About our logo


The latest news for the struggle for human rights for all in Colombia

Share with Friends

Saturday, July 21, 2007


On July 20, 2007, three leaders of the Peace Community, GILDARDO TUBERQUIA, JESUS EMILIO TUBERQUIA Y ANIBAL DURANGO,  were stopped  by 2 men dressed as civilians in San Jose de Apartado. The men asked the three for identification, to which they replied they would not identify themselves to these men. At once, two uniformed policemen appeared and asked the three for their identification cards. When they give them to the police, the police passed them to the two civilians, one of whom wrote down their personal data in a notebook.

The three, who are dedicated leaders of the Peace Community, returned to San Josecito and called the Public Defender’s office demanding that the police identify the two civilians and to provide an immediate presence, which they said they could not do because of the holiday week-end.

The Peace Community then send a delegation to the Police Station in San Jose and asked the Commander to identify the two civilians. After first denying that there were two civilians with the police, the spokesperson at the Police Station alleged that the two dressed as civilians were part of the SIJIN (Secret Police). The Police also tried to deny that they had to follow the requirements of the Constitutional Court and said that they had called the two men dressed as civilians to come to the Police Station to meet them. After waiting for two hours the Peace Community leaders decided that no one was coming to meet them.

Lieutenant Colonel MARCO TULIO AVENDANO, Commander of the Police in Uraba, on July 21st told CSN that he is personally responsible for the safety of the members of the Peace Community, he confirmed that the two men dressed of civilians  were members of the SIJIN, but refused to commit himself to requiring that they identified themselves to Members of the Peace Community.

Please write to Lieutenant Colonel Avendano  to tell him we expect him to follow true on his commitment to see that the Members of the Peace Community are protected,  and that paramilitary forces such as the Aguilas Negras, will not be permitted to act in the region. Tell him to require police of any kind to identify themselves when they ask for documents of Peace Community Members, that you expect the Peace Community leaders to be protected. Let them know we are watching to make sure that nothing happens to these important leaders of the Peace Community. Also please let your Members of Congress know that you are concerned about the continuing paramilitary operations, apparently supported by the Colombian Police and Army,  in the region of San Jose de Apartado.

Please  write  respectfully to :
Your Senators and Representatives see our website www.colombiasupport.net

US Embassy :
 Ambassador B@ state.gov


Liutenant Colonel Marco Tulio Avendano-Lara
Police Comander Uraba

President Alvaro Uribe-Velez

[OR to better send e-mail to Uribe login to http://www.presidencia.gov.co and click on ESCRIBALE AL PRESIDENTE at the bottom of the page.

Vice-president Francisco Santos

Vice-Minister of Defense  Sergio Jaramillo-Caro

Secretario de Gobierno de Antioquia
Jorge Mejia-Martinez jmejiama@gobant.gov.co

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

Vice-Minister of Defense  Sergio Jaramillo-Caro



Thursday, July 19, 2007

Canadians Say NO to Deepened Relations with Colombia's Uribe Regime


Canadians Say NO to Deepened Relations with Colombia's Uribe Regime

 Public Statement from La Chiva

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Colombia today <http://pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?id=1755>   [1] and formally began free trade negotiations. As people concerned with the current situation in Colombia, we reject the Canadian government's plan to deepen ties with the country's current regime, led by president Alvaro Uribe Velez, a regime that has the worst human rights record in the continent and has demonstrated collusion with narco-traffickers and paramilitary death squads. While fundamental human rights continue to be disregarded, the Canadian government should have no role in Colombia aside from condemning the behavior of the Uribe regime.

1. Colombia continues to be, by far, the most dangerous place in the world for trade unionists. Each year, the country surpasses the number of trade unionists killed in all other countries combined! Amnesty International <http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engamr230012007>  reports, "cases in which clear evidence of responsibility is available indicates that in 2005 around 49 per cent of human rights abuses against trade unionists were committed by paramilitaries and some 43 per cent directly by the security forces" [2].

2. Uribe has consistently and publicly labeled his opposition (including members and supporters of political parties, social movements, human rights workers, trade unionists, and anti-free trade activists) as "terrorists" and/or "communists in disguise." Opposition to specific policies has resulted in threats, intimidation, forced displacement, and death for many activists in Colombia. This sort of wreckless behavior by a head of state demonstrates a contempt for democratic political inclusion and the intent to further divide Colombian society into those 'with' or 'against' the president. Moreover, Uribe's remarks have often encouraged supposedly 'demobilized' paramilitaries to commit further crimes against their victims.

3. Rather than a negotiated peace, Uribe prefers a military solution to the conflict in Colombia and has militarized the countryside through his 'Democratic Security' policy, one that seeks to assemble an 'army of informants' to root out opposition groups and individual citizens who oppose one or all aspects of Uribe's policies, all under the guise of counterinsurgency. The Democratic Security policy denies civilians their right to non-combatant status and is, therefore, against international law.

4. The so-called 'peace process' is a mockery insofar as it lacks peace. While the regime chooses the military option against the FARC,  for example, it opts for a process of impunity and material reward for right-wing paramilitaries who 'demobilize'. Impunity granted to demobilized paramilitaries only encourages the recurrence of human rights violations. While Harper and other Uribe allies applaud the 'peace process', many paramilitaries remain active and continue to further threaten and intimidate their victims. See more here <http://colombiasupport.net/news/2007/06/flowers-for-criminals-impunity-for.html>  [3]. Canada's support for the paramilitary peace process is also its complicity in the violence that has continued in spite of it.

5. The recently publicized 'para-political' scandal has tied many Colombian security officials (including the head of the DAS) and government members to paramilitary groups. The paramilitary peace process has revealed many of these links, which human rights activists and the international solidarity movement have claimed (and proven) for many years. The scandal is well documented and has reached such high levels of the Colombian establishment that it has threatened the US Congress' ratification of a US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.  

6. The energy and mining sectors, largely dominated by Canadian multinationals, has seriously affected the livelihoods and health of communities in Colombia. To make way for multinational mining operations and oil and gas exploration, many communities have been forcibly displaced, and measures implemented to protect the environment have been frequently disregarded. For more information, see here <http://www.miningwatch.ca/index.php?/Colombia>  [4].  
7. The so-called 'war on drugs' continues to target supply rather than demand, and billions of dollars have been poured into eradication programs, the results of which have only been to displace thousands through the indiscriminate spraying of crops. Meanwhile, Plan Colombia and Plan Patriota (I and II) have lined the pockets of many US multinationals, such as Monsanto, while the countryside is blanketed in Roundup Ultra and Cosmoflux. Meanwhile, the price and production of cocaine have not been affected <http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/article.aspx?id=929>  [5].

8. According to the  UNHCR  <http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/publ/opendoc.htm?tbl=PUBL&amp;id=4444d3ce20>   , "with 2 to 3 million displaced persons, Colombia presents the highest number of internally displaced people in the western hemisphere, and the second largest displaced population in the world after Sudan" [6]. Displacement through the 'drug war,' the 'dirty war' against trade unionists and human rights activists, and the economic war for neoliberalism has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe that will take generations from which to recover.  

In light of Colombia's current situation and the role of the Uribe regime in exacerbating these conditions, we demand:

1. That the Canadian government condemn rather than reward violators of human rights.
2. That the Canadian government refuse to enter into economic negotiations before serious political and social concerns are addressed.

3. That Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and its development agency (CIDA) cease to equate economic development with the interests of Canadian multinationals, especially in the mining, oil and gas, and telecommunications sectors. The Canadian government's latest foreign policy shift in focus from Africa to Latin America must not be for the interests of Canadian multinationals. And Latin America is no one's 'backyard'!

4. That the Canadian government recognize the fallacy of the Uribe government's 'peace process' with the paramilitaries and the far-reaching effects of the 'para-political' scandal, facts that have prompted even the US Congress to seriously reconsider the ratification of the US-Colombia free trade agreement. If anything, Canada should be distancing itself from a peace process many condemn to be a mere charade aimed at giving flowers to the criminals and injustice to the victims.

