( Translated by Cecilia Zarate – Laun, Edited by John I. Laun)
Letter to the President of the Republic
(Written by the Commission on Communications)
June 2, 2016
President Juan Manuel Santos
While spokespersons from the MINGA Nacional, Agraria, Campesina, Etnica and Popular were making an evaluation of the very serious violations of rights during the Minga and the lack of guarantees for the mobilization and for the call to President Santos for negotiations, the indigenous authorities of Northern Cauca – ACIN, reported the assassination by the Army of two members of the indigenous guard.
The two who were just assassinated, besides the Embera guard Willington Quibarecama, who offered his life defending the rights not only of indigenous peoples but of everyone, were Gersain Ceron and Marco Aurelio Diaz. Gersain Giron, 30 years old and a member of the Las Mercedes Reservation from the town of Caldono, received a gunshot that went directly to his chest. Although he received medical attention by the local health providers, he died immediately.
The other one, Marco Aurelio Diaz from the reservation La Aguada, died from the impact of two shots, while he was being taken to the hospital in Santander de Quilichao.
These attacks happened at 10:19 in the morning on the Pan American Road that connects Santander with Popayan, exactly in the area of Monterilla, between La Agustina and El Pital in northern Cauca. It was precisely on one of the four places selected for this mobilization and resistance of the Minga in northern Cauca, where more than 5,000 participants had gathered.This is one of the 38 places where the indigenous Nations of the ONIC, walk the word in all the territory of Colombia.
On the 4th day of this mobilization, the members of ACIN have been attacked from 9 in the morning by the ESMAD and the Army, with teargas and non-conventional arms.
In this first report, we inform about 4 seriously injured persons, who are Evelio Hurtado, 38 years old from the Pioya reservation; Ovidio Escue Dagua from the Huellas Caloto reservation; Oscar Gueio from Muchique los Tiques; and Rafael Pazu from the Jambalo reservation. Due to the seriousness of their injuries, they were taken to the Cauca hospital network. We expect more injuries from the military operation ordered by the National Government in order to prevent the Minga.
The indigenous people report 135 injured; two indigenous charges with crimes, among them a woman, 5 persons illegally detained, and one person disappeared
The peoples and indigenous organizations from ONIC consider that a government which is involved in a peace process should not and cannot give warlike treatment to the indigenous people participating in the Minga, because they are collective subjects with special protection and defenders of peace.
Another demand at the press conference is the permanent drone overflight in places where our brothers and sisters are located and who receive pamphlets distributed massively calling to demobilize, an attitude that obviously stigmatizes and victimizes the Minga, putting all of us at risk.
Likewise, we denounce if this is really a commitment from the national government, given the declarations by Minister Iragorri, expressing his concern about the Minga being infiltrated by the ELN. Both the international community and the national government must know that we the indigenous peoples are autonomous in our decisions and this is the reason we can resist more than a month on the streets without anyone giving us orders.
Therefore we emphasize the following demands:
1. That we be provided with guarantees for mobilizing, and for an end of the attacks
and indiscriminate repression against the indigenous communities in the Minga.
2. We call for a negotiating meeting headed by the President and all his ministers with the goal of accomplishing all of the agreements that have been promised to the different social groups, especially the indigenous groups.
3. To stop the campaign by the government of stigmatizing by the Minister of Agriculture in declaring that the MINGA is invaded by the ELN.
4. That the brothers and sisters detained during the MINGA be freed.
NATIONAL AUTHORITY OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE ONIC
We keep our authority sticks, in a Minga of resistance for life and the defense of our territories.
Luis Fernando Arias Arias, Council Member, ONIC and LUZEIDA JULICUE, Council Member, ACIN