PARAMILITARIES MURDER A MEMBER OF THE PEACE COMMUNITY
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, a CSN volunteer translator)
The continual killings, attacks and threats against our operation have not stopped. Every manner of destruction is used against us. They are using social investment as a war weapon, along with pressure, killing and threats of the paramilitaries, acting in conjunction with the armed forces. Our historic obligation, considering our alternative search for respect for the civilian population in the midst of the armed conflict, is to report all of their deeds, so that humanity may one day judge these terrorist actions. Once again we have to report a new murder in contravention of the humanitarian zones and against our community:
--Today, Monday, May 14 at 7 a.m., in front of the bus terminal in Apartado, FRANCISCO PUERTA was murdered by the paramilitaries. He was a farm leader and the ex-coordinator of the humanitarian zone in the town of Miramar. Two paramilitaries came up to the store that’s in front of the terminal. He was sitting there and they shot him several times. Then they just walked off as if nothing had happened, in the midst of the police that were all around.
In the same way, today at 7:30 a.m., there was a group of six paramilitaries, dressed in civilian clothes and carrying long guns, in El Mangolo, along with another four paramilitaries, also dressed in civilian clothes and carrying pistols. There were soldiers and police within two minutes of this paramilitary presence.
--On May 13, a businessman from Apartado came to San Josesito at about 10:40 a.m., looking to buy some pigs. He told several people in the community that the paramilitaries are talking in the neighborhoods of Apartado and saying that they are going to carry out a massacre in the Peace Community.
--On May 9 at 7:10 a.m., three farmwomen who belong to the community were detained by three paramilitaries in El Mangolo. El Mangolo is located as you are leaving Apartado heading for San Jose. The three men were dressed in civilian clothes and carried pistols and radios for communication. They said they were “Aguilas Negras” (a new organization of paramilitaries). They told the women they had been looking for them and they were going to kill them. They took them to where the road leads away from Apartado, a place where the police have a checkpoint.
There the police asked for their identification and started calling by radio, giving the information on the three of them. The answer on the radio was that these women were not the ones they were looking for and that the police should note it down and let them go. Immediately the three paramilitaries took photos of them told them that if they said anything about what happened, they would kill them; that they were going to continue to be around the area because the orders are to start killing the people in that son-of-a-bitching peace community.
The paramilitaries continued to ridicule them and told them that they had a list, that they had gotten away this time but that they shouldn’t claim any triumph because the paramilitaries had already been ordered to go into San Josesito, la Union and the other towns and carry out a massacre.
The women told the paramilitaries that they ought not to do that and the paramilitaries answered angrily that it had already been coordinated and the order had been given and that you don’t fool with the police and with the Army. You have to respect them, they said, and they said the Army and the police had already given them the names of those who were to be killed.
The paramilitaries asked the women about some of the leaders of the community and their wives or partners. They said that those sons of bitches would not get away, that all the area of San Jose was entirely guerrilla, and that after two years of having the police there, there were only a few that would work with them. The others all were pimps and collaborators with the guerrillas.
After keeping them there for half an hour and continuing to insult and threaten them, they let them go, repeating that they would be killed if they said anything about what happened.
These facts are proof of the murderous paramilitary actions that the government is trying to hide. A new wave of killings of leaders of the humanitarian zones is starting, with new deadly acts against the community, as we have reported before.
This plan of extermination by the government against our community has failed again, as we do not intend to back down on our principles. We continue more firmly than ever. We are encouraged to continue openly with our search and we have the solidarity of many people at the national and international level—people who believe in a different and just world. The work of FRANCISCO and his memory give us the strength to continue in even greater solidarity with his children and his family.
PEACE COMMUNITY OF SAN JOSE DE APARTADO
May 14, 2007
CSN recommends that you send messages to your Members of Congress expressing outrage for this killing and question if the paramilitary demobilization really took place in that region of Apartado . Call for a full and impartial investigation into the killing of Francisco Puerta and into the reported paramilitary threats against the Peace Community. Request from the following Colombian authorities to take a decisive action to confront and dismantle paramilitaries operating in this region and to break their relations with the security forces.
President of the Republic
Señor Presidente Álvaro Uribe Vélez
Presidente de la República, Palacio de Nariño, Carrera 8 No.7-2, Bogotá, Colombia
Fax: +57 1 337 5890 / 342 0592
Salutation: Dear President Uribe
Minister of the Interior and Justice
Dr. Carlos Holguín Sardi
Ministro del Interior y Justicia
Ministerio Del Interior Y De Justicia, Carrera 9a. No. 14-10, Bogotá D.C. Colombia
Fax: +57 1 560 46 30
Salutation: Dear Sir
Dr. Mario Germán Iguarán Arana
Fiscal General de la Nación, Fiscalía General de la Nación
Diagonal 22B (Av. Luis Carlos Galán No. 52-01) Bloque C, Piso 4
Fax: + 57 1 570 2000 (a message in Spanish will ask you to enter extension 2017)
Salutation: Dear Mr Iguarán
Human Rights Ombudsman
Sr. Volmar Antonio Pérez Ortiz, Defensor del Pueblo, Defensoría del Pueblo
Calle 55, No. 10-32/46 oficina 301, Bogotá, Colombia
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621