5. That the public debate on the issue of free trade with Colombia include the fact that such an agreement would make Uribe and the elite interests he represents in Colombia only stronger, making the prospects for a fair and negotiated peace in Colombia even further away.

By extending the surreptitious hand of free trade and friendly relations to Uribe's regime in Colombia, Canada is sending the wrong message. It is saying to the world that Canadians put commercial interests above serious political and social concerns, an attitude that will only breed more misery and strife and thereby increase insecurity for Colombians and Canadians alike. Furthermore, the notion of 'Canada the good' will remain another of Canada's great myths. As long as the Harper government continues along this path, one in which Canada rewards gross human rights violations with economic 'partnerships,' Canadians can no longer see themselves as honest brokers on the international stage.

Canadians say NO to impunity and rewards for the criminals!
Canadians say NO to free trade with Colombia!

Suggested Actions

* Write to your Member of Parliament and the Prime Minister of Canada, urging that the Canadian government put human rights and the well-being of Colombians before the interests of Canadian multinational corporations. Tell them that Canada's international reputation is on the line when it does business with the worst violator of human rights in Latin America:



Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
K1A 0A2

Fax: 613-941-6900

* Talk to your friends and family about Uribe's Colombia and the effects of FTAs in general.

* Get involved with a local Colombia solidarity movement -- WE ARE NOW MOBILIZING!

La Chiva is a Colombia Solidarity Group based in Alberta, Canada. Colombia Support Network

How Many More Dead, Mr. President?

By Claudia López
Jueves 19 de Julio  http://www.eltiempo.com/opinion/columnistas/claudialpez/
Columnist for El Tiempo, Colombia.

[Translated by Micheál Ó Tuathail, a CSN volunteer translator]

Another hostage dead. Once again, the army, following the orders of
the President, went to rescue a live hostage and brought back a dead

How many more, Mr. President? How many dead hostages are required for
you to deign to consider other options? All 3,200 who remain alive?

I ask myself, Mr. President, why, according to you, your government
cannot refrain from exercising its constitutional obligation to
military rescues but at the same time refrains from the constitutional
and ethical obligations to defend Colombians in danger?

With what criteria do you choose which constitutional obligations to
comply with and which to disregard?

In order to carry out your orders to rescue hostages by force and
without the certainty of their survival, the government announced that
it must first consult their families and that, in some cases, they
rejected your decision.

However, you have so emphatically affirmed that to consult is not to
ask permission and that, in any case, the government remains firm in
its decision to carry out military rescues. Mr. President, if you are
going to carry out military rescues anyway, do you believe that
exposing families to information based upon which they can't make the
final call is a means for you to moderate the political cost of your
risky decision? But isn't it also adding to them an inevitable sense
of blame for the death of their loved ones when it occurs during these
rescue attempts?

I had an enormously heavy feeling while listening to María Londoño,
the widow of kidnapped businessman Diego Mejía, who was killed during
a rescue. "My husband's life is gone, but so too are the lives of
those who did much damage to the country (during the operation, four
guerrilla fighters died, among them alias 'Fabio,' one of the leaders
of the FARC's 47th Front). I hope this will serve some good," said
doña María. It seems like just retribution: eye for an eye, tooth for
a tooth. The truth is, doña María, it didn't serve any good. What
would have served us all good was to have your husband by your side
and producing. Each year, the government takes down hundreds of
guerrilla fighters in legitimate combat. Surely, in one of those
battles, those four fighters would have fallen.

Doña María also said, "Diego couldn't be saved because it was God's
will. The outcome wasn't what we would have wanted, but before God's
will, we can do nothing." No, doña María, the decision to rescue your
husband was neither yours nor God's; it was the decision of a mortal.
You, your husband, and the rest of the hostages have other
alternatives, alternatives with higher possibilities for a safe
return. But our mortal President considers these other options
illegitimate and impossible.

Reading the news of Mr. Mejía's death last Thursday, and yesterday of
how we are once again overrun by mafia and paramilitaries, I have so
many questions, Mr. President.

According to your own official statistics, the paramilitaries were
responsible for some 1,000 kidnappings. Neither to begin negotiations
nor to concede to them the generous benefits of the poorly named
'Justice and Peace Law' was the return of hostages demanded of the

Not even today have they been heard from, much less returned.

Why, Mr. President? Why should we demand of the FARC the unconditional
return of hostages but not demand the same of the paramilitaries?

Why does your government not demand that the paramilitaries
unconditionally return the bodies of the thousands of Colombians they
massacred and buried in mass graves? Why, in order to defend life or
recover the bodies of those Colombians, have you not led a national
and international condemnation and protest?

Why, Mr. President, according to your reasoning, are paramilitary
kidnappings tolerable and those by the FARC not negotiable?

Speech by Carolina Charry : HUMANITARIAN AGREEMENT NOW!

Speech by Carolina Charry, daughter  of Valle del Cauca State Senator Carlos Charry:
Humanitarian Agreement Now!
(Translated by Amy Rose Pekol, a CSN translator )

[ 07/06/2007] [ Author: Carolina Charry]
Good afternoon.  I’m Carolina, the daughter of Congressman Carlos Alberto Charry, who was murdered by the FARC with the complicity of the Colombian Government that broke its promise to bring them (the hostages held by the FARC) back alive.
I’m a Colombian girl who, for more than 5 years, hasn’t been able to hug her father, tell him her dreams, feel his protection, receive his blessing each night or look him in the eyes and tell him, “I LOVE YOU WITH ALL OF MY HEART, I NEED YOU AND I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOU.”
But today this void is not the only thing that I have to tolerate.  Now I have been refused the possibility of saying goodbye to my father, to Army Major Guevara and 10 more Valle de Cauca congressmen as these good fathers, husbands, sons and friends deserve.  There is no possibility of saying goodbye with a ritual that allows one to exercise his right to choose his own religion and with the return of their mortal remains to the earth from which they came, accompanied by the people who love them most: their family and friends.
I am here in the first place to thank you, on behalf of the families, for the solidarity you have demonstrated with your presence in this march.  Secondly, I am here to clarify what is being sought by this action and to prevent the government’s opportunism from distorting the true reason for such a large accompaniment that is being repeated in different cities all across the country and symbolizes the pain and suffering of this country, not simply for the infamy committed, but also for the demonstrated negligence.
Thank you for mobilizing with the Echeverri, Giraldo, Narváez, Barragán, Varela, Pérez, Quintero, Hoyos, Arismendi, Orozco, Charry and Guevara families to DEMAND that the FARC respect our grief, respect the dignity the deceased, and respect a country ashamed of the guerilla group that lost its way and has been militarily, ideologically and politically incapable of gaining the support of its country and, on the contrary, remains alone in the midst of its insanity.  Our deceased belong to us!

Thank you for mobilizing against the government policies that are stained with the blood of my father and ten of his companions who were murdered along with him.  These are the individuals to whom an indolent president refused to listen when they begged him to declare Pradera and Florida MEETING ZONES FOR THE HUMANITARIAN AGREEMENT—their only possibility of returning home alive. Knowing what really happened is not a wish of the family members; it is a necessity of the kidnapping victims.  
I am from the generation that grew up with a constitutionally elected government that shamefully decided to put itself on the same level of a guerilla group without ideals and loaded with injustice and evil.  This government therefore leaves the life of those kidnapped in the hands of the FARC, despite having the judicial, political, humanitarian and moral reasoning and instruments to free them and bring them back alive.  
It’s a lack of shame and respect that one of the protagonists of our tragedy marches today in Bogotá to cover up his responsibility, to lift a new curtain of smoke over his mistakes and to avoid stirring more hatred over his cold-heartedness.  Surely his conscience will not allow him to sleep peacefully knowing that he could have saved my father,Army Major Guevara, the Valle de Cauca congressmen and dozens of other victims of the FARC.  
How morally incompetent is a guerilla group that kidnaps a community to then say that it was the crossfire that killed the prisoners and then hide behind virtual messages, offending only the adversary and inventing condolences in which no one trusts because the group does not know the meaning of piety, compassion or the sorrow of another human being.
Colombians with hearts clean of grudges for not having suffered the humiliations or atrocities of the two most similar antagonists known to Colombian history, do not allow to continue being governed by surveys, make possible the return of our deceased, allow our families to start mourning with a burial and, above all, support the meeting zone.  On the contrary, we will continue repeating this march each time the FARC murders other compatriots or President Uribe decides to experiment with more vain military rescue attempts,  as other kidnapped victims with more than 10 years in captivity can give testimony:  that this type of rescue is not  successful

