( Translated by John I. Laun, a CSN volunteer translator )
July 31, 2012
The Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado has reported several incidents of threats to the Community which constitute “crimes of the State” in the past few weeks. Calling these actions “Official Paramilitarism, with Political Status”, the Community asks for “National and International Solidarity to urge the Colombian state to end the threats to destroy our community and see that they are not carried out.” The Community’s message describes the following incidents:
1. On Wednesday June 27, 2012 campesinos from 3 nearby settlements, Carabello, El Congo, and Arcua told members of the Peace Community that paramilitary groups have appeared and made serious threats, accusing the campesinos of being guerrillas or collaborators of the guerrillas, stealing the identity documents of some of them. Some paramilitaries who were killed in the confrontation with guerrillas in the zone have been presented by the local media and by some of the government forces as campesinos killed by the guerrillas. They report that these events have caused displacement of several persons from the zone.
2. On July 4, 2012 paramilitaries set fire to the house of Reinaldo Areiza in La Esperanza; Reinaldo had been persecuted by the Seventeenth Brigade of the Army. The Community has in the past denounced Colonel Rojas Dias of the Brigade for persecuting Reinaldo, acts which provide evidence of the coordination between the public forces and the paramilitaries.
3. On July 6, 2012 paramilitaries were seen patrolling tranquilly in the Playa Larga zone where there is a military presence.
4. On July 7, 2012 two paramilitary members came to the urban area of San Jose and asked some campesinos there where Reinaldo Areiza was and confirmed that they had set fire to his home on July 4, thanks to their close cooperation with the public forces.
5. On July 24, 2012 troops disembarked from a helicopter in the settlement of Las Nieves, a part of the San Jose corregimiento, and detained Gildardo Tuberquia, a member of the Internal Council of the Peace Community, and young worker Mauricio David Sanchez, while they were en route from San Josecito to the Peace Village of Mulatos. They insulted them and repeated the threat to exterminate the Peace Community, saying they had coordinated this with the paramilitaries. When the troops were asked their names, they refused to give them.
6. On July 28 and 29 in the morning two hooded persons bearing arms were sighted on the San Jose-Apartado road at a place frequented by paramilitaries.
7. On July 30 at about 9 a.m. two [paramilitaries on a motorcycle arrive at the entrance to San Josecito, and one of them entered the community. When told to leave by members of the Community who approached him, he reacted with insults and threats. About 7 hours later German Graciano, a member of the Internal Council of the Community, received a phone call from telephone number 3146601697 from a person who described himself as a demobilized guerrilla who is now a paramilitary with the alias of Guachipin, who said he worked for the Seventeenth Brigade together with others he mentioned by aliases, including alias Samir, who is being protected by the Seventeenth Brigade. Alias Guachipin threatened German Graciano, his family and the Internal Council of the Peace Community with death, saying that soon they would begin to kill them, that they should obtain coffins, since they were not playing games. The caller said they should remember all of the killings that they had caused during these years, all of which had been coordinated with the Seventeenth Brigade.
On July 31, 2012 at about 1:30 in the afternoon German Graciano received a phone call from the same telephone as the day before. This time a person who identified himself as alias El Guajiro, commander of the Uraba bloc of the AGC (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia). He said he had ordered the phone call of the previous day and he said the Community would have to collaborate with them, as do all of the banana companies, cattlemen and commerce in general in Uraba, who pay taxes to them. If the Community does not, he said it would be totally exterminated, and its leaders and the rest of the Community would be murdered.
The Peace Community then reiterates its thanks to all communities in solidarity with it in Colombia and in the world, who continue supporting their resistance based upon non-negotiable ethical principles, at the same time as the Community confirms its decision to continue defending these principles in spite of the cruelty with which the State always responds.
Report of the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado
July 31, 2012
(This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.)