CLARIFICATION ON CSN STATEMENT ON THE MURDER OF GILMER GENERO GARCIA:
In our August 12, 2015 statement on the murder of Afro-Colombian leader Gilmer Genero Garcia we did not allege that the FARC guerrillas were responsible for the murder of this well-known community leader in the municipality of Tumaco. But we did say that if the FARC was responsible for his murder, then it seemed to us that Genero’s murder violated the terms of the ceasefire agreed upon in the talks between the FARC and the Colombian Government in Havana. Today we learn that the FARC through the spokesman alias Pablo Catatumbo have accepted responsibility for Genero’s murder. We believe it is now essential for the FARC leadership to recognize that the murders of civilian community leaders such as Genero constitute a violation of the terms of the cease fire to which the FARC have agreed and that they should promise not to threaten or carry out violent acts against community leaders in the Colombian countryside.
We are also concerned about reports of widespread threats against civilians in the municipality of Tumaco. Some of these are being attributed to the FARC by residents of the area. In addition, we have received reports of substantial drug-trafficking being carried out in Tumaco. We encourage the participants in the peace discussions in Havana to recognize that Tumaco, or to name another place where violence and threats against residents are common—Buenaventura, are part of Colombia and residents there must receive the same protections agreed upon for residents in other parts of the country. To be effective the agreement in Havana must not be applied in a piecemeal manner.
John I. Laun, President of the Colombia Support Network, on behalf of its Board
Madison, Wisconsin, August 24, 2015