Message from the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, April 6, 2021
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
In the week of Passion and Easter, our Community followed its well-established tradition of traversing the bloodied paths where life was torn away from hundreds of followers of our course of action. It’s the Passion of Jesus, recycled permanently by our criminal Colombian government.
This Good Friday of 2021 we made a pilgrimage on the roads to the towns (veredas) of La Linda, La Sucia, and La Cristalina. We went to the site where the Colombian Army perpetrated the horrible massacre of young people at dawn on December 26, 2005. Members of the 17th Brigade had earlier coopted the brothers Ovidio, Albeiro, and Lubín Cardona Borja, who were FARC militiamen, getting them to work with the Army as infiltrators, and they put on a big Christmas Party, with ample consumption of liquor. That’s how they were able to surprise numerous young men from the area who were drunk, and massacre them. They believed that some of them were militiamen. General Zapata told the media a lie, claiming they were “guerrillas killed in combat”. Among the six murder victims were members of our Community, and the Cardona brothers received four million pesos (about USD $2,000) for each victim as a “blood invoice”. The Army paid those amounts, immediately, while the killers became full members of the paramilitary troops, using uniforms and weapons from the Army, and providing false testimony to prosecutors that were coopted by the military to fuel judicial frame-ups of brazen filth and lies.
On that same course, we went to the site where the FARC guerrillas murdered three leaders of our nascent Peace Community on October 6, 1997: Ramiro Correa, Fernando Aguirre, and Luis Fernando Espinosa. They were punishing us for our compliance with our Regulation; it prohibits selling food to any armed actor.
On that same journey, we stopped at numerous other places where blood had been shed: from the place where the soldiers ripped the life out of the 3-year-old girl, Mildrey Dayana David Tuberquia, on March 18, 2003; to the place where the Army’s helpers, the paramilitaries, massacred the young man Weber Andrés Garzón, on August 18, 2019, because he refused to comply with their crazy orders. We also visited the ruins of the home of the Arenas Román family. Their father, Ignacio Arenas, was getting off a bus and was murdered on the road to Apartadó on August 25, 2000. His three children, Luz Analia, Hernando, and Duver Antonio, were massacred a month later, on September 23, 2000.
But while the memories revive the horrors of the past for us, the current complaints that we file convince us that the Colombian government that rules over us continues to demonstrate its GENOCIDAL character. They have an unbridled zeal to exterminate every group that won’t give in to their exclusionary, paramilitary, and murdering blueprint. This was proved in the recent hearings before the Permanent Tribunal of the People that were held in Bucaramanga, Bogotá, and Medellín between March 25 and March 27 of 2021.
We want to make the country and the world aware of the recent events that are worrying us profoundly:
On Monday, March 22, 2021, two residents of the urban part of San José were threatened by the paramilitaries, who called them “sapos” (“toads”) or informants. One of the paramilitaries was announcing: “The red is going to run.” (Referring once again to the spilling of blood).
On Sunday, March 28, 2021, a person that we don’t know, with his face covered, was going around in a very suspicious manner, near the El Cuchillo River that borders our central settlement at San Josecito. He acted as if he was inspecting its topography for some action he was planning. Along with that, other people reported that last week they had seen other suspicious-looking people walking around the river in the same way.
In the last week of March in 2021, in the town (vereda) of El Porvenir, there were people talking about their intention to sell their land, because, according to them, “The paramilitaries just aren’t letting people work.”
On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at 1:00 o’clock in the morning, paramilitaries on motorcycles were distributing pamphlets in the different towns of San José de Apartadó. One of the pamphlets was left at the San Josecito settlement of our Peace Community. Our cameras captured the moment they arrived on motorcycles to deliver the pamphlets.
All of the episodes summarized here show how the paramilitaries dominate this area. They are verifying recruitment, training, and meetings; imposing regulations and charges of taxes as they see fit, putting pressure on people, trying to convert them into allies, threating potential informants, and once again concentrating their threats in announcements that they plan to exterminate our Peace Community. They see us as a hindrance to their plans of domination because our Community is very far from sharing in their wicked principles.
Besides, it’s public knowledge that around the military base, they have established a shack where they drink a lot of liquor in the evenings, where the paramilitaries go in carrying their weapons. The increase in the number of civilians going around on the road carrying weapons is also concerning. This multiplies the paramilitary force, and it’s absolutely tolerated by all of the authorities.
With our salute to the Easter season, we wish you well; once more we thank the communities from so many places in the country and in the world that continue to express their fraternal solidarity with our cause.
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, April 6, 2021