(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
Once again our Peace Community is clamoring to the country and to the world, once again making a record of the horrifying events that prove a continuous effort to annihilate our way of life in the Peace Community. The facts are as follows:
• On Tuesday, July 14, 2015, military troops made their way violently into the Luis Eduardo Guerra Peace Village, a settlement of our Peace Community, located in the town of Mulatos.
• On Thursday, July 16, 2015, around 8:55 a.m., a member of our Peace Community’s Internal Council received a call from cell phone number 3148729037. The caller did not identify himself, but asked for the home address of Germán Graciano, a member and the Legal Representative of our Peace Community. When the request was denied, the caller hung up.
• On Friday, July 17, 2015, members of our Peace Community’s Internal Council were told about a program that is being put forward by several government agencies and some people who live in the District. Their goal is to get hold of several pieces of land belonging to the Peace Community. Among them are the well-known Aníbal Jiménez Education Center, located in the urban part of San José, a building that was built by the Peace Community, and also the Peace Community’s settlement in the Luis Eduardo Guerra Peace Village, where the horrible massacre of February 21, 2005 was carried out. These efforts are part of a paramilitary project that is being carried out in the District. The Police, the Armed Forces, and the Inspector of Police at that time were complicit in the illegal occupation of the Community storehouse in 2009 by local people, supported by government agencies. Even today that building has not been returned to the Peace Community.
• On Monday, July 20, 2015, during the night, a resident of the Emberá Katio indigenous reservation at Las Playas in the San José District was found dead in strange circumstances.
• On Thursday, July 23, 2015, students at the school in the urban part of San José decided to go on strike until the military base located nearby is removed. In spite of the fact that the students are demanding their rights established in the Constitution and laws and are protected by international treaties that are in effect in Colombia, the 17th Brigade has stated that this is an action coordinated by the 5th Front of the FARC. These assertions and accusations are irresponsible, coming from those who are representing the national government in opposition to the innocent civilian population, who are only asking that they not be involved in the war.
• On Friday, July 24, 2015, at 6:00 am and until 6:00 p.m., soldiers from the 17th Brigade invaded our settlement at San Josecito and illegally searched it. They brought war tanks into our living spaces in spite of our complaints to the highest levels of the government. The unit was commanded by one RUIZ and one OLIVEROS, according to the name tags on their uniforms. They threatened to do whatever they felt like doing; they said that their law was the law of their commanders and nobody else, excluding the Constitution and the laws. Several soldiers asked members of our Community for Germán Graciano, insisting that they had a plan working against him and that we would soon see the results. GERMAN GRACIANO is a member and Legal Representative of our Peace Community. He is the one that the Colonel and the Commander of the Army’s 17th Brigade during the last few weeks have been accusing of being a guerrilla of the 5th Front of the FARC.
* On that same Friday, July 24, 2015, in the morning, the Commander of the Army’s 17th Brigade, Colonel Germán Rójas Díaz, was on the radio accusing several residents of San José of being responsible for the student strike and of collaborating with the guerrillas, and saying that they ought to be behind bars. He also once again attacked our Peace Community, stating that the Community had covered up the death of a child last June.
How long, how long will the national government support officials who don’t care a bit about the Constitution and the laws that on an earlier day they swore to uphold? Will the national government continue this 18-year-long savage and aggressive hunting party against our Peace Community, trampling the court orders and provisional remedies ordered by the Inter-American Commission and Court for Human Rights?
We are thankful for the national and international solidarity that have allowed the military units to leave our living spaces and those of the families belonging to the Peace Community in the settlement of San Josecito.
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
July 24, 2015