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Wednesday, August 30, 2006



(Translated by Nadya Perez-Reyes, a CSN Translator)


The Committee in  Solidarity with with the Political Prisoners
Sectional of Valle del Cauca denounce before the national and international

That 23 countrymen, inhabitants of Juntas and Cisneros in the municipality,
Dagua, in Valle del Cauca were subjected by the government to a mass detention
and  prscecusion along with another 29 inhabitants of the region and another
6,300 people throughout the country by the current government.  In this legal action they were accused of supporting guerilla groups.  Although their defense attorneys demonstrated before the Courts that the charges were without merit, the detainees were subjected to an arbitrary detention and a long legal process of two years when they were finally granted their freedom in December 2005, resulting in an acquittal of their first sentence.

It seemed that the nightmare of criminalization by part of the Colombian state had finished, but it turned out that June 1st, 2006, the 23 defendants were sentenced in a second charge to six years for rebellion due to the fact that the District Attorney’s Office was granted an appeal over the decision.  All this occurs when the current government has had to grant freedom to the majority of the 6,300 people detained in massive and arbitrary detentions.  Meanwhile,groups such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights, the United Nations Arbitary Detention Working Group, and other diverse non-governmental organizations had made vocal to the government of Alvaro Uribe Vélez that the practice of massive detentions goes against the pillars of democracy and the principles of the constitution, in addition to the conventions and treaties about human rights subscribed to by Colombia.

We reiterate that the practice of condemning Colombians without respecting the basic pillars of a Free State such as impartial investigation, objectivity in the analysis of evidence, and respect for the principles of defendant rights when the evidente presents serious doubts against the punishable rights, doesn’t constitute itself into a legitimate practice and adds more so to the deinstitutionalization of the country at the hands of the government.  As a human rights organization we consider this condemnation a political complaint, because part of a persecution and stigmatization directed at an entire community.  This demonstrates the authoritarian mood of the reelected government by using the criminal and jail- system apparatus excessively against men
and women that find themselves permanently subjected to authoritarian controls such as census, photographs, frequent detention without just cause,
threats, and meetings in terrorized environments as actors in the conflict;
violating the principle of present distinction in International Humanitarian

Santiago de Cali, Julio 24 de 2006.

Send letters of protest to

Presidential Programs for Human Rights
Dr. Carlos Franco

Procuraduria General de la Nacion
Fr. Eduardo Jose Maya - Villazon

Attorney General
Fr. Mario Iguaran -Arana


Ombudsman for the People
Dr. Volmar Perez

Presidente Alvaro Uribe Velez

United Nations Office for Human Rights in Colombia


Inter-American Commission of Human Rights

Valle del Cauca Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners

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

Friday, August 25, 2006


Once Again, Government Paramilitarism Attacks Unionization in the Region
(Translated by Stacey Schlau, a CSN Translator)

The United Central Organization of CUT Santander Workers, Unions, and Popular and Human Rights Organizations denounce
to both oral and written mass media, civil and military authorities, and the public in general, the abuse that the compañera
MARTHA CECILIA DIAZ SUAREZ, president of the union organization ASTDEMP DEPARTAMENTAL and of the board of directors of Bucaramanga, suffered.

This morning, August 15, 2006, at approximately 5:30 am, she was surrounded by unknown persons who drove a private car with the license plate
LAI 795, and who, after intimidating her by saying that they had taken her daughter and showing her a photo of her, forced her to get into the car and took her to a spot on the bypass road, where they insulted her, called her subversive, and said all kinds of terrible things to her, asking her about the compañeros DAVID FLOREZ y CESAR PLAZAS, president and treasurer of the board of directors. They also beat her brutally, demanding that she fight and defend herself, since she is so "quick to protest like a man." They also showed her photos of her daughter, whom they asserted they had assassinated. These photos were taken as she participated in legal demonstrations such as the ICBF, which took place in the GARCIA ROVIRA park, facing the Government building of Santander, and the protest against the PLEBISCITE about injustices toward workers that we organized in the CUT in the LUIS CARLOS GALAN plaza facing the PALACE OF JUSTICE the week before. This protest was repressed by public armed forces, who acted together: ESMAD, National Police, Army, and a group of "reinserted" Paramilitary operatives. We clearly denounce today, as we always have, the practice that government agencies have of taking secret photographs and films, which wind up in the hands of those who fight the physical well-being of MARTHA.

The compañera has hemotomas in both eyes, they pushed her upper jaw to the left, and they shot her twice, brushing the abdomen, which left gunshot residue on her blouse. A
complaint was filed in the public prosecutor¹s office.

The compañera has repeatedly been a victim of persecution and this is not the first case of physical aggression and threats. Previously, she was beaten and threatened on her trip to the township of Mesa de Los Santos, for a meeting to negotiate the list of petitions with the mayor of that municipality.

The previous week complaints were filed in the public Defender¹s office about threats on the cell phone and being followed by someone who drives a motorcycle with license plates FER 60 D.

This incident confirms that the union movement is going through a difficult period which is worsening and in which violence against Colombian workers for demanding their rights and social justice does not stop.

In Colombia, the union movement has been the victim of more than 4,000 assassinations and many thousands more have been victims of repeated and aggravated attacks on their lives, liberty, and physical well-being. 2154 have had complaints filed. In Santander, we have a list of 136 compañeras and compañeros assassinated from January 1991 to November 2005.

This incident forms part of the more than 40,000 inhuman crimes reported in Colombia in that last 30 years, crimes that have not been carried out in an isolated, marginalized, or involuntary manner. These crimes form part of a planned and designed strategy of several branches of the Colombian State, and have as their purpose the physical elimination of union leaders, gradual weakening of workers¹ organization, and repression of the exercise of union freedom.

WE DEMAND: from the President of the Republic, his Vice-President, and the Office of Human Rights of the Ministry of the Interior and of Justice, and of all authorities, that they protect the right to life and free, constitutionally-guaranteed exercise of union activity. In their hands lies the responsibility for the physical well-being of the compañera MARTHA, so that WE SEEK immediate forms of protection for our  compañera MARTHA CECILIA DIAZ and her family.

Executive Committee

                           Bucaramanga, August 16, 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Human Rights Violations in Catatumbo


A Report by the Asociaciòn Campesina del Catatumbo,  Dated 1 August 2006

(Translated by Dan Baird, a CSN Translator)

The Asociación Campesina del Catatumbo wishes to inform Colombian and international opinion that:

Members of the 30th Brigade and the 15th Mobile Brigade of the Colombian Army have been responsible for Human Rights violations against the rural population in various parts of the Catatumbo region, north of Santander;

In rural areas where peasants are living  in the municipalities of Convención, Teorama y El Tarra, belonging to the region of High and Central Catatumbo, the Army has carried out  machine-gunning and shelling, putting at risk the lives of the people and causing physical and psychological damage.

