kwesx indigenous chapter of the municipality of Orito, under the jurisdiction of the San Juan Vides police station. Our Ancestral Authority was detained by a member of the National Army who later turned him over to ESMAD units who in turn brutally beat him and broke his skull using Edwin’s own ceremonial staff that he always carries with him as indigenous governor.
4. Jose Olimpo Canas Secue, identity card No 97.425 762, from the El Descanso reservation, is a Traditional Authority and was Governor of this Chapter in 2004, and is also Ex-Advisor to the Nasa community. Our Traditional Authority was beaten on his legs.
5. Mario Campo Toconas, identity card No 6.306.122, Elder of the Nasa community, 53-years-old, who has a broken little finger on his right hand that was put into a splint by first aid workers, and an antibiotic ointment was applied. Mario had a high fever and severe head pain, but did not received medical attention until today.
6. Daniel Baicue, Nasa indigenous, approximately 38-years-old. Daniel was hospitalized in the second rate hospital in Puerto Asís because he was brutally beaten and tortured by members of ESMAD. This gravely wounded community member has eight children and his wife is pregnant.
The community members were detained when they were taking part in a peaceful demonstration on the road near the Costayaco 10 petroleum well. Several peaceful demonstrations have been held since April, 2010 in Villagarzón. These detained community members are in the custody of Quartermaster General Daniel Gil of ESMAD, of the Antinarcotics Base of Villagarzón, which is situated in front of the Costayaco 10 well. The Security Council held in Mocoa today decided to free the detained indigenous community members, but Emerald Energy, the petroleum company of which the indigenous community was making their demands, canceled the decision. Emerald Energy opposed the freeing of the community members, Traditional Authorities and Wise Elders of the Nasa Community.
In 2006 the communities between Puerto Vega and Tateye held a peaceful demonstration that concluded in an accord with the government to work out all of the problems with the human rights, social investment, governmental prerogatives and Prior Consult claims that the communities had made, but for which they had never received favorable concrete actions. This situation compelled the indigenous, Afro-Colombian and peasant communities of Corredor Fronterizo to once again organize themselves in October, 2009 to demand the recognition for their individual and collective rights. This demonstration once again prompted the signing of an accord with the national government, but the results desired by ACSOMAYO, the Indigenous Communities and other organizations who also have the right to demonstrate in the region of the Putumayo River (Puerto Lequizamo) and in the municipalities of Orito and Villagarzón, have not been produced. United through this process of incomplete promises on the part of the government, the social and public organizations of the department have, through their own efforts, come to construct an alternative regional proposal that they have called the Integral Peasant, Indigenous and Afro-Colombian Development Plan of the Putumayo. This proposal has been worked on in the office of the Departmental Committee of Social, Peasant and Afro-Colombian Organizations of the Putumayo. The proposal has been presented to State institutions at the local, regional, national and international levels, and has shed light upon the fact that initial accords have not been carried out due to the grave crisis affecting us that revolves around this State’s inability to govern. The indigenous, Afro-Colombian and peasant communities of the Puerto Vega-Teteye sector believe that this crisis is a political mechanism used by political directors of traditional parties to impede the development process proposed by our communities, and we believe that this crisis contributes to the increase of corruption and bureaucracy that has systematically caused destitution and the erosion of our organizations and communities.
We demand, as an organized community, that the accords agreed upon by the departmental government and the representatives of the communities and organizations are carried out in an effective manner, and we call upon the national government to URGENTLY create a space where we can share our alternative development proposal that we have been constructing for the last ten years in the Departmental Committee’s office. This proposal seeks to provide a promising future that prioritizes the quality of life of each and every one of the individuals in the Putumayo region.
We hold The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, Commander in Chief of the Public Forces, responsible for the physical well being of the participants of this peaceful demonstration.
We make an urgent call to the Ombudsman’s office to address this situation and to make the Armed Forces respect the fundamental right to freedom, life and physical and moral
well being of our companions, traditional authorities, and the Elders of the Nasa people, who have been detained in an illegal manner through use of unacceptable force by the State. We call upon the Inspector General’s office and the Attorney General’s office to investigate the abuses committed by the Armed Forces and punish those responsible.
We call upon the Putumayo Community and its organizations to come together to insist that the national government respect our fundamental constitutional rights and that they listen to our approach and proposal. We are sovereign owners of our territory and of our destinies even though we must put our lives and integrity at risk in the interest of carrying out our peaceful demonstrations. We will be organized in a massive and indefinite manner to attract the attention of the national government so that we will no longer be stripped of our resources, and we call upon the International Human Rights Organizations that are focused on this issue to seek the completions of AUTO 004 of 2009, the International Right to Human Rights and the International Agreements and Treaties relating to human rights and international human rights.
Permanent Assembly of Indigenous, Afro-Colombian and Peasant Communities of the Puerto Vega-Teteye Corridor and Peasant Communities of the Putumayo River Region of the Rural Neighborhood of La Perla Amazonica
“Always together and always against the current”
-Against the Current Corporation on Human Rights
This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.
***CSN invites you to write to send the following message to Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzón:
Dear Vice President Garzón,
Under what authority did Emerald Energy, located in Mocoa, Putumayo, order the Colombian Police to keep citizens detained after they were set free by the local Security Council on October 18? How is it possible for a multinational corporation to give orders to the army to detain citizens? Do communities not have a constitutional right to protest damage caused by oil development in their area? Has there been a change to the Constitution that denies communities the right to protest the damages caused by oil exploitation in their area?
Thank you for your prompt consideration of these inquiries.
Contact info:Vice President Angelino Garzón: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send copies of your message to the following:
-Emerald Energy’s headquarters in London: email@example.com
-Minister of Mining Carlos Rodado: firstname.lastname@example.org