(Translated by David Van Den Brandt, a CSN Volunteer Translator, Edited by Jack Laun)
Source : MOVICE
The National Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE) condemns the attempt against the traveling caravan of Aida Avella Esquivel, Presidential candidate of the Patriotic Union; Lilia Solano, candidate for the Andean Parliament of the Patriotic Union; and Carlos Lozano, candidate for the Senate of the Green Alianza (Alianza Verde). The attempt on their lives happened between Puerto Jordan and Pueblo Seco in Arauca.
We appreciate the public declaration of President Juan Manuel Santos, in which he asked for protection for Aida Avella. However, we emphasize that this attempt occurred amid a series of threats against national leaders and regional activists of the Patriotic Union, many of whom have not seen the implementation of the protection measures requested of the National Unit of Protection (Unidad Nacional de Proteccion).
We call upon the national government and state authorities to assure the implementation of the requested protection measures and the carrying out of a serious investigation of the events that accompanied the attempt. We do this with the goal of guaranteeing the right to democratic participation in the country and that the violations that in the past led to the genocide of the Patriotic Union not be repeated.
On February 13, 2014, at approximately 1:40 a.m. persons armed with long guns, traveling on motorcycles, shot at the caravan in which Aida Avella Esquivel, Lilia Solano, and Carlos Lozano were traveling. Fourteen bullet holes were left in one of their vehicles. This attempt took place between Puerto Jordan and Pueblo Seco, in Arauca, in the proximity of a military base.
–Aida Avella lived in exile for 17 years and six months after being attacked by a rocket that was launched at her car on May 17, 1996, while she was traveling on the Autopista del Norte to her office in the Bogota City Council.
–On January 21, 2014, in the morning hours, a pamphlet was left in the office of the “Colombia Vive” organization, signed by the Aguilas Negras de Colombia, Guerreros de Yari (Black Eagles) paramilitary organization. It made death threats and gave a 48-hour ultimatum to leave the region, directed at several social leaders from Caqueta, among them Herson Lugo Saldana, president of the “Caguan Vive” (Caguan Lives) organization; Oscar Enrique Prieto, technical coordinator of projects for the organization; and Domingo Emilio Perez Cuellar, municipal mayor who has been part of “Caguan Vive”.
–On February 2, 2014, a threat was sent by email from the paramilitary organization Los Rastrojos Urban Commandos to leaders of the Patriotic Union, the Marcha Patriotica, and the Agrarian and Popular Board for Dialogue and Understanding (MIA), including Aida Avella, Presidential Candidate of the Patriotic Union.
–On February 4, 2014 a written threat was received electronically, signed by the Aguilas Negras, in which they mentioned Chamber of Representatives Member Ivan Cepeda Castro, the founder of our movement. They also mentioned Alirio Uribe, the previous president of the Jose Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Cooperative, who is also a candidate for the Chamber of Representatives of the Polo Democratico Party. Also mentioned was Aida Avella, the Presidential candidate of the Patriotic Union, and Gustavo Petro, the mayor of Bogota. The threat also extended to MOVICE and its members.
–On February 5, 2014 at 11:39 a.m., a pamphlet arrived from the email account email@example.com to the inbox of Martin Sandoval, the general secretary of the Arauca Department Patriotic Union Board. It was from the supposed Aguilas Negras and directed to a group of popular organizations in northwest Colombia, among them Martin Sandoval Rozo and Jose Enoc Chica Ramirez, members of the Departmental executive of the Patriotic Union. It was also directed to Maria Ruth Sanabria, the president of the Arauca chapter of the CPDH (Comite Permanente de Derechos Humanos, Permanent Committee of Human Rights), a member organization of MOVICE. The threat also named social organizations in several regions of the country, among them Caguan Vive, Ascamcat, ACVC, Aheraminga, Sintrapaz, Cahucopana, the Araucan Peasant Association (ACA), and the Jose Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective (Ccajar), in addition to naming Alirio Uribe.
–In less than two years, 30 members of the Marcha Patriotica, a social and political movement of democratic opposition, have been assassinated. And several leaders of both the Marcha Patriotica and the Union Patriotica are currently detained unjustly, among them Huber Ballesteros, Frsancisco Toloza, Wilmar Madronero, and David Ravelo Crespo.
–During the 1980’s and 90s the Patriotic Union suffered the assassination, by regular and irregular forces, of more than 5,000 of its members, including two Presidential candidates.
–That the appropriate authorities carry out a serious and exhaustive investigation of the events to establish who is responsible for the assassination attempt and threats directed against members of the Patriotic Union and the democratic opposition in the country.
–That state authorities, especially the National Unit of Protection, implement urgently the protection measures requested by the members of the Patriotic Union, for the purpose of protecting the lives of those who have been threatened.
–That the national and international communities declare themselves in favor of an efficient investigation and the implementation of the requested protection measures.
National Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE)
February 27, 2014
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