Because of the threat and tension caused by the Army¹s behaviour, fear and panic are widespread.

In May JOSÉ TRINIDAD ABRIL, a young boy from the district of Las Palmas in Convención, was held and interrogated by troops for an hour, during which he was subjected to physical and psychological abuse as they questioned him on the whereabouts of local guerrilla commanders.

Soldiers threatened to beat him and throw him on a hole unless he gave him this information. The youth wept in terror as they accused him of being a guerrilla.  He was only saved from the situation by a soldier who recognised him as a civilian  and reminded the others that they had, in fact, earlier passed through the area where he lived.

In a later incident in San Calixto, on 5th June, the Army killed JOSÉ GUVER LÓPEZ and  JOSÉ ORTIZ,  local peasants who they later said were guerillas killed in combat. On this occasion the local council spoke out and condemned the Army¹s claims.

There was a similar incident on 19 July when soldiers  from the 15th Mobile Brigade killed LUIS ANGARITA, a 22-year old peasant, in the El Limón district of Teorama. Local people said on "Radio Catatumbo" that the Army killed him when he was on his way to work as a day laborer. Troops subsequently dressed his body in camouflage clothes and claimed that he had been a subversive working with guerrillas in El Limón ­ an area where there is no guerrilla presence at all.

In another incident, on 24th June in Aserrío,  ANTONIO GUILLIN ORTIZ was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the Army. He was held from 8am to 2pm, while soldiers struck him on the face and threatened him with their rifles.  They insulted him, accused him of being a guerrilla, and robbed him of 150,000 pesos.

The people of the region wish it known that they are repeatedly accused by the Army of being guerrillas or of helping the guerrillas or of being militia members.  This has reached the point where even the children of Las Palmas district have been accused of subversion.

On houses in areas through which the Army has passed there can now be seen graffiti referring to the paramilitary groups AUI, AUC and Los Rastrojos (The Weeds). Soldiers have even said that they belong to these groups and  announce that after them will come the Águilas Negras (The Black Eagles), a paramilitary group that operates North of Santander.

The people of Catatumbo complain: "We are afraid and live in panic because the Army moves into our houses during the night, forbids us to go out-of-doors or  go to the toilet, or to have lights.  It will soon be that if we take ill, we will have to die shut-up  in our houses.".

All the Councils for Community Action are in fear because of  the various abuses committed by the Army in the region.

Because of these and other actions carried out in this  region, the  ASOCIACIÓN CAMPESINA DEL CATATUMBO asks Brigadier General Miguel Bernabé Lozano Perea and  those in command of  the 30th Brigade and   the 15th Mobile Brigade to educate the troops taking part in these operations on  respect for Human Rights and on the requirements of International Humanitarian Law.

We remind members of these brigades that the primary responsibility for the protection of human rights falls, in accordance with constitutional principles and international treaties and conventions, on the Colombian state.  The Armed Forces, an integral part of that state, are responsible for overseeing the maintenance of commitments undertaken internationally on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

We also recall that the foremost duty of the State is to prevent violations of Fundamental Rights.  It is its duty to  take all means possible to investigate, judge and punish those who, whether by omission or commission, are responsible for such violations. The State has the duty to take all necessary administrative and political measures to prevent such  crimes being committed in the region of Catatumbo.

In conclusion, we call on the international community through aid agencies, friendly governments and Non Governmental Organisations to guarantee the protection of Peasant Councils in Catatumbo.

Asociación Campesina del Catatumbo

1 August 2006

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Paramilitaries and the Army commit new crimes in Puerto Asis, Putumayo

Paramilitaries and the Army commit new crimes in Puerto Asis, Putumayo
August 9, 2006.     Source's name ommitted for Security Purposes

(Translated by Dave Brown, a CSN  Translator)

The incidents occurred as follows:
1.  On August 5th,, 2006 around nine o¹clock in the evening a group of approximately 50 armed men dressed in camouflaged uniforms along with others with camouflaged pants and black shirts, and who covered their faces with bandanas or hoods and wore bracelets that had AUC (United Colombian Autodefense organization) inscribed on them, invaded the cock fighting arena, Las Heliconias, located in the Villa De Leiva settlement in the town of La Carmelita, municipality of Puerto Asís, department of Putumayo, where a community festival was being celebrated.   

2.  With insults, blows and death threats, the armed men obligated those they encountered in the arena to stay face down while they submitted the women present to humiliating and abusive sexual procedures other than actual carnal access.  The aggressors also took personal belongings from those they detained, especially watches, cell phones, gold jewelry  and cash, such as the money collected in the community event along with the food they had prepared.

3.  The suspected paramilitaries stayed in the Villa community for more than two hours, and then withdrew, after having advised the inhabitants against reporting the acts and to stay inside the arena until after seven in the morning of August sixth.

4.   The suspected paramilitaries kidnapped three persons of those that they had found in the Cock Fighting Arena, among them the Nasa Indian, DOUGLAS ANTONIO PEREZ SILVAJA of the Kiwnas  Chxab reservation.

It is worth noting that a large military contingent had been posted in the immediate area of Villa de Leiva on August 5th.
On August 7th , the body of the native DUGLAS ANTONIO PEREZ SILVAJA was found by members of the Kiwnas Chxab reservation in the Puerto Asis Municipal morgue  where it had been taken by members of the military, who reported him as a guerilla who fell in combat.   DUGLAS ANTONIO SILVAJA´s body was dressed in a camouflaged uniform.

It is not known where the winds of fortune have taken the other two personas detained by the supposed paramilitaries, and to this date they are counted as disappeared.

The community in the rural zones of Puerto Asís expresses its preoccupation and fear of the aggressive conduct of the members of the army, who intimidates the civilian population  with threats and verbal aggression, frequently leading to arbitrary detainment of the local citizenry.

The population of the Puerto Vega-Teteye, in the municipality of Puerto Asis, express their fear which is caused by the frequent presence in the zone of a group of individuals that  make up part of the paramilitary structure, that act in this municipality, where, according to the government, they have been demobilized, and who run around on motorcycles, without anyone knowing their aim, this in a region which is strongly militarized.  

In the face of these acts we demand.
That the Procurador General of the nation carry out an efficient, effective and immediate investigation of these reported acts .

Procurador General de la Nación
Dr. Edgardo José Maya Villazón
reygon@procuraduria.gov.co ; anticorrupcion@presidencia.gov.co

­ That Dr. SERGIO CARAMAGNA, chief of the OEA (OAS, Organization of American States) Mission of Accompaniment to the Peace Process with the paramilitaries, verify the existence and the continued presence of paramilitary groups in Putumayo scaramagna@mapp-oea.org

That the national government adopt the necessary measures so that the military forces who are active in the Putumayo  region abstain from violating the human rights of the population of this department and that they combat and neutralize the paramilitary groups that could be operating in El Putumayo.

