Message from the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
We never get tired of raising our voices to every corner of the world to expose to humanity and to history the actions that constantly attack our Peace Community and the people that live around here, geographically and socially.
The actions that we set forth right now for humanity and history to judge some day are the following:
On Wednesday, June 14, 2023, in the town (vereda) of Mulatos Medio, six paramilitaries carrying small arms entered the private property of the Luis Eduardo Guerra Peace Village of our Peace Community. They stayed there several minutes. The presence of any armed actor or member of an armed group in spaces that belong to us is a violation of our principles and of private property. Several days ago, we learned that the paramilitaries and some civilians from the area had a plan to invade that particular space of ours.
On Thursday, June 15, 2023, according to information from several campesinos from the town of Arenas Altas, five paramilitaries called the campesinos together on the property of the Peace Community in that town. They ordered all the campesinos not to plant anything on properties that had not been worked for the last five years, threatening them that they would have to pay fines of large amounts of money. Using the same threats, they also ordered them not to raise livestock or hunt animals; finally, they reaffirmed their control of the territory. The paramilitaries had gone from house to house to collect the civilians who were then driven to the school in the town located on our property.
For several days now, in the town of Mulatos Medio, several cattle that belong to the paramilitaries have been damaging the crops belonging to the campesinos in the town and to families that belong to the Peace Community. We have also been able to establish that when those same paramilitaries came to herd the animals, they damaged the wire fencing.
On Wednesday, June 28, 2023, the well-known paramilitary in La Cristalina, alias “Alfredo”, was seen gathering three officials from the Mayor’s Office in Apartadó and taking him along with them toward his town. It’s known that this paramilitary, in December of 2017, used a gun to try to kill the Peace Community’s Legal Representative, Germán Graciano.
On Thursday, June 29, 2023, in the town of La Resbalosa, several paramilitaries were seen carrying long guns, moving some livestock.
In recent days, you could see the operation of roads for the exclusive use of the paramilitaries in the towns of Mulatos and La Resbalosa, among others, and the paramilitary, Carlos Mario, who has been accused of abusing a minor, was seen.
On Sunday, July 2, 2023, we found out that the paramilitaries have ordered some of the people that live in the urban part of San José not to visit the property that belongs to our Peace Community. They are warning them that, if they see them getting close to the Community, they will be accused of being informants, and then they will be killed.
On Monday, July 3, 2023, we learned that in the town of La Resbalosa and other adjoining towns, a troop that looks like soldiers is illegally stopping civilians they meet on their way, and keeping them as long as two days. Already several campesinos are expressing their concern about those illegal seizures without any explanation; in the same way they have stopped paramilitaries that are pretending to be civilians and then later they are setting them free.
Recently, on June 30 of this year, we received an international delegation with the Speaker of the Parliament of Germany, MAX LUCKS. We told him about our suffering, but also about our life experience. Innumerable organizations, individuals and communities have accompanied us and are witnesses to that, and we express our profound gratitude to them for sustaining us with their moral strength. That Parliament, being interviewed by the newspaper EL ESPECTADOR, expressed its sympathy for our way of life:
“We are going to a Peace Community which for many years has resisted all the armed groups and has had to mourn many victims because of that. We want to learn the lessons that we can take away from this place where they have been able to defend the peace against every kind of attack, but without the use of weapons.”
In spite of the fact that we are constantly in the sights of the killers, we reaffirm our convictions for life, for memory, and for our martyrs who are present in every beat of our hearts.
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
July 4, 2023