A Letter from a Woman Political Prisoner

Bucaramanga, November 19, 2010.

(Translated by Leo Torres, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN’s Volunteer Editor.)

Dear brothers and sisters … 
It is very difficult to express in words what I feel right now, first I give a huge thanks to everyone for your support, your company, and your screams, which were heard by the minute in every corner demanding the release of me and Adolfo Andrés, the baby to be born, who accompanied me on this journey. I really feel that thanks are not enough and I am convinced that the prosecutor choose the decision to suspend the measure thanks to you all.

I want publicly to thank each of the social organizations and defenders of human rights at the international, national and local levels. They have been monitoring our situation and have raised their voice to protest this nonsense. I am grateful to those who were at front of the SIJIN’s place at the time of capture, then went to the clinic and then to the District Attorney’s Office while I was being questioned. Thanks to those who sent messages of solidarity, press releases, and notes to the government, and thanks to those who put pressure on prosecutors and national government to give an immediate solution to our situation.

I cannot finish only giving thanks to you; all of you who know me know that it would be impossible for me. I should share some impressions and concerns that arise from this experience. Less than a month ago I was as a delegate of the Coordinating Committee (Colombia-Europe-United States) to the assembly of OIDHACO (The International Office for Human Right- Action on Colombia). I am grateful for all the efforts and solidarity during those days. In the meetings with parliamentarians and delegates at European Union, I repeated, many times, sometimes endlessly, the worry of the Foundation and I, in particular, of the possibility of a massive prosecution against leaders and activists of social and human rights organizations. Now I think that what happened with me on Tuesday and with my companion of the CPDH in Nariño, to whom I send my sympathy, confirms that in this government the prosecution of the protesters and the demand that we make every day for better conditions than filling the prisons with innocent people.

The hardest part of this situation is to see that they are doing silly and stupid set-ups, pardon for the word, I could not find a better word, but looking at my process with two witnesses, as exactly two drops of water, telling lies in a 10 page declaration, lies that are fully accepted by the prosecution without stopping to make a logical analysis of the things exposed by informants and members of the SIJIN. Colleagues, the previous situation is what we should discuss with a magnifying glass and especially to define the actions of this important social movement, because we cannot let ourselves be deterred or defeated by injustice, we must continue to say that this government, in its first 100 days, has continued the policy of destruction, annihilation and silencing of social movements. They can build more prisons, make more set-ups with false witnesses, but we must be united, keeping our head high telling them that we will continue our struggle, which is completely legal and legitimate.

On our short stay in the women’s prison, I must say I learned a lot. I confirmed that the problem is a systemic problem. Several times what I saw there makes my heart bleed. The prison population, at least in this facility, is aged between 18 and 24 years of age. The society and the Colombian government have denied these girls any other way of living, ending up in those detention facilities without a way out of this situation. I remember Mrs. Pina, a lady 63 years old without family or mourners, accused of a crime that bothers and hurts. Mrs. Pina has mobility problems, and a psychiatric problem added to her age, and for me is hard to understand how she continues [being held] in a detention center. The government of the City of Bucaramanga has been indolent to that situation. During the reopening of the discussion about privatization we must demand change. The system is corrupt. I would like to make an invitation to all who were and are with me right now and beg you to take a look to the prisons and prisoners. I became convinced that the detention facilities have opened its doors for all regular Colombians.

Closing this interview, dear colleagues I would like to repudiate the set-ups against me by SIJIN. If the government continues providing benefits to informants and these intelligence centers, many innocent people will be ending in prison. Yesterday I complained to the director of DAS-Bucaramanga, and today I affirm my annoyance at this institution, especially at Mr. Fabian Leonardo Fuentes, who 20 minutes after my arrest, withdrew the assigned protection scheme without authority to do so, and forced us to be without protection until 6:30 afternoon, at which time I went to DAS to require them to return the protection certified by the Ministry of the Interior. 
Comrades, comrades … thank you on behalf of me, my baby (Andrés Adolfo) and all my family for your support, we have gained a step forward in this battle, but we have to continue fighting against this absurd process, and we must be united against what will come in the next four years under President Santos. 
A fraternal embrace, 
Carolina Rubio Esguerra 
Santander FCSPP Sectional Officer 
Coordinator node CCEEU Northeast 
Member of MOVICE 

This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited. 

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