Dr. Francisco Santos
Vicepresidente: E-mail: fsantos@presidencia.gov.co ; buzon1@presidencia.gov.co
Programa DDHH de Vicepresidencia: ppdh@presidencia.gov.co

Ministro de Defensa
Dr. Juan Manuel Santos
E-mail : siden@mindefensa.gov.co ; infprotocol@mindefensa.gov.co ; mdn@cable.net.co

Bogota, D.C.    August 8th, 2006.

Communiqu é from the Bishops of the Pacific Region

Communiqué from the Bishops of the Pacific Region
August 9, 2006
( Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN Translator)

The Ecclesiastic Jurisdictions of Tumaco, Guapi, Buenaventura, Istmina and Quibdó are informing public opinion about our concerns about recent violations of human rights and infractions of international humanitarian law against the Afro-Colombian people and the indigenous peoples of the Pacific basin.

The recent coincidental events on July 12, 2006, where there were confrontations of the public security forces with guerrillas in the indigenous reserves of the Awa people in Ricuarte, Nariño; as well as confrontations between guerrillas of the FARC and AUC paramilitaries of the Elmer Cárdenas Bloc in indigenous territory in Rioscucio, Chocó, have once again raised the question of respect for the civilian population in the midst of the armed conflict.

In both cases the civilian population has been exposed in the middle of the firing. In the case of the Awa this has produced a massive displacement to seek refuge in a school. In the case of Riosucio woodcutting peasants who were exploiting the forest in violations of the regulations in an indigenous reserve were victims of a mass kidnapping by FARC guerrillas, and later several of them showed up murdered. This has also caused a mass displacement toward the urban center of that municipality.

In the month of April of the present year FARC guerrillas murdered two indigenous teachers in the area of the Medio San Juan, Chocó. The result of this was a mass displacement of these communities towards Istmina. Fortunately, this population has now returned but a group of fourteen were forced to accept the role of international refugees in order to save their lives, since they were in the same list of persons accused of being informants of the public security forces.

In the month of June, 2006, there was a massacre of eleven Afro-Colombian persons in the rural area of Satinga in the municipality of Olaya Herrera in Nariño. This presumably was owing to the impact of illicit crops that are present in the region.

In the are of Medio Atrato, in the municipality of Bojayá, the last half-year ended leaving an growing environment of discomfort in the Black and indigenous communities in the face of continuous confrontations between Guerrillas of the FARC and the public security forces. These military encounters have produced continuous displacements in the rural area towards the urban center.

In many places in the Pacific region civilians continue suffering abuses by the public security forces and the guerrilla armies who confiscate food and medicines from them or restrict their movements to their agricultural labor, fishing or hunting. They always do this accusing them of being intermediaries for their enemy.

All of these incidents and others that often do not get a public complaint, and much less a judicial complaint powerfully attract our attention and make us cry out to heaven for justice. Therefore we make the following call:

To the civilian population, that they continue exercising their autonomy in the face of the armed conflict

To the public security forces, greater transparency in their behavior so that they will win more respect from society.

To the State structures of control, that they act quickly and diligently following their constitutional mandate to make sure that public functionaries fulfill their responsibility of protecting, guaranteeing and carrying out human rights.

To the paramilitary groups, that they undertake the demobilization process honestly, that they not continue withy covert actions where the victim is the civilian population, and particularly the poorest people. That they let themselves be guided by the principles of justice, truth and reparation, with the goal of consolidating a peace process.

To the FARC guerrilla army that they not involve the civilian population in their war actions and that they not delay any further the steps for beginning a just and negotiated peace process.

To the international community, particularly to the United Nations structure, that they continue supporting the efforts of our society to resist the prolonging of the armed conflict that is bleeding us dry.

+ Gustavo Girón Higuita
Obispo de Tumaco

+ Hernán Alvarado Solano
Bishop of Guapi

+  Héctor Epalza Quintero
Bishop of Buenaventura

+ Alonso Llano Ruiz
Bishop of Istmina

+ Fidel León Cadavid Marín
Bishop of Quibdo

Military, Police Trick in Mass Arbitrary Detention in Meta

24 Inhabitants of La Julia Detained

Military, Police Trick in Mass Arbitrary Detention

(Translated by
Micheál Ó Tuathail, a CSN Translator)

In the morning hours of last Saturday, 6 August 2006, in La Julia, municipality of Uribe, Meta department, 24 people were captured by means of deception.

Soldiers went from house to house in the small town, inviting the inhabitants to a meeting in which they would tackle community-related issues; to others they announced that they would distribute cattle for collective development. Little by little, the townspeople met in community installations, believing in the credibility of the soldiers¹ authority. "They came to our house and said that they needed a meeting with the entire community to discuss matters that interested us all."

When they arrived at the meeting place, the National Police asked for their identification documents, which the townsfolk readily produced. Minutes later, the police units separated 24 people, whom the authorities maintained needed only to go to La Macarena to make some declarations. Facing the reaction of the inhabitants who demanded an explanation for the separation, one of the uniformed men expressed through a megaphone that they would only be brought to make a declaration before they would be returned again to La Julia. With a lie, they calmed the legitimate reaction of the peasants.

The 24 peasants were transported by helicopter and brought to the SIJIN facilities, without being shown a warrant nor being informed of their legal situation. Only hours later, to their surprise, they were informed of the absurd of the absurd: the Sixth Special Prosecutor of Bogotá had previously proffered a warrant for the presumed crimes of REBELLION and CONSPIRING TO COMMIT A CRIME WITH TERRORIST ENDS.

Those and the inhabitants of La Julia understood the pretensions of the trick. Radio media outlets reported on their neighbours, their long-time friends and acquaintances: "The authorities have captured, in the last hours, 24 presumed FARC fighters, operatives in the municipality of La Uribe, an old refuge of this illegal armed organization, the judicial police stated today" (Š) "According to the statement, the 24 people formed part of a logistical support web for the 40th and 42nd Fronts of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)" [1] <mhtml:mid://00000279/#_ftn1> [1], "According to official sources, the 24 men are members of the 40th Front ŒJacobo Arenas,¹ and they attribute to them various terrorist attacks in the south of the country" [2][2].

As is the norm with mass detention (moreover, deception, unawareness of a legal detention order, and a deprivation of liberty that can be classified as arbitrary), legal validity is founded on false, incoherent, and visibly unsustainable testimonies about the detained, the informers from the 40th and 42nd Fronts, and youths between the ages of 21 and 23, who are not known by the detained nor by the inhabitants of La Julia.

Equally, a judicial police report has appeared that is based only and exclusively on false accusations by youth FARC-EP deserters, testimonies that have not been submitted to the rigour of comparison and logical and sensible examination. In this way, the 24 peasants were singled out, and for them, the difficult task of proving their innocence is only beginning.

