Translated by: Emily Schmitz, a CSN volunteer translator
Edited by: Michael Hill, a CSN volunteer editor and intern
Twelve people were captured last weekend in operation Sarare, which the current government claims will bring prosperity for all.
In current government attempts to bring prosperity, Colombian justice has once again backed massive detentions of the civil population in the department of Arauca this past weekend. In an operation known as “Sarare,” the national Police and Army captured 12 people in the municipalities of Arauca, Saravena and Cubara, Boyaca; those captured include merchants, local leaders, and civilians.
According to police and the army, the ELN Che Guevara Terrorism Support Network and the Ureil Londoño Campaign of the Farc’s 10th front were dismantled during the operation; those captured include social leaders, union leaders, indigenous persons, civil society, merchants and common civilians.
It should be noted that this department has been declared a rehabilitation and consolidation zone due to large-scale detentions in the area, which have been taking place since the first term of ex-president Alvaro Uribe Velez. The majority of violence and legal persecution has been waged against social leaders, union organizers, indigenous, merchants and civil society. Those who have been charged for their crimes have been acquitted and let free.
The Joel Sierra Foundation for Human Rights views the recent captures as a response by the Colombian State to their campaign: Human rights, justice and life against stigmatization, criminalization and legal persecution, developed by their Eastern Colombian Social Organization Center.
Those captured this past weekend include community leaders YORLEY BALLESTEROS ORTIZ, vice president of the Bocas de Banadia community action board, LUIS ENRIQUE GARAVITO DIAZ, Fiscal of the Pablo Antonio community action board, and merchants BLADIMIR LIZCANO PRIETO and LUZ MILA GIRALDO RODRIGUEZ as well as LAURIN STEFANY BAUTISTA VERA, a local youth in the area.
The case of the GIRALDO family should be highlighted, as they have suffered from two separate cases of false accusations: in 2006 LUZ MILA GIRALDO RODRIGUEZ, her husband JOSE ORLANDO GAMBOA RICO and her son JHON JAIRO GAMBOA GIRALDO were detained and persecuted by the Saravena Circuit Criminal Court for three years, when, upon having their charges dropped, her son JOSE DIOMEDEZ GAMBOA GIRALDO was detained in April of 2011, brought to the Combita Penitentiary Center, under charges of having participated in the homicide of Gloria Constanza Gaona, a Saravena Circuit Criminal Court judge. This humble family, fish merchants in the Saravena Farmer’s Market, has become victims of the justice system, causing them to suffer materially, physically, and mentally.
The Joel Sierra Human Rights Foundation found out that ALEXIS SIERRA JAUREGUI, a local youth, was questioned by the National Army while at work. The youth, upon disappearance, had suffered from torture along with his sister YAMILE SIERRA JAUREGUI and SAUL GUALDRON SIERRA, by the Araucan National Police (SIJIN) in a crime against humanity. Due to this crime Major HECTOR GUTIERREZ ARROYO, who served as commander of this unit during this time, Tennant EBERTO VILLALBA OSORIO and police MAURICIO ARLEY HERRERA LUENGAS, JHON FREDY ESTUPIÑAN, XAVIER ALFREDO VASQUEZ and ERICSON NIÑO JERONIMO, today, were found guilty and detained.
According to the Social Organization of Eastern Colombia, additional recent attacks against the social community in Arauca include the following people, who have also been made victims of false accusations: Isamael Uncasía who regained his freedom only 15 days ago, Verónica Solís, indigenous governmental affairs employee, ethno-educator Álvaro Leal Rolosa, social leader Freddy Díaz, merchant José Domingo Arévalo, youth Demesio Fuillen Nieto and employee at the Saravena mayor´s office Cesar Alírio Torralba Peña.
Families of these victims have denounced irregular and abusive treatment in the capture of these people including the loss of goods and cash, and the lack of public ministry employees at the time of their capture, among other actions which have damaged their dignity.
Date Published: June 13, 2012
(This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.)