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Monday, May 16, 2005

Peace Community Remains Firm


The Peace community of San Jose de Apartado remains firm despite the new
acts of terror committed against us by the Colombian government. The acts
that we put under consideration are the following.

-Friday April 29 at 10 am, members of the Colombian army arrived at the
village of Alto Bonito. There they approached two families and prohibited
them from supporting the peace community. If the families wanted to survive
their only option would be to organize themselves in support of the
Colombian army. Next the Army told the families that they wanted to have a
meeting with the leaders of that village, and from other nearby villages, in
order to organize them. In spite of the fact that the army spent the next
two days setting up the meeting, the village of Alto Bonito didn’t attend.
The government has already initiated the final phase of destruction for the
Peace Community.

-On April 26th, 28th and 29th, armed and uniformed members of the police
were transported through the area in public service vehicles while civilians
were present. A violation of international human rights.

-On March 2 at 8 am members of the police offered two community members to
sell them their homes which were already prepared for bringing people from

-On March 8 at 1 pm members of the police stopped at the San Josesito hamlet
located on the La Holandita farm and began filming members of the community
and their homes.

-On May 12 members of the police announced that San Jose had returned to
normal. That the families had returned to San Jose and that the Peace
Community was nearly destroyed. They announced that 80 families had left
the farm at La Holandita and were back in San Jose.

It is obvious and shameless that the destruction of the Peace Community is
being sought by the government through the military forces and the
paramilitaries in Uraba. However, these acts of terror and destruction are
nothing new and the police are correct when they say that they have nearly
finished us off. One only has to look at the history to prove it. Our
community of 1,200 people has suffered the murders of 154 of its members, or
in other words, 15% of our population has been annihilated (14 of the
murders were of community leaders). We have been economically blockaded,
there has never been social investment by the government in our community,
we have been displaced…the prospects are discouraging.

We know that these crimes against are community are evidence of terrorism by
the state and proof of their intention to destroy us. The impunity is
evident as there is no respect for civil positions. It is undoubtedly a
victory for terror and a victory for death. Victory for the victims would
be a country with justice, truth, and respect for human rights. A country
with social investment, without displacement, and with respect for civil
positions and peace.

We also believe that our defeat is not only a defeat for the community but
also a defeat for the country and for humanity. Lying has been a constant
for the victimizers. As in the case of the massacre of 8 people by the
army. Those murdered included our community leaders, Luis Eduardo Guerra
and Alfonzo Bolivar from the humanitarian zones. The lying was also evident
in the claim that 80 families had left San Josesito to return to San Jose.
The reality is that in these past two months only four families have left.
These were families of merchants that, with total liberty, decided to leave
because the community didn’t allow them to sell liquor and high priced
medicines at the settlement. 76 families remain at San Josesito. The 214
surviving families from San Josesito, La Union, Arenas Altas and other
villages all remain firm in our principal of remaining neutral of any armed
group (federal forces, paramilitaries, and guerillas), even with the
knowledge that we are the victims of extermination perpetrated by the
government. In the hamlet of San Jose there are no more members of our
community, but we reiterate our demand for respect from the armed groups
towards the civilian population. This is a universal right that those of us
who believe in peace and civil resistance can never renounce.

We know that this victory by the victimizers, this crime against humanity,
will one day be judged by humanity and that the search for peace is an
option for universal dignity. Again, we give our thanks for the national
and international solidarity we have received. Many of you have been
witness to the truth and to the horrors in which we have suffered.

We annex the tenth right of petition, as interposed by Father Javier
Giraldo, as the latest terror acts by the government have resumed. To see
the tenth right of petition go to the President of Colombia.

Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado

May 13 2005


Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621
e-mail: csn@igc.org



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