During the time in which the public prosecutor and the DIJIN advanced the investigation behind the backs of the 24 peasants, they did not produce a single proof that would be permitted, not even putting in doubt the lying affirmations of the informers.

The 24 inhabitants of La Julia, who today find themselves detained in Bogotá, stunned in amazement, and with the sentiment of an even more delegitimized authority, on the days of the 9th and 10th of August, yielded to the investigation of the prosecutor. There, they all affirmed their identities as civilians without denying that, for many years, the guerrillas have had a presence in the region, unaware that this makes them fighters, or without reiterating that their social labours or leadership does not make them terrorists.

According to church officials, the inhabitants of La Julia, who for 10 years have known the unjustly detained ­ among them two elderly people, bus drivers, farmers, small wage earners and labourers ­, have never been seen carrying arms nor communication radios, wearing military uniforms of any type, charging taxes in the name of the FARC, nor harbouring or transporting arms for the guerrilla, as the young FARC dissenters falsely claimed.

Next, the Special Prosecutor, detached before the DIJIN, ought to resolve the legal situation, defining if he will affect by means of insurance the pre-emptive detention of these persons.

The arbitrary and mass detention of the inhabitants of La Julia is not unlike that of 6000 other Colombians who, in the development of the security policy, have been subject to judicial persecution over the last 4 years.

The modes of conduct of the investigatory entity, such in the assessment of the evidence and in the mechanisms used to effectively enforce the warrants against inhabitants who have committed the sole crime of being social leaders, lenders of services, and inhabiting a conflict zone, contrast with the attitude that is maintained to mask entrenched criminal structures in the State.

We invited you all to urgently direct your communications to:

1. General Prosecutor of the Nation MARIO IGUARAN and to the Sixth Special Prosecutor ALVARO SARMIENTO the Office of International Relations of the General Prosecutor of the Nation (57-1) - 570 20 00 (571) 5702022
Extensions 2003 or 2004. Fax Extensions 2017 or 202

Intervene URGENTLY in order that they guarantee that, given due process, they will release the 24 inhabitants of La Julia due to the failure to apply international standards of legal guarantees in the absence of judicial independence.

2. Attorney General of the Nation, EDGARDO MAYA VILLAZON Tel  (571)
35200 66  /  (571) 3360011 Extension 11522 reygon@procuraduria.gov.co
To intervene immediately in the process so that he confirms the illegality and arbitrary nature of the detentions that have been performed.

3. Vicepresident FRANCISCO SANTOS Tel (571) 33450 77 Fax (571)-566 20 64  / 57- 1 334 18 17
ppdh@presidencia.gov.co. For the illegal and arbitrary detention that occurred in La Julia with the inappropriate conduct of the National Police and the Military Forces.

Bogotá, D.C. August 11 of 2006


Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Also on our web page: www.movimientodevictimas.org

(Translated by Steve Cagan,  a CSN translator )

June 1st. On June 1st, 2006, between 10 and 10:30 AM, as he was traveling in an intermunicipal bus in El Hato in the rural neighborhood of La Margaritas, at Usme 5, the peasant Elibert Poveda V., President of the Agricultural Workers¹ Union of the region of Sumapaz , SINATRAPAZ, was taken off by three hooded subjects, among whom was a lieutenant, who said they were troops of the Sumapaz Batallion 39 of the Army and showed him an arrest warrant. Source: FENSUAGRO ( Federation of Agricultural Workers)

Chaparral Rejects Murder of Community Leader. Within the rural communities of the municipality of El Chaparral, Tolima, there is a growing rejection of the confusing events around the death of the President of the Community Action Board of the rural neighborhood of Aguas Claras and leader of the forest warden families, Tiberio García Cuéllar, who was murdered last Sunday, apparently by troops belonging to the Counter-guerrilla Battalion 31, "Sabastián de Belalcázar," which is part of the Reaction Forice of the Fifth Division of the Army. Source: Día a Día de ANDAS ( National Union Asociation)

Harassment of a family member of  Franklin Castañeda Villacob, member of the Foundation Committee of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, Atlántico Section.

June 2nd. The Army impacts populated zones and carries out arbitrary detentions in Catatumbo. The Peasant Association of Catatumbo, ASCAMCAT, charged that on May 16 at 9:30 AM troops of the Special Plan Energy and Road Battalion No. 10, belonging to the 30th Brigade of the National Army, fired mortars in the rural neighborhood La Cristilina, in the community of El Aserrío (in Teorama, Norte de Santander). The mortars, around eleven, fell in the road that connects this neighborhood with El Aserrío. At his moment, there were children moving along the road. In the same way, on Wednesday, May 17, at 10:30 AM, Army troops opened fire again with mortars towards the place known as Filo Guamo (of the neighborhood La Cristilina); they began to fall on the farms of the area. The population exposed to danger, between habitants of the farms and students were around 55 persons. Source; día a día de Andas

June 3rd. On June 3rd, in Pereira (Risaralda) 45 persons were detained in a National Police operation called "Taking the municipality of Dosquebradas." The operation began in the early hours in that municipality, with close to 100 police men and women, with specialized units that carried out searches, control check-points, and creating a security presence in strategic locations in Dosquebradas, capturing 42 people. Thirty of them were captured in the act, and 12 had arrest warrants for various offenses. According to El Tiempo, in this operation 100 people were arrested, 22 of them in Pereira. "This is the main outcome of the Œtaking¹ of Risaralda, carried out by the police in order to arrest individuals wanted for various offenses. They also confiscated drugs, weapons and pirated compact discs." Source: CCEE

In the morning hours in the rural neighborhood of Santa Lucía, in the jurisdiction of the municipality of Puerto Rico (Meta), untis of the antinarcotics police and untis of army batallion Heros of Arauca detained Rusbel Pérez Gil, Miller Amín Pérez Gil, Luz Angela Avila Tafur and her son, a minor of 4 years of age. Source: Human Rights Commission of the sector of the Guejar River.
June 4th: Repudiation of the death threat against Teresa Muñoz Lopera, Leader of the PDA. The Alternative Deicratic Pole (Polo Democrático Alternativo, PDA) of Antioquia, expresses its strongest rejection of the death threat against Teresa  Muñoz Lopera, a leader of the Antioquia PDA, which is set within the framework of a campaign of death threats against several of our militants and other directors of community groups, students, public university professors and organizations that defend human rights. Source: Día de Día de Andas

June 5th. On June 5th 2006, Gerardo González and his wife, as well as other people who had  charges brought against them at the Headquarters of the Antioquia Prosecutor  that a group of paramilitary headed by a subject named Jorge Ivan Alzate Ramírez‹known by the alias of Claudio Redondo, and someone who has made known that he works with the security bodies of the State, such as La Sijin and El Guala‹had been persecuting them with threatening calls, watching their homes and that they had even had a Ford Blanca pickup come to their house with tinted windows and with three heavily armed subjects inside. Despite their charges and their request that the Prosecutor¹s office take measures to guarantee the lives of these people, no action has been taken. In the light of these facts, Gerardo González felt obliged to change houses various times, and this was also why he is located in the barrio Llanadas in the city of Medellín. Source: The Seeds of Liberty Human Rights Collective (CODEHSEL)

June 6th. Student Detained Arbitrarily. Alejandro Diaz Asprilla, a student at the University of Cundinamarca, Girardot branch was a victim of a hunt by the semi-state group ESTAD. Diaz was detained in the Girardot terminal by the mobile antiriot squadron at 6 in the evening on June 6, 2006. As far as we understand, there were no disturbances nor reasons for detaining him after searching and attacking him. The students of this university have declared that they hope not to be victims of the terrorism that this group is creating.