We ask for your solidarity, not only on the day of the march, but daily.  Solidarity is supporting the Humanitarian Agreement, demanding a meeting zone, demanding the return of bodies of those kidnapped and murdered, refusing to listen to the insults and slander that some try to provoke against us only to demean our struggle and echo the violent people who only speak the language of evil and war.  We are good people that don’t know how to do malignant calculations  and know very little about strategies, for, if that were the case, we would have used them to bring our dear friends and family members back alive.
I will not tolerate more pain, more indignation, more sadness, more rage, more humiliation for not having my father once again…or what remained of him.  Help us recover the bodies of the congressmen from Valle del Cauca and Major Guevara.  Let’s make a common front to obtain the return of our deceased and of those whom are still alive.
The FARC cannot continue mocking our pain; they can leave the cadavers in any part of the jungle and escape before informing anyone of the coordinates of that location.  That way we can regain a little bit of the dignity that they took from our relatives and left in ruins.


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

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

An inconvenient question from Alejandra

           A NOTE FROM CSN :

Alejandra Rodriguez is the daughter of Carlos Augusto Rodriguez, who was the administrator of the cafeteria of the Palace of Justice, from which he was “disappeared” during government forces’ retaking of the building from M-19 guerrillas on November 6,1985. The M-19 commandos had taken over the building with the idea of having a discussion with President Belisario Betancur, whom they believed had gone back on his word in peace discussions with the M-19. The Colombian armed forces attacked the building with tremendous force, even sending a tank up the steps of the Palace of Justice and inside to attack the M-19 forces. All of the M-19 members were killed in the fight and its aftermath. And non-combatants in the building, including most of the members of the Supreme Court, were also killed or “disappeared”.
 Alejandra was only one month and six days old at the time. She rightly claims the moral authority to speak out about forced disappearances on the part of the State at that time and also today.]
She writes, “In the holocaust and crime committed mostly by the armed forces, a partial recognition of responsibility of the State has been given. However, for more than two decades this deed has enjoyed total impunity, and never has the responsibility both political and military been recognized by naming those persons responsible. These are the intellectual and material authors of the crimes who do not permit that the truth be known.  The censorship and cover-up by the communications media was ordered by Noemi Sanin, who at the time was the Minister of Communications. She gave the order to transmit a soccer game, rather than broadcast the urgent message of the President of the Supreme Court, Alfonso Reyes Echandia, who sought a ceasefire.”
On July 4, 2007 Alejandra confronted Noemi Sanin, now Colombia’s Ambassador to Spain, at a public forum on “Myths and Realities of the Colombian Conflict”, held in the Casa de America in Madrid. After Ambassador Sanin had in her remarks painted a rosy picture of President Alvaro Uribe’s government and a couple of other persons in attendance had asked questions, Alejandra addressed the Ambassador, as follows:
“Good afternoon, Ms. Ambassador. I am Alejandra Rodriguez, the daughter of one of the twelve employees of the cafeteria of the Palace of Justice who was disappeared during the military operations against the take-over by the M-19 in 1985. When my father disappeared I was only one month old and I want to know , since you have spoken to us about confidence, transparency and publicity, why as Minister of Communications  at the time did you order the suspension of the televised transmission of the take-over and the programming in its place of a soccer match?”
Ms. Sanin replied as follows: “Alejandra, you were just a baby and I do not know what they may have told you. But it is true that I ordered the suspension of the transmission of the take-over because we knew that another commando unit of the M-19 had kidnapped a truck distributing milk in a town near Bogota and was giving the milk out to the people. That led us to think that it was best to control the information, because we feared that the situation would degenerate into a popular revolt similar to that of April 9, 1948, when the center of Bogota was destroyed as a response to the assassination of Jorge Eliecer Gaitan. In addition, the communications media were irresponsibly transmitting the take-over as if it were a soccer match. So it seemed to us it would be best for them to transmit a real soccer match.”
The Ambassador’s remarks provoked a vigorous response, as people called out “How shameful!”, “Cynical!”  and “Assassins!” Frightened, the Ambassador said she had another commitment and left.
Alejandra has now formulated the following question for Ambassador Sanin: “I would like to know, Ms. Ambassador, if you are disposed to recognize the truth and your responsibility before the victims and publicly. Are you disposed to collaborate and support us through the reopening of the case? Will you help us answer the question ‘Where is my father and where are the 11 other persons disappeared by the military forces of the State?’”
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621
e-mail:  csn@igc.org

Teacher murdered by shadowy hands in the town of Puerto Tejada, Cauca.


(Translated by Peter Lenny, a CSN volunteer translator)

The question we keep asking is how long we educators will have to stand for the barbarity we are subject to by this decadent State misgoverned under purported security policies, which in practice have brought nothing but desolation, displacement and death to Colombia.

We have not yet finishing mourning three murdered teachers, our colleagues, and already we face another period of mourning for our colleague Bernarda Zúñiga. She was threatened with death in the town of Buenos Aires Cauca, and was working as a teacher in Puerto Tejada where she was tragically killed. What is especially worrying teachers in Cauca is, firstly, that all these murders have been committed against teachers who are members of our trade union; secondly, that three of the four murders were against women; and lastly, that all these cases have gone unpunished and the government has not even made any kind of pronouncement.

The Cauca teachers’ association “ASOINCA” repudiates the vile murder of the educator, our colleague, BERNARDA ZÚÑIGA IMBACHI, who worked at the “San Pedro Claver” educational institution in the town of Puerto Tejada.

On 21 May 2007, she was found murdered with a gunshot wound to the head at a deserted part of the La Ventura area of the Timba district in the municipality of Buenos Aires. She had been receiving death threats for the last year and a half, and the Committee on Death Threats had accordingly granted her official “under threat” status. What we cannot accept is that the local administration transferred her, with no protection, to a place close to where she was later killed, because hers was a very risky case. For that reason, we demand an investigation and the corresponding declaration from the authorities. This murder was perpetrated by persons unknown who took her from a party where she was talking to friends.

In her teaching career, this educator and colleague, who at the time of her death was a member or our union, won distinction for her academic qualifications which, with the greatest quality and dedication, she placed at the service of all her students at the various teaching institutions where she worked in the state. She was also a colleague who distinguished herself in the struggle for public education, for the rights of teachers, children, young people and the underprivileged generally.

We repudiate the horrendous crime committed against our colleague and demand that the competent authorities conduct proper and timely investigations so that this crime, which today has brought so much grief to our organization, the educational community in Cauca, and especially her family, does not go unpunished as have so many other crimes.

We call on the government to guarantee fully the freedom to teach and trade union activity and we call, particularly, on the Ministry of the Interior to honor the agreements reached with our trade union organization. This is becoming so recurrent that we find ourselves with no alternative but to hold the government accountable for whatever may happen to our colleagues in our trade union organization, ASOINCA.

We call on the international community, and Colombian and international human rights NGOs, to help denounce the aggression, forced displacement, murders and persecution of Colombian educators.




• fulfill its mandate in overseeing compliance by the Colombian State with its constitutional obligations and the rules of international human rights law (IHRL)



• comply immediately with the reiterated recommendations made by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and other international organizations, as regards its respecting and complying with International Human Rights Law.

• halt the repressive measures and the intimidation that teachers in Cauca are being subject to by shadowy forces.

• guarantee the right to life, physical and psychological well-being, and freedom of movement of teachers in Cauca.

