ContagioRadio, July 26, 2022
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
There was strong condemnation in the last few days when members of the Colombian Army killed Sergio Lizcano Díaz, a small-scale miner in the municipality of California in Santander Department, during a protest by small-scale miners that was being suppressed by Army gunfire.
It happened in the morning of last Friday, July 22 in the Angostura sector, in the jurisdiction of California municipality. The victim, together with other miners, was carrying out a peaceful and legal protest at a gold mine that belongs to the transnational company Minesa.
Public Defender’s Office
Faced with the unfortunate events in which a miner in a rural area of California, Santander was killed, we are going to put together a dialog with communities and institutions to look for solutions to the problems in the area.
The miners were demonstrating against stigmatization, the repeated aggressions, and the militarization of the zone that surrounds the mine, and also against the industrial exploitation of the mine, which produces environmental damage, both to the water and to the environment in general.
In a video circulated on social networks, there is testimony about what happened: an Army soldier, armed with a weapon, opened fire several times against the protesters, causing the death of Sergio Lizcano. That was confirmed by another person that was present who made a tape: “They killed Sergio here, the Army, they killed him”.
Just an hour ago in California, in the province of Soto Norte, Santander, the Colombian Army opened fire against a group of illegal miners, killing one of them, Sergio Lizcano. One more victim of the Armed Forces. Enough already!
The Association of Small and Medium-sized Miners in the Province of Soto Norte—ASOMIPROSOTO, condemned the act, pointing out that the victim was an “ancestral-traditional miner, reputable, honorable, humble, and hard-working”, and that the crime was part of a “mining-energy policy of criminalizing, prosecuting, persecuting, and stigmatizing them by the Iván Duque administration.”
“This should not go to the Military Criminal Justice system, because it was NOT part of the functions of the Colombian Army to MURDER THE CIVILIAN POPULATION.”
Association of Small and Medium-sized Miners in the Province of Soto Norte
JULY 22, 2022
The Departmental Executive Committee of the Alternative Democratic Pole Party—PDA Santander, also issued a forceful condemnation of what happened, as it was an “extrajudicial crime” against unarmed protesters, and thus was a disproportionate use of force by the soldiers.
“The PDA Party, which supports the fight against large-scale mining, while at the same time supporting the protection of our water and the environment in the Páramo of Santurbán, openly and energetically condemns this crime against humanity by the government. As a party that has joined the new administration of Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez, we lament this sad event and we voice our condolences and solidarity with the family of the miner, Sergio Lizcano. He is the brother of the director of the union, Sintrametalúrgica, Zulma Lizcano.”
Finally, both the entities that denounced the act agreed in pointing out the necessity that this crime be investigated by the Attorney General’s Office and not by the Military Criminal Justice system, “as murdering the civilian population is not part of the functions of the Colombian Army.”