June 7th. 1st Because the government has not carried out the agreements arrived at with ASONAL JUDICIAL on February 28, 2006, ASONAL JUDICIAL at the national level called for a session of Permanent Assembly to be convened starting May 11, 2006 for an indefinite time, until the government carries out what was agreed upon. 2nd In the development of this session, all of the functionaries of the judicial branch of Medellín declared that they were in Permanent Assembly in the centers of the administration of justice in that city. 3rd At approximately 9:00 AM, the functionaries who were in the Veracruz Building were attacked by agents of ESMAD. The agents of this squadron, headed by sub-lieutenant Raúl Castro Meza entered the building in a violent manner, striking the functionaries, shooting gasses‹apparently teargas‹which led to the building¹s being abandoned. This caused the functionaries to move to the adjacent street, where they have been u to now. One agent of the ESMAD‹badge number 102191‹was particularly aggressive with the functionaries of the Branch. The sub-lieutenant personally launched gas directly at the people in Assembly. Source: ASONAL

In the morning hors José Isaías Mesa, identified by his citizen¹s id card # 17,287,022 from Mesetas (Meta) was detained by units belonging to the mobile brigade No. 12 which is carrying out operations in the area of Vista Hermosa, more exactly near the villages of Santo Domingo and Palmeras. He later turned up dead and with signs of torture in Granada (Meta), where he was handed over to his family for a Christian burial. There is concern in the community because, according to them, the army is operating in association with recognized paramilitaries in the sector. According to the peasants, one of them is Luis Eduardo Hernández Leyton, alias "el Tino," paramilitary commander of Vista Hermosa who was supposedly demobilized on April 12, 2006. According to some versions, during the week of June 3 to 10, 2006, a man called Alemar (nicknamed Cabezas) was murdered under the same circumstances. We will send detailed information to you later. Source: Human Rights Comision of the sector of the Guejar River.

June 9th. Peasant Leader Eliberto Poveda Freed. The National Unitary Agricultural and Cattle-raising Union Federation (Federación Nacional Sindical Unitaria
Agropecuaria­Fensuagro) made known that Eliberto Poveda V., President of the Union of Agricultural Workers of Sumapaz (SINTRAPAZ) who was detained on June 1st, 2006, accused of rebellion, was freed and left jail on June 6, 2006. This shows that the badly named "policy of democratic security" is nothing other than false Source: Día a Día de Andas

In the farm Tres Piedras, in the rural neighborhood of Chuspas, municipality of Ríonegro, a 13-year-old girl, Leidy Castillo Ascencio and her mother Maria Eugenia Ascencio, 36 years old were murdered. They were the daughter and wife of Rodolfo Castillo, Vice-president of the Agrarian Association of Santander, AsOGRAS. In the same act, his house was burned. Source: Fensuagro

June 12th. Aggression against defenders of human rights continue in Barrancabermeja and Magdalena Medio. The Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (CREDHOS) rejects and denounces before domestic and international public opinion the constant persecution of which the defenders of human rights have been victims in the city of Barrancabermeja on the part of presumed "social cleansing" groups. In recent days there has also been a proliferation of threats of leaders of people¹s organizations and the left in the port. Source: Día a día de Andas.

June 13th. En Medellín, don Gerardo González went out to make a phone call, and near his house met up with a woman who had an arepa stand. While he was talking with her they were surprised by four subjects who proceeded to shoot at them with firearms, murdering them. These events keep happening despite the complaints which have been presented to the authorities in an attempt to have urgent actions taken to guarantee the lives of these people, and at the time that in our country a process of demobilization and re-insertion of the members of the paramilitary groups is being carried out; Medellín is said to be an example of this. Source: Seeds of Liberty Human Rights Collective, CODEHSEL

At the National University of Bogotá, a threat was pasted up in various schools, among them the law school and engineering, that we take the liberty of translating next:

United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia
Carlos Castaño Bloc
To the Community

Let all the good citizens who work day by day for peace and the progress of our country receive a fraternal greeting.

It is a civic duty for us to condemn the acts of vandalism that have been carried out by a small group of maladjusted people who do not represent the interests of the university community, and on the contrary disturb academic, scientific and administrative activities, putting in danger the physical safety of the students and administrators, and if this weren¹t enough, committing offenses against the national patrimony. We were born in Colombia, we grew up here, and we are training ourselves to eradicate these acts in an effective and definitive manner. Our duty is to defend our nation and eliminate her enemies. We cannot allow an incoherent and criminal minority to destroy our beloved university.
For the aforementioned reasons, the Carlos Castaño Bloc of the self-defense unity of Colombia resolves:
To execute all those who participate in terrorist acts that threaten the university and the nation.
To eradicate the eventual growth of the little militias that call themselves "clans."
To cleanse the university of the influence that groups at the margin of the law like the FRAC-EP and the ELN have had.
To support the process that has been advancing to eliminate the consumption and sale of illicit substances on university property
To consolidate the Carlos Caataño Bloc as a living force for the defense of the national within the university
Dear citizens rest assured of the overwhelming carrying out of our social duty.
Source: FCSPP

Assassins traveling on a motorcycle tried to murder Alvaro Mercado (a union leader) when he was entering his house, located in Barrio Villa del Rosario in Valledupar, in the department of Cesar. He managed to save himself by taking shelter in his house. Members of the Police who came to the house managed to detain one of the assassins who was part of the group of aggressors. Hours after the event had occurred two more assassins were captured, and they were put under the control of the General prosecutor of the city of Valledupar. The same day, Tuesday, June 13, 2006, a number of armed men who were traveling in three vehicles and who the community identifies as members of paramilitary groups that operate in the area went to the house of the union leader and negotiator Estivenson Avila, located in Valledupar, asked for him and not finding him waited a while and then left. Days later, assassins who traveled on motorcycles were asking about the union leader Ruben Morrón at his house in the city of Barranquilla; this un ionist had already received death threats. Source: SINTRAMIENERGETICA
José Alirio Cardona, a contractor of the Pereira Energy Firm, has been accused of terrorism for expressing his position in opposition to the government of Alvaro Uribe Vélez. Source: SINTRAEMDES

June 14: The national headquarters of ANTHOC received the following threat which we take the liberty of transcribing:

The re-election of President Uribe who is the true leader of our sacred nation and therefore it is our obligation to collaborate with him so that everything can move forward in this country. We are informing you that we are attentive to every movement that you may make in opposition to this sacred process and we demand that you leave this country since all you do is disturb and bother our leader with your tantrums and accusations, it¹s not more than light talk.