• begin the necessary investigations to elucidate the events that took place in the locality of Timba Cauca in the Cauca Department, on 20 May 2007, and which resulted in the murder of the educator and our colleague BERNARDA ZUÑIGA IMBACHI by hired killers.



• halt and pronounce itself against the repressive measures and intimidation that teachers in Cauca are being subject to by shadowy forces.

• begin the necessary investigations to elucidate the events that happened to the teacher mentioned above.



• perform its institutional role of ensuring that the constitutional rights to life of educators in Colombia and in Cauca are guaranteed and respected.

• begin the necessary investigations to elucidate the events that happened to the teacher mentioned above.





• in fulfillment of its mandate, provide all possible assistance so that the efforts of the Colombian State comply with Colombian and international rules that it has undertaken to abide by and that the respective  investigations  be started given the fact that the office has no previous knowledge of the facts described.



• demand that the government of Colombia comply immediately with the reiterated recommendations made by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and other international organizations, as regards its respecting and complying with International Human Rights Law.

• demand that the government of Colombia guarantee the right to life, physical and psychological well-being, and freedom of movement of the citizens of Cauca Department, and especially its teachers.

• demand that the government of the department headed by the government guarantee the right to life and physical and psychological well-being of the communities.

• demand that the government of Colombia and of the Department of Cauca begin the necessary investigations to establish the facts of what happened to the teachers ALCIRA TAPIA MUÑOZ and TERESA SILVA, on 21 and 28 March 2007, MIGUEL MASIAS on 22 April 2007, and BERNARDA ZUÑIGA IMBACHI.








redher@redcolombia.org       redeuropea@redcolombia.org




       All material distributed by REDHER indicates its source and authorship.

REDHER authorizes redistribution of such material providing the same criteria are applied.

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


(Translated by Thomas Kolar,  a CSN volunteer translator )
     The ethno-territorial social organizations of  the families and displaced victims of paramilitary violence in the Atrato region, with the Diocese of Quibdo, calls for national and international public opinion to express outrage at the false testimony of the paramilitary leader Fredy Rendon, alias "El Aleman"(The German), comandante of the Elmer Cardenas Bloc, given in Medellin on June 5 and 6.
           The Crimes of the Paramilitaries in the Middle and Lower Atrato occurred under Rendon's Command
     We cannot accept Fredy Rendon's denial of any responsibility for the horrible atrocities committed by the paramilitaries in our communities of the middle and lower Atrato beginning in 1996. The innumerable masacres, assassinations, disappearances, tortures, rapes of women and girls(often in the presence of husbands and family), the countless displacements, and the gradual disintegration of the social fabric of hundreds of communities and thousands of families,--all these crimes committed under the command of Fredy Rendon (alias "El Aleman") from the beginning.
     He came and went and his lieutenants called constantly where he was to inform and receive orders to kill our loved ones with power saws or machetes, beheading, stabbing, and putting in sacks to be thrown in the Rio Atrato and its tributaries, converting them into cemeteries for ten years, violating our culture and sensibilities by not allowing decent burial of our loved ones.
          In The Masacre of Bojaya El Aleman Had Part of the Responsibility
     During the tragic masacre of May 2 in Bellavista/Bojaya, the paramilitaries were commanded by Fredy Rendon. It is the height of effrontery that he now tries to lay blame for so many innocent deaths on Father Antun Ramos, the parish priest at Bellavista, for not having obeyed a supposed order to remove the civilian population to the cemetery. Father Antun did nothing but open the doors of the church as a sacred place in which all could be safe so that the civilians could seek refuge in the midst of war. "El Aleman" recognizes that he was giving orders that day and should have told his paramilitaries to withdraw to places away from the civilian population. But, to the contrary, for a day and a half his paramilitaries used the innocents in the church as human shields and thus provoked the war crime of the FARC guerrillas who fired a bomb at the paramilitaries in the church killing almost 100 civilians, largely women and children. Fredy Rendon cannot deny his responsibility in this crime.
          In El Atrato There Have Never Been Autodefensas Campesinas (Farmer Paramilitaries)
     Additionally, we want to take the opportunity of this communique to publicly deny the term "Autodefensas Campesinas". The farmers of the Atrato region have never called on any armed group for protection. Since the 1980s we have organized ourselves peacefully to defend our ethno-territorial rights. We deny that guerrilla groups have operated in our territory. No group has been invited by us, but rather the paramilitaries have used the claim of fighting guerrillas as pretext to make our civilian population a target of their military power. They have not fought the guerrillas but have terrorized innocent civilians. They closed the Rio Atrato impeding our free movement. The paramilitaries do not act in defense of campesinos. They invade in defense of foreign interests, those of their financiers and of temselves. They are paramilitaries and always act in coordination with government forces.
    Our Demands:
            To The Paramilitaries--
        That they tell the truth, and the whole truth. That they remember that they cannot benefit from the law    .     unless they do. Therefore Fredy Rendon should retract all his lies.
            To the Colombian State:
        Respect the suffering of the victims who lost family and suffered wounds. Remember sadly the dead and not to profane their memory with false accusations to justify the barbarism of the paramilitaries who can then claim to have acted as "war heroes".
        That state agencies act vigilantly to to apply the law and to obtain truth, justice and reparation.
        To the National Commission of Reparation, that they schedule a session in Quibdo in order to receive direct testimony from the victims who have not been heard and thus begin the process of applying justice and reparation, both individual and collective.
Quibdo, July 7, 2007
Association of the Displaced, 2 de Mayo (ADOM)
Association of the Displaced, Afrodescendents de Choco (ADACHO)
Committee of Displaced of Gestion and Veeduria Departmental (CODEGEVE)
Association of Indigenous City Councils of Embera, Wounaan, Katio, Chami, and Tule of
   the Department of Choco (OREWA)
COCOMACIA - Community Council de la Association Campesina Integral del Atrato
Ruta Pacifica Choco
Families of the Victims of Quibdo
Diocese of Quibdo

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

Saturday, July 14, 2007


On July 13, 2007 at 12:15 p.m. two men who had the previous day identified themselves as members of the “Black Eagles” paramilitary organization, stopped a public transport vehicle, forced Peace Community member DAIRO TORRES out of the vehicle, and shot and killed him. Dairo was the coordinator of the Alto Bonito  humanitarian  zone, located about 4 hours walk from the San Josecito Peace Community, since 2004. He was a serious, responsible leader in the hamlets in the San Josecito area.

Dairo was murdered less than 2 minutes drive from a police checkpoint on the road between Apartado and San Jose. His murderers had been seen at about 9:10 a.m. talking to and sitting next to the police at the checkpoint. It is clear that  the police were complicit in the murder of Dairo.

Please write to President Uribe to tell him the international community supports the Peace Community and is watching what happens to Community members. Ask him why the paramilitaries keep killing with impunity in association with the Police, as has frequently happened and as if no demobilization of paramilitaries had happened at all. We all expect an investigation to be carried out by his government, with the murderers arrested and tried for their heinous crime. We also expect the Uribe government to bring the Police to justice for their collaboration with the paramilitaries in this killing.

Please also write to your representatives in Congress to tell them of  the collaboration of Uribe’s police force with murderers and ask them to stop funding of the Colombian military and police until these crimes stop and prosecution of those responsible is carried out.

Your Senators and Representatives see our website www.colombiasupport.net

US Embassy :
 Ambassador B@ state.gov

President Alvaro Uribe-Velez

[OR to better send e-mail to Uribe login to http://www.presidencia.gov.co and click on ESCRIBALE AL PRESIDENTE at the bottom of the page.

Vice-president Francisco Santos

Secretario de Gobierno de Antioquia
Jorge Mejia-Martinez jmejiama@gobant.gov.co

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

To the Colombian Army

Vice-Minister of Defense  Sergio Jaramillo-Caro



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

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Under lesa humanity law: persecution of the civilian population of Puerto Rico Caquetá
(Translated by Deryn Collins, a CSN volunteer translator)

We are not dealing with isolated or sporadic incidents. The number of troops that are behaving in this way, the amplitude of the geographic areas they operate in, the repeated and seasonal persistence of the same behavior, cannot be spoken of as exceptional cases but as systematic conduct. The other thing is that the judicial goods that are destroyed or put at high risk must not be catalogued as second degree acts. This is attacking ‘in esse’ (in existence) the right to integrity, the right of ownership, the right to eat, the right of the presumption of innocence, the right to humane and dignified treatment, the right to work, the right to freedom, the right of just process, the right to education, the right of association, the right of good name, and after all these rights, the inalienable right to the most elemental human dignity.
Bogotá, May 22, 2007
 Ministry of National Defense

 In all consideration.

