Urgent: They are legitimizing our extermination.

Many are the voices that have united from different corners of the country and the world to condemn the violent actions, intensified recently, against our way of life, actions that we have suffered very deeply. This has been witnessed by numerous people, organizations, entities, and supporters of our life, too many to count. With total conviction and devotion, they have rejected those deadly actions and the extermination of our lives.

Because of those circumstances and the current context, nesting in some hope, and in spite of the rupture that our Community has maintained regarding the judicial apparatus and the institutions that make up the Colombian government, whether local or national, our Community did communicate with those institutions and entities and brought them up to date about our reality. This, up to now, has not produced any result. On the contrary, they are intensifying and legitimizing our extermination.

Once again we raise to humanity and to history our complaints about the recent actions taken against the civilian population of our geographic area, and specifically against our Community.

On Tuesday, April 23, 2024, a committee of our Community, with international accompaniment, was going to the farm, Las Delicias, which belongs to our Peace Community, when we saw that one of the gates had been destroyed and taken away from the site; also some farm tools were stolen, food intended to be eaten, and even dishes.

On Wednesday, April 24, 2024, at 3:10 p.m., two paramilitaries in black sweatsuits and dark tee shirts were intimidating two young girls, minors, aged 10 and 14, members of our Peace Community. The paramilitaries were trying to get into our settlement at San Josecito in the District (corregimiento) of San José de Apartadó. The Community saw what was going on and after the collective reaction of our Community, the intruders took off running.

On that same Wednesday, April 24, 2024, several people that were passing through the site known as Chontalito were surprised by eight paramilitaries dressed in civilian clothes, with one carrying a long gun. It’s common to see them there carrying radios and short weapons, but this time they were heavily armed with big guns. Their actions and power are clearly evident.

On Thursday, April 25, we made a report of something widely known in this area, that there was a meeting called by the paramilitaries and leaders of Community Action Boards in the District of San José de Apartadó. The meeting took place last Tuesday, April 16, some place between the towns of El Salto and Los Mandarinos. It was led by a fellow who identifies himself as alias “MATEO”, who was accompanied by several paramilitaries. The principal stated purpose of the meeting was to announce the extermination of our Peace Community, announcing that first they planned to eliminate Germán Graciano, the Legal Representative of the Peace Community, as well as his closest family members who live in the town of El Porvenir in the District of San José de Apartadó. Alias Mateo said, “We know that this Community has the custom of killing one of its own members and then blaming us and later demanding reparation for the victims.” That’s an example of how he was motivating the Boards to “get together to go against the Peace Community”.  We aren’t surprised to find out about that meeting of paramilitaries and the civilian population that has to submit to their designs. What does surprise us is to see the President of the Community Action Board of the town of La Esperanza, ANIBAL HIGUITA, at that meeting. He was also in charge, with a list in his hand, of collecting the signatures of all those who attended the meeting.

On that same Thursday, April 25, 2024, at 8:00 a.m., the committee from our Community that was present at the farm, Las Delicias, in the town of La Esperanza, could see how the corral holding animals intended for subsistence had been opened during the night and the animals had been taken away. This will create a food problem for families.

In recent days, we have been informed that some people have gone to the local office in Apartadó of the Attorney General of Colombia to file a complaint against our Peace Community, claiming that the Community is responsible for the murder of two of its members on last March 19.

They might be able to silence our voices, but while we live, our convictions and our desires to live out our principles of solidarity and respect for life will never be exterminated.

Peace Community of San José de Apartadó

April 25, 2024

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