Message from the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, March 8, 2021
Our Peace Community of San José de Apartadó is obliged to record before the country and the world the new levels of degradation of the actions of the Colombian government against its own people.
On Wednesday, March 3, 2021, we learned of Resolution 298 issued by the National Ombudsman, Sr. CARLOS CAMARGO, in which he designates Sr. JOSÉ AUGUSTO RENDÓN GARCÍA as Regional Ombudsman for the Urabá area. We received this news with amazement andaff
horror, because this man has been involved in dark episodes in connection with land restitution in the Urabá region. He has acted as a representative of perpetrators and business owners who have taken ownership of land belonging to campesinos. We do not hesitate to characterize this appointment as a serious affront to the victims, given that his record does not qualify him in any manner to defend the rights of victims, which is the constitutional and essential role of an “ombudsman”. On the contrary, it shows that he can trample the rights of victims and expose them to new violence.
The appointment in question is particularly serious for our Peace Community, since in Order 693 of the Constitutional Court, issued December 12, 2017, the Court assigns numerous and delicate tasks to the Ombudsman’s Office in relation to the orders that the Court had issued in Order 164 in 2012. These Orders were in implementation of Decision T-1025/07 by that same Court, and the Ombudsman’s Office has failed to carry them out.
Nevertheless, in Article 12 of the operative part of Order 693/17, the Court decides:
“Delegate to the Ombudsman’s Office the follow-up of the Orders issued in this ruling and, in general, of the Orders issued in Decision T-1025 in 2007 that are still pending compliance, in accordance with the provisions of the previous paragraphs, regarding which the Constitutional Court will retain jurisdiction for the purpose of verification. For those purposes, the Ombudsman’s Office will furnish the Constitutional Court with semiannual reports on the results of its management.” The Ombudsman’s Office never furnished the required reports.
Our Community now makes an urgent request to the Constitutional Court to withdraw this commission from the Ombudsman’s Office, which is ethically impossible for it to fulfill. It asks that the Court resume its management of the follow-up and the review of everything that has not been complied with, or to engage another entity with a sufficient level of credibility and legitimacy to carry out the commission.
Notably, our Peace Community had to confront Sr. Jorge Augusto Rendón just a few days ago, as he is the attorney representing the Jaramillo family, which has schemed in front of the agencies in charge of land restitution to get them to disregard our Community’s legitimate rights to the La Roncona farm. We have exercised peaceful possession of it for more than 23 years. Attorney Rendón García has requested that a well-known paramilitary, as alias “SAMIR” (or Dafnis Daniel Sierra Martínez) is, be accepted as a witness (a false witness, of course). He had been the commander of a column of the 5th Front of the FARC-EP who subsequently deserted and was welcomed into the 17th Brigade of the Colombian Army in Carepa (Antioquia Province). He was domiciled there for many years, in violations of numerous legal regulations, and mocking legal procedures, because during his militancy in the FARC, he ordered the murder of many members of our Peace Community and also of campesinos that we knew. Later on, it came out that he had had a secret pact with the Colombian Army to infiltrate the FARC and thus to eliminate so many lives of innocent campesinos; and he was never touched by the legal system.
While he was in the Brigade, he took part in frame-ups, slanders, and stigmatizations, using the corrupt and criminal information media, and personages with long criminal histories like Rito Alejo Del Río and Fernando Londoño Hoyos. It’s not strange then, that he’s connected as a false witness in cases of land theft, like the one that’s being carried out against our Peace Community, where he’s summoned as a “witness” in a hearing that will take place at the end of April of this year, 2021.
Curiously, in the most recent hearing on the La Roncona farm case, Attorney Rendón García resigned his role as Attorney in the case, and left his wife as his replacement; it’s clear now that he did that in order to accept the appointment as Regional Ombudsman, in which post he will never be able to act with the fundamental impartiality that the position demands.
Because of his record and the seriousness of the affront that his appointment constitutes for the victims in Urabá, our Peace Community considers itself obligated to DECLARE PUBLICLY, BY MEANS OF THIS DOCUMENT, ITS NEW RUPTURE WITH THE OMBUDSMAN’S OFFICE, an agency that brazenly violates its own constitutional and legal principles, and establishes itself, without shame, as a corrupt and biased agency that favors the powerful and opposes the victims and the sectors of the population that are most vulnerable. In the past, our Community has had to break with the Ombudsman’s Office again and again, as well as with other government agencies, because of their patently corrupt and criminal practices that are not in sympathy with the contours that the Constitution and the laws have designed for them. Now the radical disregard of those contours leaves them shamelessly naked before the country and the world.
In the last few days, several residents of the District (corregimiento) of San José have approached our Peace Community to express their concern and fear because of the threats by the paramilitaries to the use and enjoyment that the owners carry out on the land that belonged to their forefathers and their ancestors, because the paramilitaries have imposed a social and economic order that is different from the customs and practices of the campesinos in the District (corregimiento). This is clearly a strategy to create pressure and fear in the families, so that they will see themselves obligated to sell their property to CORPOURABÁ, since if they can’t work their land, their only solution is to sell it. The paramilitaries are paving the way with their threats, occupation, and attacks, so that the companies can come in, the Mayor’s office in Apartadó, and CORPOURABA can easily take over their properties. Corrupt lawyers, such as Sr. RENDÓN GARCÍA, now converted ironically and sarcastically into a “defender” of the people of Urabá. How far will this depravity go in this government?