Through the medium of this writing, afforded me by the Constitutional Right of Petition, consecrated in Article 23 of the National Constitution and in article 5 and subsequent articles of the Code of Contentious Administration, I wish to make known what I know of the grave situation lived by the rural people and communities of the department of Caquetá and solicit an urgent solution to these within the framework of your ministerial competence.  
  On Saturday 7 April 2007 (Easter Saturday), between 13:00 and 16:00 pm, troops of the Battalion Cazadores, with headquarters in San Vicente del Caguán, entered the street Villanueva, in the town of Aguililla, in the municipality of Puerto Rico (Caquetá). Units of these troops went to the house of the couple Libardo Guzmán and Disney González, who they did not find home at that time. The military men broke the locks and proceeded to loot the house, destroying the mattresses, the family’s clothes, the kitchen utensils, and household equipment. They took over the kitchen where they cooked the chickens the family had. That night they used the beds to sleep in and under a mattress even left a military cap, which was subsequently taken to the regional authorities.  When they left, on Sunday 8 April, they took the food provisions that the family had (rice, sugar loaf, beans, chocolate, coffee, eggs, soft drinks), a lamb they had been given, lots of clothes, the jewellery they found, a camera, two radios, videos and music CDs, other domestic implements, family photographs and the children's’ schoolbags, meanwhile destroying their schoolbooks.
On the way they encountered the worker Juan Bautista Villada, who was on his way to the looted house and said to him they had been waiting all night for the owners of the house to massacre them because they ‘are guerrillas’, they showed a photograph of Disney they had stolen from the house and said they would wait for them in the store. The worker was grabbed, threatened, and submitted to humiliation for thirty minutes.
In said house worked one of the 80 Community drug-stores set up by the Vicariato Apostólico de San Vicente / Puerto Leguízamo and financed by international organizations, the militia also broke the locks of the medicine cupboards and looted boxes of medicines, surgical instruments and nursing tools, taking many medicines and destroying some instruments. They also took documents that pertained to the authorizations of the Vicariato and the Army for the transport of medicines, as well as the account books and the register of credits of the inhabitants of the zone. Overall, the stolen goods were valued at one million, one hundred thousand pesos.  

It appears that, with the troop that arrived in the area of Villanueva was Señor Jesús Arnulfo Gómez, an old member of the Community Action Group of this rural neighborhood, but who had retired two months earlier, threatening the other members because he owed 140.000 pesos  for drinks consumed at a party. According to information from the population, his feelings for revenge led him to pretend to be ‘reinsertado’ ( NOTE inserted by CSN : individuals who leave an illegal armed group and become again a part of  society after an agreement with the government) falsely affirming that he ‘belonged to the FARC’ and offering himself as an informant to the Army, to present false information so that the community would be considered sympathetic to the guerrilla and win his revenge.
On Saturday 14 April 2007, because of the general alarm of the population on account of the attacks by the Army, the local population people called a reunion in the school of Villanueva, at which there were also locals from the hamlets El Cóndor, El Retorno, and La Nutria. The majority of the participants complained of the humiliation they were subjected to by the Army, such as threats, the most gross verbal insults, looting and pillaging of their homes and psychological accusations to oblige the population to bring them food, domestic fowl, eggs, and soft drinks. So as not to pay for this, they call them ‘guerrillas’, as a form of intimidation and blackmail. From the stores they looted the merchandise and only left a quantity of food equivalent to one hundred thousand pesos, alleging that ‘the food is for the guerrilla’ the rest they stole.
At the same time of Holy Week, the Army carried out attacks against the families of Doña Carmen Rosa Cabezas, Doña Mariela Lasso, Don Ancízar García, Don Arbey Rivas and Don Hubert García. All of these families were mistreated and intimidated with weapons to gain information they did not have.
They arrived at the house of Doña Carmen Rosa asking for her ex-husband Pedro. When she explained that they had separated some time ago, they began to loot the house; destroying almost all of the clothes they found and some clothes they put them on her head to humiliate her. As she was building a new house, they said when it was finished they would come and burn it. They interrogated her about the guerrilla’s radio and for coca leaves and money, as she did not know anything; they threatened to take her captive and showed her handcuffs

On 1 April from Don Ancízar García they took the goods that were in the store at Rancho Quemao; because he was going to protest at the military base, they returned them incomplete and some of the soldiers stole some crops and the school children’s sweets.

 From Don Arbey $ 150.000 pesos was stolen.

 They entered the house of Don Hubert and locked him in a room. While asking for a ‘the guerrilla’s radio’ they kicked him and threatened him with weapons, they looted the house leaving everything all over the floor.  

 On Thursday 5 April 2007 (Easter Thursday), at 7:15 am, while Señor Luis Gabriel Bonilla was going along the hamlet of  El Cóndor to his residence in Aguililla, he was detained by a military group who treated him as a “FARC militiamen”, they punched him, threatened him with guns, grabbed him, noted the number on his identity documents and insulted him.  

 On Sunday 8 April 2007 (Easter Sunday), at 12:00 pm, while Señor Isidro Vera was on his way from San Vicente del Caguán to his hamlet of  El Cóndor, he was detained at the top of the hamlet El Retorno, he was subjected to insults and humiliation and had women’s underwear that the soldiers were carrying put over his face. For three hours they forced him to sit in a well of dirty water. Around 5.00 pm they made him sign a ‘good treatment’ document, took photographs and left. When he got home the following day, he found out that the day before the militaries had taken his 16 year old son Alexander to a ravine where they forced him to stay on his knees, but he refused and told the soldiers that that if they were going to kill him, they should go ahead and kill him right away. The soldiers then took him to his home and looted it, destroying all they did not take. When they found a little canna flour, they said it was ‘the shrapnel used to make bombs for the guerrilla’. They took food, clothes, tools, and toiletries.  

On the same day Sunday 8 April 2007 (Easter Sunday)) at 4.00pm, militaries entered the house of Doña Inés Narváez, who was there with two other family members, and they asked about the guerrilla. Amongst other things one of the soldiers stole 150,000 pesos that were hidden.
On Wednesday 11 April 2007, around 9:00 am, in the hamlet El Retorno, Don Efraín Ávila was detained by the Army, while on his way home. With their weapons aimed at him, asked for information about the guerrilla, but as he knew nothing, they submitted him to humiliation until 2.30 pm, when they forced him to sign a ‘good treatment’ document and let him go.   

The same day Wednesday 11 April 2007, around 9:30 am, also detained by the Army was Don Libardo Urriago, in the rural neighborhood of  El Retorno, when he was going to work. He was interrogated about the wherabouts of the guerrilla and seeing he did not know, subjected him to psychological torture until 2.00pm, pretending they were going to kill him. They put combs and rulers at his neck threatening to cut his jugular vein, pointed their guns at him forced him to put his knees to his chest and finally took photos and forced him to sign a ‘good treatment’ document.
The same day Wednesday 11 April 2007, the Army detained Don William Peña while he was walking along the road. The soldiers made him strip naked and sit on an anthill, making him sit there a long time. They later let him go on his way.   
In the community assembly held on the 7 April 2007, in which the population of the rural hamlets of La Unión No. 2 and Alto Avance, in the town of Guayabal, in the municipality of San Vicente del Caguán, serious acts perpetrated by Army troops present in the aforesaid rural neighborhoods between the 21 and 27 of March 2007 were denounced.

