(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN volunteer translator)
The apparent calm of the Christmas holidays evaporated too quickly for our Peace Community in San José de Apartadó. The governmental agencies themselves have been violating our privacy. The armed actors continue their cruelty in our territory, firing their weapons and spreading terror. Once again they are converting our peaceful spaces into combat zones. Soldiers and paramilitaries are going back to their most murderous periods with their commingled activities. Now they don’t just announce massacres and attacks. They are also re-establishing their illegal checkpoints on the road and seeking out our leaders in order to “disappear” them and slaughter them. All of this takes place in the context of the government’s absolute failure to protect us, refusing to control, either directly or indirectly, the criminal activities of government functionaries. Because of that, once again we are making a record, before the country and the world, of their latest assaults:
* On Tuesday, December 31, 2013, around 11:00 a.m., officials of the Public Defender’s Office entered our private settlement in San Josecito, without any authorization whatever, ignoring the large signs that indicate the private character of our place of refuge. They said they came in because they thought that, now that President Santos has begged pardon of our Peace Community, there would no longer be any limitation or restriction on interchange between the Community and government agencies. They were thus refusing to respect the privacy of our place of refuge and protection from agencies that have only known how to attack us, ignore our rights, and fail to carry out their own legal obligations.
* Between Saturday, January 5, and Sunday January 6, 2014, detonations of explosive devices were heard in the towns of Mulatos and La Resbalosa. We fear that there have been deaths or injuries as a result of the explosions.
* On Tuesday, January 7, 2014, around 6:30 p.m., there was fierce combat near La Antena, in the district of San José. The combat was terrifying to the civilian population in the region.
* On Wednesday, January 8, 2014, at about 2:15 p.m., in the place known as Tierra Amarilla, on the road that leads from Apartadó to San José de Apartadó, three paramilitaries dressed in civilian clothes and carrying handguns, halted the bus that was headed for San José. They asked for a person they said they needed, referring to Germán Graciano Posso, the Legal Representative of our Peace Community. He had decided at the last minute not to board the bus leaving the terminal in Apartadó that would have taken him to San José. It should be noted that on that same day, during the morning, the Police had set up a checkpoint just a few minutes from the location.
When they didn’t find Germán among the passengers, the paramilitaries warned them that if they wanted to stay alive, they were not to say anything whatsoever about what had happened. All of this makes clear that their purpose was to “disappear” or murder our Legal Representative, thus carrying out the numerous threats they had made. The place where they were waiting for Germán is a place where there has been a concentrated presence of paramilitaries throughout the last few decades and where their checkpoints have led to the death or forced disappearance of numerous members of our Peace Community.
We are making this record for this country and for the world. Once again we wish to thank the numerous communities and groups in Colombia and in numerous other countries that have questioned Colombian authorities about their complicity in the crimes and vigorously criticized their practices that are absolutely contrary to the basic respect that they owe to every human being. Once again, although we are powerless, we condemn the obstinate criminality of the government that rules over us.
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
January 13, 2014