CORPORACION CLARETIANA NPB
Claretiana Group NPB (Claretiana is a religious order following the tradition of St. Antonio María Claret)
“Servicing Life and Peace”
Bogotá , March 7, 2016
(Translated by Haley Olig, CSN Volunteer Translator)
URGENT ACTION No. 1
THREATS AGAINST 13 PEOPLE
CAMPESINOS (peasants) AND COMMUNITY LEADERS OF THE MOROCOTE REGION BETWEEN NUNCHÍA (CASANARE) Y PAYA (BOYACÁ)
“For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life. But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.” – Psalms 31:13-14
The Claretiana Corporation Norman Pérez Bello and the Association of Campesinos: ASOCAMPROVLIBERTAD, denounce before the national and international community and the national authorities the threats against leaders and humble peasants of the village Niscota in the Morcote municipality (Paya Coyacá – Casanare); and urge organizations in power to take immediate actions to avoid harm to the safety of the threatened individuals.
- On Tuesday, March 1st, 2016, pamphlets were found on the path from the Niscota school to Morcote. These pamphlets contained the same text: a death threat from a group calling itself “the Black Eagles Movement of Social Cleansing of the Casanare PIEDEMONTE (…)” and declared a group of people to be a military target, accusing them of being “old militia criminals of the FARC that operate in the municipality of Paya Boyacá.” Those convicted in the document are: José María Largo, who is said to lead the rest; Benavides Cataño, Marina Urbano, Ilson Cataño, Julio Rojas (who is mentioned twice, with different aliases), John Edilson Largo, Gonzalo and Juan Carlos Alarcón, Gabriel Cataño, Arnobio Largo, Bismark Largo, and two people identified with the aliases Roncho and Freddy. All are humble native people from this region, who live in a situation of institutional neglect.
- The pamphlet was signed with the name Black Hawk, Commander of Los Caricares, of the Black Eagles.
II. STATUS OF PEOPLE THREATENED AND BRANDED GUERRILLAS
- It should be noted that José María Largo (threatened) has been handicapped for more than two years, when he fell from a horse. He uses a wheelchair and cannot leave his home because of the terrain.
- Benavides Cataño: Lives in Niscota, and has two daughters with disabilities.
- The supposed leaders (according to the pamphlet), alias Roncho y Fredy: They are not in the region. They left approximately 16 years ago, according to people who know the men.
III. ANTECEDENTS AND CONTEXT
The threatening document – which we denounce here – contains language similar to others that have appeared in other parts of the country, which leads us to presume that there is a coordination between those who produced the pamphlets, though they are located in different regions.
The village of Niscota has been opposed to the entrance of oil companies that damage natural diversity and the culture of the population. 1
In addition to the historical repression and exclusion that the region’s inhabitants have suffered, they now must endure entrance of oil companies over the last 30 years; the deployment of official military forces that have committed violations of human rights and international humanitarian law2; and the threat of environmental degradation of incalculable proportions.
They have received information in which they denounce the presence of armed men apparently from the titled “Liberators of Vichada” and “Bloque Meta (one of Colombia’s states)” in the indigenous Caño Mochuelo Reserve.
The November 13, 2015, assassination of Daniel Abril, leader of human rights, environmentalist, and person of great influence in the eastern plains.
In December 2012 three people were assassinated in the surrounding villages, among them the leader of ASOCAMROVLIBERTAD, Señora Rosa Bernal.
In January of 2007 more than 15 humble people from the region’s villages were arbitrarily detained by State authorities and accused of belonging to the guerrilla groups.
The extrajudicial execution of 4 people from the local villages between the years of 2006 and 2009 terrorized the communities of the region.
The regional leaders, accompanied by the Claretiana Mission3 through the Claretiana Corporation have initiated the process of Organización Campesina, while working through the recovery of ancestral and indigenous identity of the region, to confront manipulation, ridicule, and violation of human, social, economic, cultural, and environmental rights, and international humanitarian law. There are constant threats against, and torture of campesinos by the 16th Brigade. They settle in farms and villages in the region for months at a time, intimidating residents and violating their human rights. 4
Additionally, guerrillas from the ELN and the FARC have made themselves present in the area and use it as a mobility corridor.