On Wednesday 21 March 2007, at 12.00pm the same troop detained a woman and her 12 year old son, threatening them with death with the machetes they carried if they did not reveal where the guerrilla was. The boy was threatened with being hung by his testicles and castrated and both were threatened with having their heads cut off. At the same time three locals were detained as they passed by and subjected to insults and threats, photographs and notes of their identity documents were taken. The same day they broke into a house, without judicial order, destroying all the children’s and lady owner’s clothes.  

On Thursday 22 March 2007, at 8.30 am, the militaries detained two other people accusing them of being ‘guerrillas’ or ‘bandits’. They were also grabbed, insulted and threatened, and had the numbers of their identity documents taken. One was taken to another place and were forced to lie on the floor face down, while being threatened with death and was told that if in future something happened to him, he would know why, and that one day they would take him to lay deeper and would leave him ‘with the mouth open’.  (Colloquial: dead).
On Monday 26 March 2007 the troop entered the area of the rural neighborhood of  La Unión No. 2 forcing one of the doors. They shared out the broom handles that were there and they stole mattresses donated by Red Cross International.   
On Tuesday 27 March 2007 the troop entered another house in the same neighborhood, breaking the locks, and stealing pots donated by Red Cross International, work and carpentry tools and domestic fowl that were part of a breeding project the family administered.
In the previously mentioned community assembly of 7 April 2007 citations sent by the Brigade IX (10th Army Brigade) headquartered in Neiva, requesting that all declarations be made there. The population declared they did not have the economic resources to go to Neiva, but at the same time asked why they had to make declarations in a military jurisdiction, being a civilian population and knowing that the military were the ones accused of all these crimes.

Previous Incidents: January 2006 – February 2007:

 Unfortunately, Minister, the crimes perpetrated between March and April 2007 by the troops billeted between the Departments of Caquetá and Meta, do not constitute isolated or sporadic incidents but have equally serious precedents.  

In effect, before national and international organizations, serious allegations have arrived, that I had occasion to prove in conversations with direct witnesses and it reveals systematic and institutional conduct:  
In January 2006 the population already had proof of an intense military presence of Army troops in the region of El Pato, bordering the departments of Meta and Caquetá, under the command of a Mayor with the surname CADENA. Said troops entered into 25 communities of El Pato and in 11 communities in the Inspection de Guacamayas, of San Vicente del Caguán. Since then reports began of attacks, humiliation against the people, many of whom prefer to run away from their farms, which causes enormous damage to the agricultural production that is the means of survival for the rural population.
In the second half of July 2006 an Army patrol assassinated a young milkman on a farm and took the body to Neiva saying he had ‘died in combat’.

On the 15 August 2006 troops under the command of Mayor Cadena arrived in the rural neighborhood of La Unión No. 2 and Alto Avance where they illegally detained 16 people, subjecting them to degrading treatment and falsely accusing them of being ‘guerrillas’.
On the 28 August 2006 the same troops executed 24 year old local man JAIME AMARILES; another called ENRIQUE, 45 years old, and a young man called JABER ESAÚ ANGRINO POLO, who was 19 years old and suffered from mental retardation. When Mayor Cadena violently burst into a community assembly, in the school of La Unión No. 2, on the 1 September 2006, and was asked to report on these crimes, he affirmed that Jaime Amariles “was a bandit who died in combat and his body could be reclaimed in Neiva.” The population knew that he was not a guerrilla nor had he died in combat. With respect to Mr Enrique, the Mayor affirmed that it ‘was a confusing case’. And about the disappearance of Jaber Esaú Angrino, he first replied that ‘he knew nothing in respect to that’ but when family members and neighbors insisted he told the truth and did not lie, he then recognized that he had Jaber Esaú in his power, under the pretext that the young man ‘had asked for the protection of the Army’ and assured then that he ‘was already free’, which would prove false. Later, thanks to witnesses, it was established that Jaber Esaú had been taken by military helicopter to Neiva and the military wanted to use him as a ‘witness’ (even though, or because, he had mental retardation) to accuse Señor Henry García,  widely known as a meat seller in the area, who the troops wanted to make out was a ‘guerrilla’. In effect, midway through September, when members of his family and local people of the zone went to have an audience with the Fiscal of Neiva against Señor García, travelling to Neiva to see if  the said Fiscal would give reason for holding Jaber Esaú. With amazement they saw the military entering the audience accompanied by Jaber Esaú, who had to act as a “witness”. When he saw  his father at the hearing, he stayed inhibited and silent, and Señor Garcia had to be released because of the break down of the ‘proof’. However, the young Angrino was not returned to his family and his whereabouts continue to be a mystery.  

On the 1 September 2006, troops, at first under the command of an official of dark complexion with the surname RENTERÏA and then under the command of Mayor Cadena, interrupted the assembly of the communities of La Unión No. 2 and Alto Avance, registering all the participants through shouts and insults and treating them all as ‘guerrillas’. For an hour and forty five minutes Mayor Cadena shouted ‘to give themselves up’ and ‘surrender their arms’. He affirmed that in 15 days of operations, ‘many guerrillas had been killed’ The communities reprimanded him for the death of locals known to have nothing to do with the guerrilla, as well as the detention of locals who had their crops stolen while the militiamen alleged they were taken ‘in battle’ . The false explanations that were given in face of concrete acts left it clear to the community that said official used lies and sham to present positive ‘war’ results before the Government, that in reality were treacherous crimes. They asked for guarantees that they could work their land without the worry that these operatives were causing, but he responded that ‘not even his mother could be given those guarantees’. The local population folk then resolved to stay together in the La Unión School to protect their lives. 125 people lived here from the 1 September until the 20 January 2007, suffering hunger and illnesses and seeing their crops ruin and losing their belongings.
The troops began to steal work tools from the farms and consume what little food had been grown. The crops of coffee, beans and corn, that were the base of livelihood for the people, were ruined and what little could be gathered the soldiers ate.
In October 2006, two other people, whose names it has not been possible to register, were assassinated by the troop, not in combat. This time, the troop started asking the local people the day after, if they knew who had killed them. The locals knew it was the same troop but understood the bad intentions in this intimation and so as not to become victims of repressions, said nothing.

On Wednesday 6 December 2007, troops identified as the Battalion de Contraguerrilla No. 55 Taironas, executed three workers 1500meters from the hamlet La Sombra, in the street San Francisco de la Sombra, in the municipality of San Vicente del Caguán. When the workers GERMÁN ECHEVERRY MEJÍA and LEIDER ADÁMEZ RODRÍGUEZ returned to work in a farm in the sector, the soldiers, seeing them ride by on Leider’s motorbike, shot them. Moments later, when the militiamen were moving the bodies, they saw the cowboy MAURICIO ROZO coming down the road on a horse, who they also shot, seemingly because he was a witness to the other assassinations. The military took the horse and a mule Mauricio was leading, as well as his tools, money and all the victim’s things. They also took Leider’s motorbike and his wallet containing all his documents and made it look like his was yet to be named.  At 3.45 pm of the same day, the military forced a Transyarí bus driver to take the bodies to San Vicente, then took his keys and threatened him, the 13 passengers that were in the vehicle subscribed  a document that described the incident. The body of Mauricio had to be buried at the same farm as the military would not let it be moved. Those of Germán and Leider were buried as unidentified and when on the 26 December their families saw DIJIN* photos they asked for the bodies to be exhumed to move them to Puerto Rico, where the funerals were held. The military made it appear that in face of public opinion that they were ‘guerrillas who died in combat’.
*Direccíon Central de Policia Judicial e Inteligencia – directorate of the Colombian Police that deals with certain judicial intelligence tasks.

On 9 February 2007, the same troops who had perpetrated the previous crimes in the rural neighbourhoods of La Unión No. 2 and Alto Avance burnt the two-story house of Don Isaac Pinto Pulido, in the street La Abeja, in the Inspección de Guayabal. The following day they woke him before dawn to sign a document affirming that his house was burnt down by the guerrilla, a document he refused to sign.
The same day, 9 February 2007, coincidentally when there was a massive presence of troops under the command of Mayor Cadena in the rural neighbourhoods of El Oso and Rovira, in the Inspección de Guayabal, graffiti appeared on many houses and public places , announcing the presence of ‘Águilas Negras” (Black Eagles) in the area. Every time the people in the area have gone to complain to Mayor Cadena about the crimes, he responded what good would it do to go and denounce them, because he “already knew how to handle the office of the Attorney General” ( the Fiscal).

