(Translated by Rich Henighan, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN’s Volunteer Editor.)
We have been on a pilgrimage. First we created the Peace Community, then we went deeper, over the last fourteen years we converted pain into hope and made a real alternative world. We have been on a pilgrimage against the terror of being victims, against death and hatred. On our journey together we have had different experiences of non-violent resistance, which have allowed us to strengthen one another in this growing option for peace and in an alternative world of mutual solidarity.
On this hopeful pilgrimage for life, we have to continue to bear witness to new acts against our Community.
On the 30th of November, 2010 around 1 PM in the village Playa Larga, near the village of La Esparanza, the paramilitaries showed themselves and there declared to one of our members that our Community must leave the area or they would exterminate it. There are more than 200 paramilitaries in the group that keeps up a presence in Playa Larga, Nuevo Antioquia, and el Porvenir.
On November 21, 2010 around 4:30 PM in Batata, Yuly Perez Durango was murdered by paramilitaries. They went to his house and killed him there. They said that anyone who did not submit to their rules would be assassinated. The presence of the paramilitaries in Batata and its environs, including various stretches of the Peace Community, is permanent and brazen, and tolerated by the local lawmen.
On November 15, 2010 at about 6:00 AM in Alto Joaquin hooded men went to the house of the Coordinator of the Peace Community. They asked for him and said they were searching for him. The day before, at about 4:00 PM, men from the army who were found near the house also went and asked for our Coordinator, saying that they had to talk to him.
On November 5, 2010 at about 8:30 AM in Alto Joaquin paramilitary groups originating in Batata said to various participants of the Community that they needed the list of its members, especially of its leaders, in order to control the Community, to know who might be involved in it and who they had to kill.
On November 2, 2010 police officers went seven times to the Bosa neighborhood where they found pilgrims lodged, and told those putting them up that they were harboring guerrillas.
On October 29, 2010 at about 10 AM army personnel in Mulatos Cabeceras detained a youth of thirteen, Deivison Osorno. They beat him several times and told him that he knew where the guerillas were and he had to tell them or they would kill him. After beating him several times over an hour and a half they let him go, but told him if he said anything, there would be consequences.
On Sunday, October 24, 2010, a former paramilitary known as Samir , who is actually under the protection of Army Brigade XXIII, attacked the Community anew through an article published in the journal “The World of Medellin.” In it he vilely accused the Peace Community, its leaders and those associated with it, of being guerilla collaborators.
This accumulation of facts shows the difficulties through which the Community is passing. It also shows the ways of those wanting to exterminate it. Nevertheless, we believe that, for a peaceful pilgrim, life is the most important option. This is our decision and nothing will cause us to give up.
We call for national and international solidarity in the face of these deeds. We know how many people in the world walk with us in solidarity and dignity.
The Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado
December 2, 2010
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