CAUCA REGIONAL INDIGENOUS COUNCIL – CRIC
Resolution No. 025, July 8, 1999, Office of Indigenous Affairs, Interior Ministry
web site: www.cric-colombia.org
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
Up to now, both the great and the small revolutionaries have spoken, putting out pamphlets containing threats and lies. The high Commissioner and the subordinate commissioners have spoken; the political parties have spoken; the trade associations have spoken; the committees, the high-level groups and the low level groups, the labor unions have also sent their communications; the workers, the campesinos, the eternal demagogues; everybody has spoken . . . Did we leave anyone out?
If no one is missing, it’s our turn to speak. We are here, without conceit, without hierarchies based on power, money, knowledge or strength. Here we are with bare feet, with a voice that has the flavor of clay, wind, and the smoke of our ghosts. It is a real voice, the most universal, the most original, the oldest there is in our lands, lands that today are dried out by the violence, and by the abuse of power and of money.
It is the voice of the town meetings and the authorities of the villages that are part of the Cauca Regional Indigenous Council-CRIC. We want to express our concern about the ongoing threats and accusations from those for whom we continue to be a target: of the different armed groups, paramilitaries like “Los Rastrojos”, “águilas negras” the Armed Forces, and the FARC (guerrillas) commanders; they all accuse us of collaborating with one or the other and of receiving advantages for that.
Most recently, in a communication dated November 7, a FARC commander declared us to be a military objective. Acting illegally, they not only accused us, they issued an ultimatum saying that in 48 hours there would be attacks on the governors of the Indigenous Councils of Jambaló, Toribio, Tacueyó, San Francisco Tóez, Huellas Caloto and López Adentro, and on members of the Mayor’s staff in Toribio, members of the CRIC Council, and directors of the Cauca Indigenous Association (ACIN is the Spanish acronym.), They also threatened Coordinators and Council members of the organized Life and Education Defenders, Association of Indigenous Councils of North Cauca-ACIN, as well as the legal and communication supports for the Association of Indigenous Councils of Toribio, Tacueyó and the San Francisco Nasa Project, Coordinators of the Indigenous Guard and other former governors in the northern part of Cauca. They are accusing us of working with the government.
We remind you that the indigenous organizations at the national, regional, area, and local levels are exercising our rights as an autonomous territory, with self-government and identity as peoples. It is our obligation to demand that the government comply with its responsibility by means of dialogs and discussions. In addition, we discuss other subjects that affect everybody, such as the free trade agreements, mining, drug trafficking, and agricultural reform, among others. That does not mean that we renounce our principles of struggle and our identity as a people, just as for you, taking part with the national government right now in a dialog open to the country does not mean that you renounce your political beliefs.
Mr. Timoleón, in your communication of May 12, 2013, you assured us that there is no plan to attack our indigenous movement and at that time, we thought such a commitment was possible. Nevertheless, we are surprised and troubled to see that, contrary to what you said, there continue to be life-threatening attacks on our communities, especially since, after murdering two members of our Indigenous Guard who were exercising their autonomy and territorial oversight, you send a communiqué that stated “We will be undertaking our battle plan within 48 hours of your receipt of our message.” Just hours later, the guard JOSE LIBARDO PACHO PETE from the Tóez Indigenous Reservation was murdered very near to Japio, in the Municipality of Caloto. We consider that this murder is your answer to the whole country.
In spite of that, we reiterate the commitment of the indigenous peoples to a political and negotiated resolution of the armed conflict. In spite of the circumstances that we are experiencing now in Cauca, we call for the continuation of the dialogs between you and the national government and we urge you not to get up from the negotiating table.
Our communities and their authorities will continue to protect our territories and our lives. Our original law will bring harmony to those who produce disharmony and threaten the lives of those who live in our territories. Life is the most important thing. Even in the name of justice or revolution it is wrong to attack life. Historically we have defended our lives and our territory through our own systems, without the need to work with the legal system and much less to use armed actors.
Finally, we are convinced that what our country needs today is a bilateral cease-fire, as your organization has stated. The other side has not agreed, and for that reason, from now on the Indigenous Movement reaffirms the enforceability of a bilateral cease-fire, as the true manifestation of willingness to make peace. It would avoid the spilling of more blood in our territories. We intend to continue working for a successful dialog process, for the good of the country.
COUNT ON US FOR PEACE, NEVER FOR WAR
Toribio, November 8, 2014
REGIONAL INDIGENOUS COUNCIL FOR CAUCA-CRIC
ASSOCIATION OF INDIGENOUS COUCILS FOR NORTH CAUCA-ACIN