Another serious antecedent in the region was the robbery in 2005, by Army troops, who this time came from La Macarena, of a microscope which was used to test blood for the diagnosis of malaria, from the drug-store in the rural neighborhood of Brasilia del Losada, in the municipality of San Vicente del Caguán. The harm to the health of the people in this zone has been enormous.
In spite of the seriousness of the acts, up to now no denouncement made to the  authorities of the State has served to protect life, integrity and the other rights of the local population. All of the declarations, testimonies and interposed petitions, equally at the local level as well as at the national level, have had the same luck of absolute impunity on the part of the official institutions and the absolute lack of protection on the part of the entities that have a constitutional obligation to protect the lives and rights of the citizens. For example, while the City Clerk of San Vicente refuses to give copies of denouncements to the complainant and alleges that they have been submitted to the Procuraduría Nacional (National Procurator), the locals can prove that on 16 February 2007 that nothing had arrived there.  It is difficult to know, in each case, if such absence of justice and protection is due to complicity with the perpetrators or a fear of reprisals.  As has been seen, the only declarations that arrive come from the Brigada de Neiva, which, in place of calming the victims, constitute an additional motive for worry, as who can see as legitimate an investigation carried out by the institution responsible for the crimes, where the information collected only serves as a basis for repressions against the denouncers, the ones who have proved the crimes, throughout the length and breadth of the country.
As you can see Minister, we are not dealing with isolated or sporadic incidents. The number of troops that are behaving in this way, the amplitude of the geographic areas they operate in, the repeated and seasonal persistence of the same behaviour, cannot be spoken of as exceptional cases but as systematic conduct. The other thing is that the judicial goods that are destroyed or put at high risk must not be catalogued as second degree acts. This is attacking ‘in esse’ (in existence) the right to integrity, the right of ownership, the right to eat, the right of the presumption of innocence, the right to humane and dignified treatment, the right to work, the right to freedom, the right of just process, the right to education, the right of association, the right of good name, and after all these rights, the inalienable right to the most elemental human dignity.
The Constitution has designed the role of the public force, in harmony with all the guiding principals, as a protective force of these rights. Converting this public force in groups of assailants, thieves and outlaws who trample on the rights that are supposed to be protected, putting those responsible at the opposite end of legal constitution and profoundly illegal the State that guarantee with its authority the uniformed outlaws.
But given the rights damaged in a such a systematic way are at the heart of those that the international community has wanted to protect as a fundamental base of solidarity with the species, through numerous pacts, treaties and absolutely imperative principals of “ius cogens” which are above the internal legality of the States, the crimes here registered, Minister, interest the International Community and constitute an affront to humanity as such. Because of this your judicial treatment transcends in full the domestic and naturally, has to be open to suprastate scrutiny.  

As much the extrajudicial executions as the threat of perpetrating them, the practices of physical and psychological torture, the illegal and arbitrary deprivation of liberty, as  Crimes under International Law when systematic conduct is revealed or protected for political incentive or tolerated by the State authorities. The pillage of goods, this time not only of the dead but also the living, when trying to justify them as strategies ‘of war’, constitute a War Crime, clearly set out in International Law. The subjugation of entire populations by way of habitual co-action that stops the exercising of multiple rights, has been held as illegal since the principals of Nuremburg (1946) and no more explicitly in the Statute of Rome, as the Crime of Lesa Humanity of Persecution.  
Therefore, Minister, without the need to become ‘Parte Civil” (Civil Part) in any process of the kind that has never produced protective effects or avoided new crimes being announced, appealing under the Constitutional Law of Petition, consecrated in Article 23 of the National Constitution and Article 5 and the following ones in the Administrative Contentious Code, I earnestly and urgently ask, in the name of humanity, the following:  
1.) Provide the names of the officials, sub-officials and soldiers and their lines of command, that were present in the hamlets of  Villanueva, El Condor and El Retorno, in the town of Aguililla, in the municipality of Puerto Rico, in the department of Caquetá, between Sunday 1 April and Wednesday 11 April 2007.
2.) Provide the names of the officials, sub-officials and soldiers and their lines of command, that were present at any time in the hamlets La Unión No. 2 and  Alto Avance, in the Inspección de Guayabal, in the municipality of San Vicente del Caguán, department of Caquetá, between the month of July 2006 and the month of March 2007.
3.)  Provide the names of the officials, sub-officials and soldiers and their lines of command, that were present in the rural neighbourhoods of San Francisco de la Sombra and Playa Rica – La Ye,  in the municipality of San Vicente del Caguán, in the department of Caquetá, on 6 December 2006.
4.) Immediately remove from post and any military responsibility in the zone, all the afore-named without prejudice of absolute independent control of any military rank, and investigate individual responsibility in the aforementioned crimes.
5.) Inform the international community about the protection that the populations of the municipalities Puerto Rico and San Vicente del Caguán, in the department of el Caquetá, will be given so they can exercise their rights that the International Community and the Constitution of Colombia, in theory recognise.
6.) Create a highly credible ethical commission that evaluate the damage inflicted on the populations of the aforementioned streets and give immediate reparation based on the consecrated norms in Título II de la Ley 782 de 2002. (Title 11 of Law 782 of 2002)
7.) Replace, with the utmost urgency, the medicines stolen by the Army from the drug-store in the hamlet of  Villanueva, as well as the surgical instruments and nursing tools and the microscope stolen in 2005 from the drug-store in the rural neighborhood Brasilia del Losada, used for the diagnosis of malaria.

Ask the International Penal Court to take upon itself the investigation into the extrajudicial executions, intentional homicide of protected persons, physical and psychological torture, arbitrary deprivation of liberty, rigged judicial processes, pillage of subsistence goods and crimes of persecution against specific populations, which constitute crimes of lesa humanity and war crimes perpetrated in said zone, since the control organs of the State do not show the minimum guarantee of a effective, impartial and repairing investigation.

I thank you before hand, Minister, for your attention to these requests and ask you to respond, within the legal terms.


Javier Giraldo Moreno, S. J.

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

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Lunes, 9 julio 2007     

Produced and translated by the Lawyers Colective Jose Alvear Restrepo

In the framework of the negotiation process with paramilitary groups


The José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (Corporación Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo) has repeatedly maintained on countless occasions that the Colombian State is responsible for the creation, sponsorship and consolidation of paramilitary groups in Colombia. This assertion has been made not only on the basis of Colombian history and legislation favoring paramilitary structures, but has also been corroborated through pronouncements issued by different national and international bodies. [2]

In spite of international rulings demonstrating that the State is responsible for paramilitarism, as well as the many recommendations issued by different international bodies to Colombia to dismantle paramilitary structures, [3] the Colombian State has ignored these opinions and, on the contrary, has done everything possible to institutionalize these very structures and consolidate their territorial, economic and political power in Colombia.

Negotiation and Demobilization Process

In this way, the “peace process”, which has attempted to be called such since its creation, cannot not be classified in this manner. “All political negotiations need as a basic requirement the existence of two antagonistic or at least distinct positions.” [4] However, paramilitary groups not only operate under the auspices of the armed forces and State security agencies, but also constitute a force that has never attempted to fundamentally alter the State (and even less abolish it) or interrupt its ongoing or temporary functioning. Additionally, there is no difference between the ideological principles concerning the State espoused by the establishment and those who defend paramilitary groups. In this respect, the paramilitary groups do not enjoy a political character.

