(Translated by David Van Den Brandt, a CSN Volunteer Translator)
Source: ASOGRAS—Campesino Association of Santander
Public Announcement No. 157
Human rights defender and departmental president of ASOGRAS Cesar Tamayo suffers attempt at his life
The Campesino Association of Santander “ASOGRAS” presents a complaint before the national and international community and organizations that defend human rights.
On June 26, 2014, human rights defender and president of the Campesino Association of Santander (ASOGRAS), Cesar Augusto Tamayo, was at a get-together with the family of Eliecer Marquez at the La Robada farm, beginning at 2:30pm. As he returned to and began entering the Palmira farm—property of his family, located on Doradas road in the municipality of Sabana de Torres—he suffered an attempt at his life, orchestrated by an illegal armed group, who shot at him various times. Tamayo communicated immediately with director of the Human Rights Office of the Santander Police, Sargent Amador. After an hour and a half, he was rescued from the area in which he had hidden, a mountain near Palmira farm.
Some time after the attempt at his life, the sound of a motorcycle was heard between La Robada road and the exit to Diamante. It is presumed that this sound was the fleeing of the hired assassins from the area in which they attempted to kill Tamayo.
On the 27th of June, in the morning hours, we went with the Sabana de Torres police—under the command of Sargent Rey, Commander of the Provincial Station—to the sight of the attempted murder. There, we found two shells from a 9mm pistol and a five fifty six (5:56) rifle shell. On the ASOGRAS sign, at the entrance to the farm, the assassins painted a graffiti, seemingly to assert or defend the attempt. It is believed that this is a group of paramilitaries from “the Gaitanistas.” The message is not very clear.
We are to again clarify that in the morning hours of Thursday, June 12, 2014, when opening the Campesino Association of Santander’s email—email@example.com—Tamayo found a message that had come from the email account firstname.lastname@example.org, which warned us of a possible attempt at the life of our comrade Cesar Augusto Tamayo. The following is the content of the email:
“Hello, how are you? I hope you are doing well. The reason for my message is to alert you about what people are preparing behind your back…They say they are your friends but they intend to take your life. Recently—yesterday—I was in a meeting in which two people mentioned your name and your last name. I was surprised since an acquaintance of mine had spoken to me about you and said really good things. So, I want to avoid burdening my conscience with a dead man. While they were talking I recorded their conversation with my cell phone, and I’m attaching it so you can listen to it.”
We are to remember that this past 12th of May, 2014, our comrade Maribel Quintero Garcia, as she arrived to ASOGRAS’ office and opened the door, found a manila folder strewn on the floor, which is presumed to have arrived sometime between Friday, May 9th and Monday, May 12th. In the folder she found a pamphlet that declared several partner members of the Departmental Directive Board of ASOGRAS as military objectives. She also found a bullet from a firearm. Both items are intended to intimidate, constrain, and prevent us from continuing to work in defense of human rights of those both affiliated and not affiliated with our Campesino Association. In the threat, the name Cesar Tamayo is mentioned.
It is made clear that the Campesino Association, in the last few days, continues to be a part of the various activities in defense of human rights and International Humanitarian Law. It is participating in defense of Sogamoso and Lebrija rivers from contamination as well as in the case of Potosí mine in the Café Madrid and Mine sector, which is being exploited as an open-pit mine in Chuspas, in the municipality of Ríonegro, where ASOGRAS has a large presence and at the same time continues denouncing mega-projects (for example, Hidrosogamoso, the contamination of Río Lebrija, the exploitation of of the Potosí mine). In December 2013, we were threatened there (in the Café Madrid sector) by Urabeños.
Also, we continue to denounce the outrage that is Law 1448 of 2011, which continues to leave new victims as a result of the national government’s legal plundering.
Furthermore, ASOGRAS has presented several complaints against ex-mayor and the current mayor for suspected links with AUC and criminal groups, corruption within administrations, and signings of contracts with criminal groups within the Municipality of Sabana de Torres. We have made all these complaints known to the Attorney General of the Nation’s office.
The threatened comrades are defenders of human rights from the Campesino Association of Santander “ASOGRAS.” The received threats, directed at our partner, are because of the activity that occurs within the Association and because of its role as a defender of human rights.
Bucaramanga, June 27, 2014
Jose Yesid Leal Lopez
Departmental Secretary of Human Rights
Departmental Board of ASOGRAS Santander
CLICK LINK for Photos: Cesar Tamayo, Place of Attempt, Graffiti done by assassins, bullet shells from the 9mm pistol and the 5:56 rifle
(This translation may be reprinted as long as its content remains unaltered and the source, author and translator are cited.)