Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, July 27, 2022

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

Once again our Peace Community of San José de Apartadó sees the urgent necessity of making a record before this country and the world of the new acts of horror against our process and against the people that live around here.

If in many regions of this country, through social protest and the election process itself, always manipulated by the elites, the voice of the people has reached a certain audience, the Urabá region continues to be enslaved by the paramilitary domination that retains all power of decision. The towns (veredas) in our district (corregimiento) remain under this disastrous yoke, with the tolerance and acquiescence of all the institutions of the government.

Here we present the following events for the awareness of this country and the world:

Saturday, June 4, 2022, our Peace Community learned of the killing of the paramilitary WILFER HIGUITA, a personage who was related to one of the families in our Community, but who for many years has been coopted by working with the Colombian Army in the implementation of the dirtiest and most detestable tasks, part of that effort that the military has never tried to hide, the effort to exterminate our Peace Community, making use of genocidal actions. We can’t forget, for example, that on January 17, 2009, Wilfer was used by Colonel Germán Rojas Díaz, later Commander of the 17th Brigade, to extort Renato Areiza, then a member of our Community. They proposed that he help to destroy the Peace Community, saying if he wouldn’t do it, they would prosecute him, either for being a guerrilla or for being a drug trafficker. To do that, the Colonel has at his service the lying “witnesses” that would be necessary. In the succeeding years, Wilfer coordinated the paramilitary takeover of many areas in the Community, including the town of La Unión, which apparently was the last territory that he commanded. As they have done with many other young people that sell their souls to do detestable works, above all when their resumé has become indefensible in front of the eventual prosecutors who occasionally want to apply the law, Wilfer was definitely “killed in combat” so that he would not cause any legal problems for the Colombian Army. Lamentably, they use people like cleaning rags and when they get too dirty, they throw them in the garbage. We energetically condemn that criminal practice by the Colombian government, which makes their conception of human dignity very clear.

In the week of July 3 to 9, 2022, the presence of a heavily armed paramilitary contingent was seen in the town of Buenos Aires in the District of San José de Apartadó.

On Sunday, July 10, 2022, at 8:00 p.m., there was an exchange of gunfire near the houses in the town of La Unión, in the same District. That event took place near a property that belongs to our Peace Community. A military contingent was camped there. The supposed antagonism lasted more than 15 minutes. Several residents of the town are expressing concern about the effects that the antagonism might cause, especially because it places the civilian population in the middle of the combat, and they are the ones that suffer the worst consequences of the war.

On Tuesday, July 12, 2022, during the daytime, a committee of our Peace Community went to the location of the activities that took place on Sunday, July 10. You could see that the soldiers from the Colombian Army’s 17th Brigade were camped there on our private property. We asked them to leave our property, and we requested respect for the community spaces marked as the private property of our Peace Community. Nevertheless, this military contingent would not leave our private property, while you could see that they had damaged some of our agricultural products, including the cacao. The military contingent is still there.

On Friday, July 15, 2022, in the morning, several paramilitaries were seen meeting near the school in the town of La Resbalosa.

On Sunday, July 17, 2022, our Peace Community learned of the presence of a supposed official from the Attorney General’s Office in the town of La Unión. His task consisted in gathering testimonies about the manner in which the Community had acquired its properties. The official was also collecting testimony about several dead bodies buried in the town’s cemetery, accusing the Community of illegally burying the bodies of guerrillas, a claim that lacks any foundation whatsoever. It has definitely produced indignation, when you contrast that concern with the systematic attitude of the Attorney General’s Office and legal authorities in general. They have never taken any interest in the more than a thousand crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated by the government and the “ParaGovernment” against our Peace Community, leaving those in absolute impunity.

On Tuesday, July 19, 2022, in the afternoon, you could hear many bursts of rifle fire in the town of La Antena, where a contingent of soldiers from the Colombian Army’s 17th Brigade has been camped for several years.

On Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at 11:00 at night, you could hear a number of gunshots in the urban part of San José. On this same Wednesday, July 20, 2022, during the night, several paramilitaries that were on motorcycles on the road between San José and Apartadó, fired a number of shots inside of our private property, the La Roncona farm.

On Thursday, July 21, 2022, in the afternoon, in the town of La Unión, where the Demining Batallion No. 6 was encamped, you could see how this contingent of armed soldiers was in the sports center with a number of children, placing the civilian population at serious risk, especially considering the alleged combat that had been sustained there last Sunday July 10.

On Sunday, July 24, 2022, at 3:00 a.m., five people in the town of Salsipuedes in the Municipality of Apartadó were killed at the hands of the Armed Forces. It appears that the victims were members of paramilitary organizations. Even though they were criminals, our Peace Community is unyielding in maintaining that life is sacred, and that no legal policy my consider that it is something contemptible. It’s extremely unfortunate that Colombia continues killing its citizens so cold-heartedly, and worse still when they have previously used them as instruments of their dirty and criminal policies to degrade their lives so extremely in the sinkholes of the vilest criminality.

We are always grateful to all the people and communities that from the farthest corners of our country and the world are sustaining us morally with their solidarity.

Peace Community of San José de Apartadó

July 27, 2022

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