The negotiation and demobilization process carried out by the Álvaro Uribe Vélez presidential administration and the paramilitary groups is based on two legal frameworks that, though different, are complementary. The FIRST LEGAL FRAMEWORK consists in Law 782 of 2002 and Decree 128 of 2003. These procedures envisage legal benefits for the demobilized person granted through an official certification process before the Operational Committee on Laying Down Arms (CODA) when it is an individual demobilization, or through a list given to the government when it is a collective demobilization. This benefits include dismissal of cases, the closing of investigations, the termination of procedures, or pardons. Through this framework, according to the High Commisioner for Peace, more than 30,671 paramilitaries have demobilized collectively and, according to the Ministry of Defense, 3,590 paramilitaries have demobilized individually [5] for a total of 34,261 persons supposedly demobilized during this presidential administration.

The SECOND LEGAL FRAMEWORK is made up of Law 975 of 2005 -publicly known as the Justice and Peace Law- and Decrees 4760 of 2005 and 3391 of 2006, which regulate this law. The principal characteristic of this law is its residual nature. In this case, it is only applicable to the paramilitary members who are not eligible for the first legal framework, since they have arrest warrants or are detained for crimes against humanity or for drug trafficking. It is expected that only 3% of the demobilized persons will avail themselves of this law. Likewise, it will also be applied to the paramilitaries that are in prison for grave crimes. Presently a list has been presented of 3,300 prisoners that will avail themselves of this process in order to be released from prison. Additionally, other lists could be presented; it has been said that 4,800 paramilitaries are currently in prison.

Lastly, on August 15, 2006, the then minister of Interior and Justice, Sabas Pretelt de la Vega, sent the Office of the Attorney General the lists of the paramilitary members who aspire to officially receive the privileges of the Justice and Peace Law. This list comprises 2,695 demobilized paramilitaries who presumably had some kind of responsibility in crimes against humanity and grave human rights violations. Up to now, only 55 paramilitary bosses and some spokepersons have been detained and the State does not know the whereabouts of the others. In this regard, we wonder how many of the 2,695 paramilitaries presented in the lists have already been deprived of their liberty in order to submit them to judicial proceedings; though we assume that, even though they surrendered, the government let them escape and did not submit them to the justice system.

Continuation of Paramilitarism

Paramilitarism in Colombia has not disappeared; its power structures continue to be intact. In 2007, it was reported that paramilitary groups maintained a presence in 22 departments of Colombia and that more than 60 groups remain active. Additionally, paramilitaries operate politically and their economic power has grown due to their collaboration with large scale development projects (and especially due to the appropriation of the lands of the more than 3.6 million internally displaced persons). The cessation of hostilities agreed to at the beginning of the negotiation process has also not been honored. More than 3,300 homicides have been committed against the civilian population, including congress members, judges, journalists, human rights defenders, indigenous people, unionists, and peasants. These homicides must be added to the more than 14,000 crimes against humanity committed by paramilitary groups over the 15 years prior to the initiation of the negotiation and demobilization process.

The failure to truly dismantle the paramilitary groups is also seen in that, of the 34,261 supposedly demobilized paramilitaries, only 18,051 weapons were surrendered. Furthermore, over the last few years over 1,000 demobilized persons have been murdered as well as 78 injured, 1,070 detained for new crimes, and 144 convicted. A suitable follow-up and monitoring has also not been carried out of the demobilized paramilitaries. Currently 4,693 demobilized cannnot be located and another 6,567 have been lost their privileges to the benefits.

In addition to this, there are also other concerns. On the one hand, major drug traffickers acquired whole paramilitary blocs or fronts -or they simply posed as paramilitaries- in order to legalize their assets and avoid the many extradition requests of the US government. On the other hand, the OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process (MAPP/OEA) has not carried out a serious and independent verification process.

As far as the few paramiltiaries who will be tried, the prison sentences will also not be proportional to the gravity of the crimes committed. They will only serve sentences from between 5 to 8 years and not in formal prisons.

Lastly, far from dismantling paramilitarism, the national security policy has implemented strategies that increasingly erase the line between military and civilian life. In particular, the civilian population has been involved in programs like the informers’ network, peasant soldiers, civilian police corp, private security systems, manual illicit crop eradication programs, and the creation of new paramilitary groups.

Right to Truth

Law 975 of 2005 violates the rights of the victims by not guaranteeing their right to the truth. At most, only the judicial truth will be learned of what happened; even though political negotiation processes should seek to uncover the historical truth. Consequently, the victims will not be able to know the structural motives, or who are the intellectual authors, financial backers, and direct and indirect beneficiaries of the crimes committed.

Right to Justice

As far as the right to justice, this law includes provisions that attempt to guarantee impunity for the thousands of crimes against humanity committed by State paramilitarism. In this respect, in 97% of the cases the State renounces its duty to investigate and try and in the other 3% it will carry out apparent trials with minimum sentences.

Right to Reparation

As far as the right to reparation, one of the most harmful precepts for the vicitms is the procedure to access comprehensive raparation, called the interlocutory proceeding for comprehensive reparation. In this regard, the procedure transfers the totality of the responsibility to the victims, who should ask for reparation for the acts and provide the evidence. Only a few vicitms will receive some sort of economic compensation, but not a comrehensive reparation.

Lastly, official reports have stated that the assets surrendered by the paramiltiaries throughout the demovilization process, include 59 rural properties (25,601 hectares), 149 automobiles and 3 airplanes. [6] Obviously, these assets will not be able to cover all of the reparations for the grave violations to human rights committed by the apramilitary groups. It also demonstrates that these groups will maintain their economic power.

1 Executive summary of the report: Evaluation of the Paramilitary Demobilization Process in Colombia, published as a part of the proceedings from the seminar-workshop: Corte a la Impunidad - Colombia en la Mira de la Corte Penal Internacional, held in Bogotá on 2006. The organizations convening the event included the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CPDH), Latin American Institute for Alternative Legal Services (ILSA), and the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR); and the associated organizations included the Colombian Association of Defense Lawyers Eduardo Umaña Mendoza (ACADEUM), Colombian Association of University Students (ACEU), ASDEP, ASONAL Judicial, FASOL, Fundation Committee of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, and National Movement of Victims of State-Sponsored Crimes.. 2 See: The False Reality of the Paramilitary Demobilization. José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective, Bogotá, March 2, 2006 . 3 Giraldo S.J., Javier. Cinco Falacias con Paramilitares en Colombia . 4 Ibid. Giraldo S.J., Javier. Cinco falacias con paramilitares en Colombia. 5 Office of the Attorney General. Order 002518 of April 27, 2006. Signed by Luis González León, Chief of the National Prosecutorial Unit of Justice and Peace. 6 Proceso de Paz con las Autodefensas: Informe Ejecutivo. Presidency of the Republic, Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, December, 2006. Page 101 .

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, July 06, 2007


(Translated by Eunice Gibson, a volunteer CSN translator)

        From June 9 until June 24, twelve communities have joined in civil resistance, carrying out the food-farming course put on by the University.  In these 25 days, we have been able to share our knowledge, essentially joining together in a search for control over our food.  As we have been able to see, this goes against the policies of this government, which is fomenting and re-establishing paramilitarism in our country.
         We saw and we reflected on the actions of this government, which is trying to break down and divide our communities with the so-called social investment pushed by paramilitarism and by government institutions.  Now it’s not just that the paramilitaries march along with the soldiers, but also that the Government institutions go along with them in that so-called investment.  They make use of people from our areas and who previously were from the same communities.  We are very worried to see this but we are also determined to resist these new acts of aggression.
         Besides all that, we shared everything that had to do with the payments for the seeds, along with all of the evils of genetic alteration. Those days were very enriching for all of the communities.
         Besides that, we are advancing a proposal for alternative education that is being carried out by communities in resistance.  This gives us a more solid hope of being able to go forward with the construction of an alternative and different world.
         In the same way, we were able to share the memory of a murdered leader, Francisco Puertas.  The government, with all of its methods, has tried to distort the work he did and the reality of what happened.  This feeling of memory gives us strength to go on.
         We know the difficulties and we know of the attacks by those who victimizing us, but we also know that the unity of civil resistance gives us the spirit to keep building new paths.

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



© 2005 CSN
News | Action | Links | About CSN | Donate | Join | Chapters | Delegations | Contact CSN | Contact Webmaster