Right now have all your leaders in our sights in every one of the departments where you have people, we¹re tired of so many false "unionists" who camouflage themselves with this story of human rights. We will be with the President as long as he considers it necessary, but not without beforehand exterminating to the last man the sons of bitches unionists and communists who exist, and then our true demobilization will take place. So that you can see that we¹re not bullshitting we¹re gicing you some of the names but these are not all of those we want to fumigate and against whom we declare toal and frontal war:
Yesit Camacho, Juan Flores, Alberto Laines, Alberto Meneses, Wilson Pérez, María Helena Tobón, Carmen Mayusa, Juan Osorio, Ediomar Botello, Luís Santana, Gladis Criado, William Vanegas, Angel Salas, Alfredo Castro, Aurelio Ladino, Antonio ger, Lus Erenia Saac, Lina Gamarra, Hector Alvis, Wilson Narvaez, Bertulfo Solarte, Nubia Fonseca, Martha Lozano, Ortalides Castro, Gaston Tesillo, Gilberto Martínes, Fernando Santamaría, Ligia Galeano, Raquel Salinas, José Merino, Ricardo Barón, Martha Ligia Castro, Carlos Bermea, Arnulfo Parra, Billy Rusbel Beltrán, Rosa Luz Palencia, Edgar Pua, Wilson, Gutiérrez, among other, since this isn¹t even half of those on their knees whom we want to fumigate.
You are our closest military objective.
On a footing of war of blood and fire
Long live the reelection of Dr. Uribe
Colombia free of communists
The armed wing of the ex-auto-defenses
Source: FCSPP

June 15th: Army troops occupy houses of peasants in Arauca and Venezuelan military torture a Colombian citizen. Humanidad Vigente (Current Humanity) accused troops of the National Army of occupying farms and dwellings of peasants and inhabitants of the rural areas of Panamá Arauca, under the pretext of the construction of an oil pipeline. On the border with Venezuela, military personnel of that country tortured a Colombian citizen in order to get him to confess to his suppose connection to the guerrillas. Source: Día día de Andas

June 16th: In the settlement named Brisas del Bosque, located in the district of Aguablanca near the Colonia Nariñense and Barrio Mojica, more than 1,200 families built improvised dwellings in the last four months. While they had meetings with functionaries of the municipal government in order to resolve the problem of shortage of housing and peacefully leaving the area where there is a projected construction of an ecological park, they were removed violently by the metropolitan police and the mobil antiriot squadron, ESMAD. People who were sleeping in the early morning of Friday, June 16, 2006, woke at 3 in the morning to confront the nightmare of hundreds of police firing gas and hitting everyone with great cruelty, knocking down their shacks with backhoes and burning houses of straw, wood and plastic sheet, with all their belongings inside. Source: FCSPP

In Montañita (Caquetá) soldiers who were passing for paramilitaries attacked, tortured, insulted and threatened Norvey Viuche Ortiz, accusing him of being a guerrilla and saying they were authorized to murder him, dress him in camouflage, and make him pass for a guerrilla. In the middle of the blows, Norbey asked them about a brother of his whom they had previously detained, and they answered that he was dead. Source: CCEE

At 11 in the morning, in the rural neighborhood of Alto del Oso, in the municipality of Restrepo (Valle) Esperanza Mutis, deputy treasurer of the executive board of AMUC (Asociación Municipal de Usuarios Campesinos‹Municipal Association of Peasant Landholders) was murdered. A man dressed in straw hat and with his face covered with a handkerchief approached her and shot her several times in the chest in front of her sons and daughters. Source: Anuc UR

According to a communiqué given by the National Police, Juan Francisco Gamboa Medina, a youth whose identity was given to the media by the commandant of the police, General Luis Alberto Gómez as Juan Carlos Duque, alias El Rolo, was found dead, "hanging from a ceramic towel holder" in a bathroom of the SIJIN (police intelligence unit) of Bogotá. He had been arrested on Tuesday, June 6 when he was giving a presentation of a midterm exam in the District University, where he studied electronic engineering. Despite this fact, the way in which he was presented to the mass media, and the very removal of the cadaver have sown serious doubts about what happened in the SIJIN installation last Wednesday, which has made the Lawyers¹ Collective (Colectivo de Abagdos) demand that an exhaustive, profound and impartial investigation be carried out to determine the true facts as well as the responsibilities, as prescribed by the regulations. Source: CCAJr While he was at his farm, located in the rural neighborhood of Los Alpinos, in the jurisdiction of the municipality of Montañita, Department of Caquetá. Where he had gone to search for three cows of his that were missing, the peasant Norvey Viuche Ortiz was approached by two soldiers, one of them Black, with a scar on his left hand, the other dark-complexioned, who pointed their guns at him, used bad words with him, and made him get off the horse on which he was traveling. Then they took him to a field of stubble, and made him take off his clothing, accusing him of being a guerrilla. These individuals later tried to pass for paramilitaries, which showed that they were mixed between the army and the paras. One of them kicked him several times, after which the other solder asked him what militia he belonged to and which commander had sent him there. Later the other soldier returned with a lieutenant who identified himself as Hemerson Jiménez. This man wore a gold necklace and a silver watch, and had thick eyebrows He insulted hm, askn g if he knew commander Wilmer; he also asked for his papers. Norvey told him that he had them in the house. Then the lieutenant said that he was a guerrilla because the guerrillas never carry papers, that the best ting would be for him to enter into the reinsertion plan, he told him that if he didn¹t cooperate he was going to kill him, then he made him get on his knees and answer three times, that if he didn¹t he would kill him. After this he put on gloves and hit him in the cheek, after which he grabbed him from behind, making him bend over and hitting him with his knee in the stomach. All three rained blows on him. The soldiers told him that they had permission to kill him and dress him in camouflage like a guerrilla to make his death legal. A minute later they made him lie face down for a while, they stood him up and took him to where there were eight soldiers. One of them grabbed him violently, took off his shirt, tying him with it around the neck to the point that he nearly was hanged, Later they had their boots on his neck, insulting him, telling him that since he didn¹t want to talk now they were going to kill him, putting the barrel of the rifle in his mouth, saying that it was a shame that they didn¹t have a chainsaw to cut him into pieces. Norvey¹s brother was with the soldiers; he asked about his brother; the soldiers told him that they had killed him. They continued humiliating him. After some time the lieutenant said that they were going to let him go. Then they blindfolded him with his shirt, the made him walk some 40 meters, they put him to his knees, and they left afterwards. Source: Fensuagro