Though offices have asked for objective environmental consultations and studies, responses have been disappointing. The Ministry of Mining and Energy, the Ministry of Environment, and other institutions insist that the mandated prior consultations are not necessary because, according to the institutions, ancestral and territorial lands do not exist in the region. Furthermore, on a daily basis they direct trucks from CORPOORINOQUÍA and other oil companies, through the region. This enables the companies to prepare the land for 3D delineation of the Niscota Block through either blatantly disregarding local communities, or doctored consultation reports.
The National Army is camped in the town, and has put down roots through a series of strategic campaigns in the community, which include: a tactic known as “captivating women”; conscripting informants; endangering the civil population; and generally violating International Humanitarian Law.
- To the authorities: Defensoría del Pueblo (People’s Defender’s Office), Procuraduría (the government’s internal affairs agency responsible for investigating reports of crimes by government employees), Fiscalía (Attorney General’s office), Ministry of the Interior; governing bodies of Casanare and of Boyacá, guarantee the life and safety of the individuals named and threatened in the aforementioned threatening pamphlet.
- To the public, spread this information at the national and international levels.
- To the social and human rights organizations, denounce these actions, and be ready to mobilize and demand respect for the lives of the residents of these communities.
- To the armed actors, respect human rights and international humanitarian law.
- To the armed actors, respect the civil population and do not engage in actions that put them in danger.
V. WE LEAVE PROOF FOR THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DANGER
We have been warning about the serious situation of threats, attacks, and violence against: individuals; social, indigenous, human rights, and environmental groups; and leaders in the Orinoquía Region. But the situation continues to deteriorate. This is evidenced by the facts, which show no results against groups like the “Águilas Negras,” and the Fiscalía’s inability to yield results.
Bogotá D.C. 7 de marzo de 2016.
Corporación Claretiana NPB.
“Servicing Live and Peace”
Comunicaciones: Bogotá Colombia, Carrera 15 No. 10 -41 piso 3.
1,/sup> Note: In rural and indigenous communities in the region, people are usually known by their nicknames; sometimes people are known more widely as this nickname than they are by their official name, registration or baptism. It is also a practice of the authorities and paramilitary groups stigmatize citizens who are known by nicknames (as if the act of having a nickname was a crime in and of itself), and criminalize and condemn the nicknamed individuals.
2 Amnesty International affirmed in their document AI: AMR 23/0400/1997, “various denunciations and complaints have arisen against the oil company, through the television program World in Action broadcast in the United Kingdom, which affirmed that BP had signed a contract with Defence Systems Limited (a private British security corporation), to provide counterinsurgency training programs. According to the report, the training courses included: management of lethal weapons; sniper shooting; and hand-to-hand combat with a police unit responsible for protecting BP personnel and facilities in the Casanare region.
3 Regional leadership finds inspiration in the fact that since the start (1984 onwards) faith has accompanied the creation of community boards; teams of doctors, teachers, and schools; agroecology projects; the repeated prevention of forced displacement; and reporting of violations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law. In the last five years they have insisted on the organization of male and female campesinos so they can represent themselves and demand their basic rights.
4 The Claretiano Corporation denounces the death of young Morcote, http://prensarural.org/spip/spip.php?auteur1070. In addition: complaints to the Vice-President, Attorney General, Ombudsman, have been filed for more than 50 cases of threats, intimidation, assaults, torture and other attacks on life.
The Águilas Negras Movement of Social Cleansing of the Piedemonte of Casanare communicate to the public:
We declare to be a military target group: a group of former Farc criminals who are operating in the municipality of Paya Boyacá within the limits of Casanare. These individuals are led by José María Largo alias chepe, and engage in theft of livestock and motorcycles, blackmail, and extortion. For nearly 20 years these subjects have been supported by the terrorists GRIZMALDO CATAÑO alias Roncho, and FABIO CATAÑO alias Freddy, who belong to the Farc.
The individuals who will feel the thunder of our arms are:
José María Largo alias chepe, Benavides Cataño alias Venado, Marina urbano alias La reina lover de alias Freddy; Ilson Cataño alias Pilincho; Julió Rojas alias El Biejo; Julio Rohas alias Juliero; John Edilson Largo alias Garza, Gonzalo and Juan Carlos Alarcón alias Los Mechudas; Gabriel Cataño alias Comandante Pipo; Arnobio Largo, Bismark Largo, and of course the two previously mentioned individuals who go by the aliases of Roncho and Freddy.
As the aforementioned delinquents are petty thieves, they will be hanged and killed like dogs, because they are not worth the cost of a bullet.
Published and fulfilled,
Responsible Commander BLACK HAWK, commander of Los Caricares