Message from the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó

June 16, 2024

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

So far this year of 2024, our Peace Community of San José de Apartadó has experienced a progressive increase in persecution, through campaigns that have been co-opting civil organizations like the Community Action Boards. It’s worth remembering here what we complained about in our certified statement of May 6, 2021: for one thing, it was the communication drafted by Sr. CÉSAR JARAMILLO, the instigator of all of this persecution, titled “To government agencies” where he requested that they only listen to the opinions of the Community Action Boards, and not to those of our Peace Community. His document is just like the civil rights action filed by the Colombian Army’s 17th Brigade in October 2018 to prevent our Community from communicating with civil society through our historic certified statements.

 And for another thing, the meeting they had in the town (vereda) of La Esperanza called together by that same CÉSAR JARAMILLO where they made the Presidents of the Community Boards sign a “CONTRACT” where they promised to exterminate our Peace Community. The text of the “CONTRACT” was drafted in the Apartadó Mayor’s Office on April 26, 2021. They filmed the act of signing by many of the Presidents of Community Action Boards, and the image was published on Facebook. A lot of the community leaders were indignant when they saw their faces published in a campaign like that.

Although it looked as if that campaign being pushed under the slogan “NO MORE PEACE COMMUNITY”, had been deactivated, events of this year reveal its reactivation in extreme forms of violence. The audios that were circulated between February and May of this year, accompanied by the destructive actions taken against our farm, Las Delicias, in the town of La Esperanza, culminating in the murders of Nallely and Edinson last March 19, demonstrate that this campaign is active, and is articulated with the complete paramilitary domination of this area by the head of the Clan del Golfo criminal organization.

In recent weeks, we have verified new episodes of this persecution, of which we want to make a record before the country and before the world.

On Friday, May 17, 2024, we noticed the strong presence of several well-known paramilitaries at the place known as Chontalito. Among them was ADOLFO GUZMÁN, clearly identified as a paramilitary, from the town of La Unión.

On Saturday, May 18, 2024, the Peace Community learned of a document signed by some people from the District (corregimiento) of San José de Apartadó and filed in May with several national and international agencies. The document stated not only its rejection of the murders of Nallely Supúlveda and Edinson David, but also the stigmatization of the civilian population who live here and the stigmatization of our Peace Community. But when we reviewed the list of signers, we saw immediately that some of the names of the signers were exactly those that not only fomented the criminal actions, but had also pushed for atrocious deeds like tearing down and burning our fences and gate, and also of spreading the slogan “No more Peace Community”. They even pushed for the plan for coming and exterminating human lives, which was evidenced by the various audios and videos that were circulating on social networks.

On Monday, May 20, 2024, Sr. Bernardo Caballos and Sra. Nohemi David, the parents of our compatriot, Diego, the husband of our compatriot murdered last March 19, Nallely Sepúlveda, were subpoenaed by telephone. From the very first moment of the crime, the killers have knitted together one of the most wicked and filthy slanders, trying to attribute the murders to him while he was attending to his father who was hospitalized in Apartadó. The prosecutor, whose name is AMELIA, and who issued the telephone subpoena to Diego’s parents, which is absolutely irregular, has demonstrated unpardonable ignorance of legal procedures and confirmed the long and bonded tradition that has characterized judicial power in Urabá: the tradition of investigating the victims and never investigating the victimizers. In fact, we aren’t aware of any investigative interest by the Attorney General’s Office in the nuclei of Community Action in the town of La Esperanza. They didn’t act secretly in their violent attacks on our farm, Las Delicias, and they weren’t circumspect in their public instigations of the extermination of members of our Community in the audios and videos that they spread around on social media, saying that it was necessary to shed our blood and that they would shed it, and if it was necessary for the bulldozers to drag our corpses, then they would drag them. All of that demonstrates that the tradition of impunity in the Urabá legal system continues intact, to the shame of this country and disgrace in the world.

On Tuesday, May 21, 2024, it was evident that the paramilitaries had deforested most of the virgin mountain at the point known as Chontalito (Serranía de Abibe). We have been complaining for several months about a parking lot there and also a residence for paramilitaries.

On Tuesday, May 28, 2024, a humanitarian mission from our Community that entered the Las Delicias farm in the town of La Esperanza could see that now the violence is being directed at our animals, which are the sustenance for families in our Community. With the passage of time, we have seen several cattle injured by machetes, and one of them was killed.

On Sunday, June 2, 2024, at 11:00 p.m. at the place where you leave the towns of La Arena and La Unión, several men with long guns and dressed in camouflage and with insignia looking like the ELN came out and were claiming to the people that they didn’t want to see any people out walking at night because they wouldn’t be responsible. We have no doubt whatsoever that in a territory that is totally controlled by paramilitaries, they are pretending to be other armed actors in order to impose even greater terror on the people that live here.

On Wednesday, June 5, 2024, a delegation of national government Ministers and administrative units, accompanied by several embassies and representatives of the UN was received in our Peace Community. This meeting was a continuation of the one on March 27 at the Las Delicias farm in the town of La Esperanza. They made a diagnosis and promised to adopt some measures to protect us. Based on what they told us, it was clear there exist no licenses of any kind for road construction in that area and the projects going on now are illegal. The absence of the Minister of Environment was unfortunate because while the meeting was going on, several dump trucks were illegally taking construction materials from the river that flows through our farm, La Roncona, with the authorization of the leaders of the Community Action Board in the town of La Victoria. They have been charging for the illegal extraction of materials from the river.

On Thursday, June 6, 2024, a paramilitary dressed in dark clothing, approached a family member of GERMÁN GRACIANO, our Peace Community’s legal representative, to tell him that they had just killed GERMÁN, which turned out to be false, but confirmed the circulation among the paramilitaries of the order to kill him. For several months now, orders to kill other members of the Internal Council and other members of our Peace Community have been circulating.

On that same Thursday and Friday, June 6, 2024, vehicles extracting construction material were once again entering our farm, La Roncona, without any consent by the Peace Community. That becomes a flagrant violation of our right to our territory and our right to a healthy environment.

On Wednesday, June 12, 2024, an unidentified subject entered our private property of San Josesito without our permission, saying he had a meeting with a person supposedly a lawyer.

Once again we thank numerous communities in Colombia and in the world for their expressions of solidarity as we see worsening persecution of our Peace Community. We highlight particularly the judicious and extensive documents you have sent to the Inter-American Rights Agencies and different agencies of the Colombian government, demanding justice and protection in a very prudent and precise manner, with respect for international treaties and the National Constitution itself.

Peace Community of San José de Apartadeo

June 16, 2024

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