(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
February 2, 2018 at 11:36 a.m.
Once more our Peace Community of San José de Apartadó sees the need to turn to the country and the world to make a record of the latest attacks we have suffered from this Paramilitary/Government that more and more is making clear its disposition to commit crimes.
Today our Peace Community is continuing the struggle for the defense of our lives and for respect for the rights of the civilian population in our area. We have already made public many reports of the threats our Community has received. The threats reveal that there are entrenched criminal organizations that are backed by the tolerance, the connivance, the acquiescence, the support and the collaboration of agencies that claim to defend the Constitution and laws, but their actions are entirely to the contrary.
Last December 29 our Community experienced a paramilitary attack in our settlement in San Josecito. The attack had only one purpose, to kill members of our Peace Community. Fortunately they didn’t succeed, thanks to the reaction of our comrades, and we were able to restrain two paramilitaries, immobilize them, and take away their weapons: a 9mm. caliber SIGSAUER pistol, serial no. B252721, two cell phones (Alcatel and Samsung), a razor, and two machetes. These war weapons were stored to later be destroyed in the presence of agencies, organizations, and communications media. That has been done, and the useless remnants were turned over to the Public Defenders Office, headed by the Public Defender himself, Sr. Carlos A. Negret.
Many people and organizations have criticized us for not turning the weapons over to the investigating authorities and to the agency responsible for control. But our Community has experienced, throughout the 20 years of our existence that those weapons sooner or later get back to organized crime to destroy human lives, undoubtedly because of the extreme corruption of the legal system and the proven solidarity between our Armed Forces and the criminal paramilitary organizations.
Because we have very clear moral principles, ever since our beginning, our Community refuses to collaborate with those camouflaged murderous connections that sink their roots in a government that is the enemy of the poor and of their social expressions, even though in their speeches, they profess different principles.
The scandalous decision by the Attorney General’s Office to free immediately the murderers that we were able to tie up and turn over to a delegate of the national government has been censured in numerous declarations by national and international organizations of every nature, including foreign governments and international agencies. It demonstrates very clearly the solidarity of the government with the criminals. They could certainly allege legal formalities, such as our decision not to turn over the weapons that were seized, or not to file formal complaints to the corrupt legal system. Because of that corruption, we decided on a “rupture” with that system many years ago, after we demonstrated its rot in detail, without higher courts providing any solution. All of this shows that justice itself is crying for radical reform, because the system has been able masterfully to combine impunity for the elites in power and their criminal allies with repressive arbitrariness for those who will not accept their oppression.
The grotesque and repulsive declarations by the Governor of Antioquia, Luis Pérez Gutiérrez tried to contradict the reactions to the horrendous paramilitary crime on December 29 with lies and revictimization against our Peace Community. Those declarations have received international repudiation and the most overwhelming moral censure from an infinity of personalities, organizations and national and international institutions, but that censure does not affect him or the national government, since morality is not part of their interests nor in their scale of values.
We report these recent events:
On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. you could hear gunfire at the place known as La Tequera, just five minutes from our settlement at San Josecito. Right away a motorcycle with two well-known paramilitaries left that place and rode down the road that goes past our settlement at San Josecito. A few meters farther down we heard gunfire again, this time really close to our settlement. It was evident that they were trying to make it clear that they are still looking for opportunities to massacre us and that they are still untouchable by the authorities and are counting on their tolerance and acquiescence.
On Wednesday, January 31, 2018, at 12:00 noon our Community carried out the act of destroying the weapons we took from the five paramilitaries that tried to kill our Legal Representative and other members of our Peace Community last December 29, 2017. We had the Public defender Carlos A. Negret and communications media, like El Espectador, Channel One and others with us for the act. By means of that ceremony, the remnants of the weapons that we destroyed were left in the custody of the Public Defender’s Office.
Our Community, as at other times, makes it very clear that we do not want any war and much less weapons of violence that destroy human lives.
The government is responsible for everything that is going on, because it has not wanted to admit that these paramilitary organizations exist in our region and prefer to cover it up and deny it and leave the agencies that collaborate the most without a scratch.
With the destruction of these weapons we want to make an additional report regarding these two paramilitaries that were caught by our Peace Community on December 29 and were turned over to high-ranking government functionaries so that there would be irrefutable evidence of the existence and of the criminal activities of the paramilitaries in our area. They are guilty of having tried to carry out a massacre and if they didn’t manage to do it, it was because they were overpowered. But they were let go immediately, in spite of the authorities at the Army’s 17th Brigade, the Police commanders, the Attorney General’s Technical Investigation Corps and other authorities, even having the Bishop of Apartadó as a witness to the act of turning them over and the signature on the delivery and acceptance document, signed by the Vice Minister of the Interior and the Regional Public Defender, with the massive presence of the Peace Community and of campesinos who are our neighbors. All of this reveals a scandalous connivance of the legal powers with this crime. For that, we express our most radical and massive repudiation.
This government, with the parties that support it, with its degenerate Armed Forces and its corrupt provincial and municipal governments, all are responsible for everything that might happen to the members of our Peace Community and to the campesino population of our physical and social neighborhood.
With our immense gratitude to the multitude of organizations, communities and people in Colombia and in the entire world who have surrounded us with their incorruptible solidarity in these awful moments, we dedicate this most recent report.
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
February 2, 2018