At nearly 10:30 AM, in the rural neighborhood of Arenas Altas in San José de Apartadó four soldiers entered the house of Rodrigo Rodríguez and once again threatened him with death. During previous days, helicopters had machine-gunned the settlement. The XVII Brigade indicated that they were bombing a group of guerrillas. These people had to be rescued by a commission headed by the Defender of the People on June 12. Soldiers told two people in San José that they were preparing a big massacre in order to be able to advance, since during that period they had not been able to advance and defeat the guerrillas, that the only way to do it was a big massacre so the people would leave the area. Source: Día a día de Andas

June 19th: Gloria Amparo Suárez, Member of the OFP, Threatened. The People¹s Feminine Organization (Organización Feminina Popular, OFP) of Barrancabermeja, denounces the threat against our cmpanion Gloria Amparo Suárez, a member of the People¹s Feminine Organization for 15 years, a member of the leadership team, the mother of two children. OFP

June 20th: Mister Bianor Calderón was brutally murdered. This leader carried out the responsibility of Preident of the community action board (junta de acción comunal) and was a leader of the sector called La Esperanza III, in the north of Bucaramanga. He was distinguished as a social and community servant. We denounce this act and put the responsibility of the demobilized members of the so-called auto-defenses. Source: Control Committee of the North of Bucaramanga
June 23rd: In the morning hours in the rural neighborhood of Palmeras in the jurisdiction of the municipality of Vista Hermosa, the minors Yeiler Andrés Cubides Zuluaga, 15 years old, a native of the municipality of Mesetas (Meta) and José David Baquero, 16 years old were detained by units of the Mobil Brigade No. 12. Source: Human Rights Commission of the sector of the Guejar River.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006



(Translated by Micheál Ó Tuathail, a CSN Translator)

Valledupar, Colombia, 18 July 2006

The undersigned NGOs and national and international organizations strongly condemn the repeated violations of international humanitarian law by the public forces of the Colombian State, which we have been able to confirm from within the Kankuamo Indigenous Reserve.

We are particularly concerned with the militarization of the territories, in open violation of the Colombian Constitution, which recognizes indigenous authorities as administrators of their territories.

We have verified that military bases are located alongside civilian constructions, putting at risk the physical, spiritual, cultural, and psychological integrity of the Kankuamo communities of the area. This situation exhibits disrespect for the autonomy of indigenous peoples over their territories. The most profound case is that of the military base in the community of Guatapurí, which is located beside the only school in the area; moreover, the location is a sacred site for four indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Kankuamos, Arhuacos, Kogis, and Wiwa).

Given the preceding, and after having visited the communities of Atanquez, Chemesquemena, Guatapurí, and La Mina and meeting with local indigenous spiritual and institutional authorities, we would like to express our strong condemnation of the evident human rights violations that persist against the Kankuamo indigenous people.

We have collected direct testimonials from the relatives of men and women unjustly imprisoned and threatened with violence; accordingly, we demand the liberation of all prisoners, affirming that we will continue to condemn this situation at the national and international levels in order to bring to light the crimes against humanity whose victims are the Kankuamo indigenous.

Days prior to our visit to the Kankuamo territory, meetings were sought with the municipal authorities of Valledupar and departmental authorities of Cedar with the objective of bringing to their knowledge the impressions collected during this mission in order to force the following through of the agreements reached by the mayor, Ciro Pupo Castro, during the first mission, which occurred in the month of November, 2005. A meeting occurred on 18 July of the present year, with the unjustified absence of the mayor and with the presence of the Government Secretary, Jose Luis Urón Márquez, where a list was compiled of the name and identification number of each of the participants as well as their pictures.

During this meeting, the following promises were made, assumed by the Departmental Administration:

1.- Relocation of the public forces situated in sacred sites and zones protected by international humanitarian law, such as schools and health centers.

2.- Respect for the law of previous consultation and the approval of the indigenous authorities of the four peoples of the Sierra Nevada in spite of whatever intervention in their territories, especially in front of the construction of the hydroelectric plant Besotes.

3.- To move forward management with the municipal government to eliminate the Corregidurías  (official Colombian government at the local government  in indigeniur lands) of the Kankuamo guards given that they interfere with the autonomy and integrity of self-government.

4.- To move forward management with the ICBF in order to adapt the evaluation system and function of Community Homes to traditional practises, which will improve the economic conditions of community mothers.

Finally, the Secretary of the Departmental Government was made to guarantee the entrance of all participants of the mission, with their journalistic equipment, to the Valledupar Judicial Prison on 18 of July in order to verify the situation of the detained Kankuamos, men and women irregularly and in some cases arbitrarily victims of unjustified  public  identification.

As per the aforementioned agreement, the mission arrived at the agreed time (15:00 hrs) at the Penitentiary Center; however, the prison director, HUGHES MAYA, following instructions of the Director General of the IPEC denied the delegation access, confusing them with contradictory statements regarding their entry passes. This obliges us to think that the human conditions inside the penal center have worsened since the first mission of November, 2005.

The failure to comply with this simple agreement puts in doubt the credibility of the other accords reached. Given the characteristics of the pictures and the taking of names and identification numbers of the members of the mission, during the meeting with the departmental authorities, we hold ourselves responsibly for the integrity and security of all members of the mission.

For this, the NGOs, political, social, and union organizations who participated in this mission affirm that they will fundamentally strengthen their accompaniment of the Kankuamo people in everything related to arbitrary and unjustified detentions, the realization of mega-projects in the reserve which threaten the integrity and sacred value of indigenous territories, where those who live there have the rights to administer and manage their resources in accordance with international agreements and the 1991 Colombian Constitution.













Movimiento por la Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo - MODEP














Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Movement of Victims calls for keeping the UN Human Rights Office without conditions

The Movement for Victims of Crimes of the State calls for the United
Nation's Office of High Commission on Human Rights in Colombia to remain in
Colombia without conditions put forth by the Colombian government.

See also our web page: www.movimientodevictimas.org

Due to the serious and persistent humanitarian crisis, the United Nations
High Commission for Human Rights has been present in our country since 1996.
The Office's mandate has been to follow the human rights situation in
Colombia, offer cooperation, give technical assistance to Colombian
authorities and also to present analyses of the situation to the United
Nation's Commission on Human rights. All of this is done in order to
achieve the complete implementation of recommendations made by experienced
international organizations. The length of the Office's existence is
guaranteed until October 2006 with the possibility of renewing its mandate.

