Message from the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó,
October 4, 2022
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
The barbarism of killing has no end. Paramilitaries murdered a young campesino in San José. It happened yesterday, September 23, at 6:02 p.m., very near the police station and the military base. The victim is a campesino from this area. The lifeless body is still lying there.
Our Peace Community once again reaches out to the national and international communities to make a record of the most recent events attacking the lives of the civilian population of our geographic and social surroundings, and attacking the existence of our Peace Community. Our countryside continues to live under the reign of death, as the paramilitaries continue to announce with their weapons: “submit or be killed.”
The events we describe, so that humanity and history may judge them some day, are the following:
On Friday, September 16, 2022, a committee of engineers and technicians has been present at the La Roncona farm, which belongs to our Peace Community, and has confronted several members of our Community. With documents in hand, they exhibit an order to carry out mining exploitation of alluvial deposits in the area beginning at a place in Caracolí and extending as far as San José. They were saying that they are authorized to enter this piece of private property belonging to our Peace Community.
They announced that their plan and principal interest is to make the area ready for coal mining in the Serranía de Abibe (Abibe Hills), as well as lime rock, petroleum, and gold. All of these announcements are made in the midst of illegal exploitation of alluvial material in the San José River, which the Mayor’s Office and private interests who plan to market it are pushing. All of this is tightly fixed, and apparently responds to a development plan they announced on a recent visit of another committee in the first week of August in 2022, when they were present in several towns (veredas) in the District (corregimiento) of San José de Apartadó.
On Friday, September 23, 2022, during the day, there was a social gathering for the civilian population in the urban part of San José. There was a health brigade, attention to victims, and registration services, among other things. According to witnesses, you could see that several officials from the Mayor’s Office were present. The social activity, pushed by Colombian government entities, continues to be carried out in the presence of well-known paramilitaries, soldiers, and police. This is routine in this area, but it’s not acceptable.
On that same Friday, September 23, 2022, at 6:02 p.m., you could hear several gunshots next to the urban part of San José. Those shots ended the life of a young campesino, JIMMI ANDRES TUBERQUIA, 18 years old. He comes from the town of La Unión in the District of San José de Apartadó. Jimmi had been recruited by the paramilitaries from the town of La Unión last January 10, 2020, and he had also left La Unión because of death threats from the paramilitaries on Friday, July 18, 2021, and his relatives took him to Medellín.
On Saturday, September 24, 2022, at 6:30 a.m., members of our Peace Community, when we found out about Jimmi’s death, formed a humanitarian committee, and we went to the place where we had heard the shots on the day before. There we found the lifeless body of the Tuberquia boy lying on the shore of the San José River. Hours later, at about 11:00 a.m., the competent authorities came to the site to perform the appropriate actions regarding the body. In spite of being so close to the military base and the local police station, the victim’s family had to endure more than 18 hours while his body lay there, abandoned.
On that same Saturday, September 24, 2022, during the morning, relatives of Jimmi Tuberquia came to the police station in Apartadó to request instructions and report the death of the young man. The answer from the police at the station was that they didn’t know anything, claiming that there are both police and military in San José de Apartadó, and they had not heard anything from them.
In the same manner, that Saturday, September 24, 2022, at 8:20 a.m., in the presence of a large group from the Community that accompanied the lifeless body of young Jimmi, there was a well-known paramilitary who went up to the body and took several photos and then left.
On this same Saturday, September 24, 2022, in a digital newspaper known as Alertapaisa, reporting the event of young Jimmi’s killing, it stated that, according to the authorities, the lifeless body of the young man had been “found three kilometers” from San José, and it continues, “The authorities are investigating the motives behind this crime and whether the young man was murdered at the place where his body was found.” They misrepresent all of it and are trying to divert attention from the real events that we are suffering.
On Sunday, September 25, 2022, our Community became aware that ALIAS FRANCO, a paramilitary who operates in the towns in San José, had been replaced by a new paramilitary commander who has arrived in this area to take control. That one announced that he has a list of the people in the urban part of San José and other towns that are to be killed, accusing them of being rebels who don’t obey their orders. That includes the Peace Community, and it also announced that alleged thieves and marijuana users (consumers of psychoactive substances) will be executed. Those are the same substances that the paramilitaries tolerate, consume, and sell.
That same Sunday, September 25, 2022, during the night, another young man from the District of San José disappeared. He had been in the custody of the paramilitaries for more than 24 hours and they had subjected him to tortures.
On Monday, September 26, 2022, according to several witnesses, in the urban part of San José, in the crowded business establishment belonging to Jorge Higuita, several paramilitaries were up all night drinking liquor. So they were hanging out drunk in the town, and by afternoon a special group of the police and the Army militarized the urban center, announcing that 120 police officers were on their way to the town to provide security. Security that translates to disgrace for the civilian population.
On Tuesday, September 27, 2022, during the day, the urban center of San José de Apartadó was militarized again, as well as the road that leads to San José from the center of the Municipality of Apartadó. According to the news media in the region, there had been a security council. So it remains in evidence and there is proof that the presence of the Armed Forces in San José de Apartadó has only served to protect the paramilitaries that have been breaking the law in the towns of the district for two decades now, together with the Armed Forces.
On Thursday, September 29, 2022, in one of the towns in the District of San José, a paramilitary who identified himself as the politician for this area, challenged several members of our Community, trying to find out where they lived, and claiming that he didn’t recognize them as being from this territory.
On Friday, September 30, 2022, at 7:00 p.m., you could hear several- gunshots near the urban part of San José de Apartadó. All of this comes in the middle of a security presence for the populated area and the perimeter of the urban center of San José, by the Army and the police.
On Saturday, October 1, 2022, in activities being carried out by De-mining Battalion No. 6 of the Colombian Army, along with the landing of a helicopter at the outskirts of the populated center of the town of La Unión, there was evidence of tolerance for the presence of boys and girls in the middle of the maneuvers going on with the Army troops. Once again, we repudiate the use of the civilian population and, above all, of minors, in such maneuvers that are being directed by military authorities.
On Monday, October 3, 2022, at 3:00 a.m., a subject who stealthily entered our facilities was seen to be present in our settlement of San Josecito. He appeared to be spying on our members and on our living spaces in our settlement.
Regarding the permanent recruitment of boys and young men from our area to involve them in the war by attracting them, we once again insist that it is inhuman to push them into a career of killing. It’s wrong to deny them the dream of a life without absorption in war.
We send our ever-present gratitude to all who from different regions and nations accompany us with solidarity and support.
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
October 4, 2022
See also the Peace Community’s web site at cdpsanjose.org and its Facebook page at https://facebook.com/Cdp.S.J.A. Also see the Colombia Support Network Facebook page at https://facebook.com/ColombiaSupport