(Translated by David Van Den Brandt, a CSN Volunteer Translator)
San Vicente del Caguán, April 7, 2014
Paramilitaries continue to threaten social leaders and organizations in Caquetá – Colombia
As the Traditional Authorities of Indigenous Peoples from the Municipality of San Vicente del Caguán in the province of Caquetá, we denounce, before public opinion, and before institutions and NGOs defending human rights at the national and international level, the very serious threats which have been continually repeated throughout 2014. Thus far this year there have already been five (5) pamphlets distributed against social leaders and organizations from the province of Caquetá, in southern Colombia, and especially those in the municipality of San Vicente del Caguán. Here, the pamphlets come from the Black Eagles (Águilas Negras), Warrior Blocs of Yari and Andaki, of Caquetá.
1. Today, April 7, 2014, we learned again about a pamphlet that circulated on the internet in which serious threats are newly professed against the physical and psychological well-being of our indigenous comrade Luz Mery Panche. They offer 15 million pesos for her murder.
1. On January 21, 2014, the paramilitary group Águilas Negras Guerreros del Yarí, through a pamphlet, threatened our director, Luz Mery Panche. In the pamphlet they declare her a military objective, along with other peasant leaders from San Vicente del Caguán. They demand that they leave the territory within 48 hours.
2. Luz Mery Panche made the corresponding criminal complaint to the District Attorney of San Vicente del Caguán, so that the investigation of the threat could move forward. Up until now, the investigation has not had a single result, given that the first pamphlet of the Aguilas Negras paramilitary group was left inside the police security area.
3. The commander in charge of the Caquetá Police stated irresponsibly to the media that Luz Mery and the others were falsely inventing the threats against them, a fact that increases the risk for the threatened leaders, including our comrade Luz Mery Panche.
4. The National Unit for Protection (La Unidad Nacional de Protección) still has not pronounced itself in favor of protective measures for this case.
5. The municipality of San Vicente del Caguán is a highly militarized municipality. It is seen as a zone of consolidation and as implementing the strategy of New Peace Territories.
6. The National Unit of Protection, the national office of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Interior, and the rest of the institutions capable of guaranteeing the physical and moral well-being of Colombians are aware of the threats that in the past few days the paramilitary group Águilas Negras has made against indigenous peasant leaders from the province of Caquetá, and especially against those who are members of the social and political movement Marcha Política (Political March).
For All of the Above-Mentioned, We Demand:
1. That the appropriate institutions carry out an investigation of the threats that have been directed at Luz Mery Panche.
2. That the Human Rights Unit of the office of the Attorney General take on the investigation of the cases involving these threats.
3. That the National Government promptly provide guarantees for protection for the indigenous and peasant leaders who have been threatened in the province. Also, we demand that the National Government provide these guarantees for our Traditional Authorities, for our leaders, and especially for our comrade Luz Mery Panche, Defender of Human Rights for indigenous peoples.
4. We hold the national government responsible in the person of the Police Chief of Caquetá and the Colonels of the Caquetá Command and the Cazadores Battalion, for any event that puts at risk the physical, moral, and territorial well-being of the indigenous peoples of San Vicente del Caguán, and especially of Luz Mery Panche.
We call upon our national and international sister organizations to support us with solidarity.
Traditional Authorities of the Indigenous Peoples of the Municipality of San Vicente del Caguán
April 7, 2014