The reports made by the Office of High Commission have made it possible for
the international community as well as the Colombian society to have
knowledge and information year after year about the evolution of the human
and humanitarian rights situation. This allows them to suggest mechanisms
and alternatives to the Colombian government in order to improve the high
level of violations of fundamental rights. The Office has reiterated that
said recommendations must be implemented in order to surmount the serious
humanitarian crisis in which Colombia finds itself.

The Office has expressed concern about the following: the relationship of
civilians to the conflict, the increasing militarization of civilian life,
the process of reinsertion and other political situations which compromise
the rights of the people. These concerns make the Office's presence a point
of support for those who work in human rights as well as for the victims.
This makes the presence of th Office in Colombia indispensable, especially
at this time as paramilitarism is being legalized and the authority of the
State is being consolidated, leaving new victims every day.

The III National Meeting of Victims of Crimes of the State calls for Dr.
Juan Pablo Corlazolli, the new representative of the United Nation's Office
of High Commission in Colombia, to continue the work that the Office has
being doing up until now—defending the rights of victims with regards to
truth, justice and reparation. Only such defense of rights will contribute
to the making of a lasting peace in Colombia, overcoming the problem of
impunity. This is a commitment which was expressed by Dr. Michael Frühling
at the II Meeting of Victims of Crimes of the State.

The national government has expressed its hope that the new Commission will
avoid „critical attitudes that have characterized its work in the past“.
Such declarations worry us as they hide the intention to place conditions on
impartiality as well as on the mandate of the Office. Due to this concern,
we call on the national and international community which surrounds the
Office to demand that the Colombian government maintain the permanent
existence of the Office and that it respects the mandate and goals of the

III National Meeting of Victims of the State
July 7 - 9, 2006

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

The World Bank against Bio- security

The World Bank Against Bio-security
Silvia Ribeiro
(Translation from the Spanish by Dan Brown, a CSN translator)

ALAI AMLATINA 19-07-06, México DF ­ the fundamental role of the World Bank is not to act as a financial institution, but rather to influence the politics of the (client) countries, smoothing the road so that private corporations can later act with legal guarantees inside these nations.  They do this with a mixture of theoretically ³soft² loans (with all types of conditions and that, when attempted to be repaid, cost the blood of the receiving countries), a percentage of common loans and another percentage of ³Forgivable Loans².

These latter loans that appear as donations are, in reality, the most expensive because it is these that prepare the terrain for the advance of the trans-nationals in areas where they otherwise would not have been able to enter or which would have resulted much more costly to them in terms of reputation and economic costs.  Typical examples of this last form of activity are the projects financed through the Global Environment Fund (GEF).  This organization is administered by the (World) Bank, together with the UNEP (Un Environment Program) and the UNDP (UN Development Fund).

Found within the area of Biodiversity of the GEF, for example, are the Mesoamerican Biologics Corridor and other examples of the legitimization of the industrial use of biodiversity, the justification of bio-piracy and the displacement, in the name of ³conservation², of peasants and indigenous people from their ancestral territories, along with the alienation of community forest management systems, introducing them to the ³environmental services market².  In this context, the promotion and justification of transgenetic organisms operated through the badly named bio-security projects cannot be far behind.

The GEF has wrought a deluge of criticisms around this topic in recent years, along with the UNEP-GEF projects on bio-security that have been strongly criticized by civilian organizations en practically all countries where they have operated in Latin America, Africa and Asia.   The common denominator has been that these projects, under the cover of training projects and multi-sector dialogue, in reality, established the bases for bio-security standards that favor the global interests of the few transnational genetic engineering companies.

In a new exploit, the GEF is now considering the approval of multi-million dollar projects in Africa and Latin America, whose principal objectives are to legitimize the introduction of transgenetic crops in areas where the native counterparts of these foods originated, and or areas where these crops are of particular importance for the peasant economies of ³megadiverse² countries .

In the case of Latin America the goal is to ¨train¨ the governments of Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Costa Rica to manage, on the one hand, the transgenetic contamination resulting from the introduction of genetically modified corn, potatoes, yucca, rice and cotton, and on the other hand, to manage critical public opinion regarding transgenetics, through cost-benefit analysis and the standardization of so a called scientific basis ³adequate² to manage the contamination.  In no part of the project is it considered that the best ³bio security² to prevent contamination is to not permit transgenetic crops, as demanded by millions of peasants, indigenous peoples, environmentalists, consumers and responsible scientists of these countries.  On the contrary, the basic supposition is that the transgenetics are already there or will inevitably be introduced.  This is accompanied by the brutal aggravating factor that, in this case, four of these mentioned crops, have their place of origin in the involved countries, where they have been the product of the adaptive work of peasants throughout thousands of years.  Rice, although originally from Asia, has also been adopted by peasants from the region for whom, together with the other crops in question, it constitutes the base of their economies, cultures and ways of life.

The Project will be coordinated by the International Tropical Agriculture Center (one of 18 public international centers of the CGIAR  system, that according to its mission, dedicates itself to support peasant agriculture instead of sabotaging it), along with governmental, university and private institutions in the (subject) countries.  Among the advisors, front organizations for the transnational corporations that are the principal beneficiaries of the project can be found.  

In the case of Mexico, the counterparts (of the above agencies) are the National Commission for Biodiversity, Sagarpa  and Cibiogem .  Maria Francisca Acevedo and Amanda Galvez are the contacts.  The project was sent for ³expert² revision to Ariel Alvarez Morales of Cinvestav .  In the comments that he directs to the GEF, he says, for example:  ³I don¹t agree that crops modified by modern biotechnology are the most important factor in the medium term.  They are so in the present!  The challenges in the short and medium term are the transgenetic plants that can produce pharmaceuticals, as well as transgenetic fish and arthropods.  Because of this, I see the necessity to include these areas in the program budgetŠ.²

Or, in other words: it is not enough for Mexico to become the experiment of the trans-nationals with the resultant contamination of native corn, but rather that it should also be a pioneer in other devastating forms of contamination.

The Project presented to the GEF does not include, at least until now, the suggestions made by Alvarez.  Nevertheless, without doubt, it reveals his real intentions:  to save time for the (trans-national) companies by preparing arguments to justify new generations of transgenetics.

Civil society is on alert and has begun a broad campaign on both continents to stop these projects, with the first denunciation elaborated by the African Center for Bio-security, Grain , the ETC Group and The Network for an America Free of transgenetics.  More information can be obtained through these groups.

- Silvia Ribeiro is an investigator for the ETC Group .

Amlatina Information Service (Agencia Latinoamericana de Informacion ­ ALAI)
URL: http://alainet.org

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Colombia Support Network
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phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621
e-mail:  csn@igc.org



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