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Thursday, May 29, 2008


(Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN volunteer translator)

Communiqué, May 21
Sent by the Network for Life and Human Rights of Cauca
Communiqué to Public Opinion
The social organizations who make up the Network for Life and Human Rights of Cauca: The Committee for Integration of the Colombian Macizo [the Andean range in the departments of Cauca and Nariño] (CIMA); The National Association of Peasants, Unity and Reconstruction (ANUC-U.R.) of Cauca; The corporation of Homeless of Caca (CODESCO); The Peasant Movement of Cajibío (MCC); And the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC), aware of the difficult situation that the campesinos of Cauca are going through, and especially the campesino, Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities where they live, as well as the reiterate position of the Colombian National and the national and departmental governments NOT to offer concrete solutions in reference to the right to the land, and the systematic lack of compliance with signed agreements, we denounce:
1.    That the struggle for land, like the search for an integral agrarian reform that makes a dignified life possible for the campesionos, indigenous people and Afro-Colombians, in recognition of the social support that the nation provides, has been a historical constant in Colombia, and as a social right of the people it is legitimate and there must not be an attempt to stigmatize them and characterize them as terrorist activities, treating them with war, abuse of power and judicial decisions as has been laid out by President Uribe and  his government and some representatives of the judicial system.
2.    That in the development of the struggle for land, innumerable campesino and indigenous leaders have been murdered, crimes that have remained in total impunity, where the Colombian nation must assume its responsibility and guarantee what was put out in the decision of July 29, 1988 of the Interamerican Human Rights Curt, numbers 166 to 177, which directs nations to “be alert for, investigate, punish and gain the reestablishment of the rights that have been violated,” in addition to affirming that the duty to provide these guarantees is not fulfilled in legal instruments, but that “it has the quality of the necessity of government conduct which wuld assure the existence en real terms, of an effective guarantee of the free and full exercise of human rights.”
3.    That at different times and as a result of popular social mobilization, the Colombian state has signed different agreements with campesino, Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, agreements that have not been lived up to, which has obliged the communities, and in this case the indigenous people, to demand—based on their legitimate rights and by means of the liberation of our Mother Earth—that what was agreed upon be carried out.
4.    That the treatment that the state has given to the actions of liberation of Mother earth has been a behavior of war, where the use of disproportionate and unjustified force by the police and  ESMAD (their anti-riot units) is evidently flagrantly violating human rights and Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for functionaries charged with seeing to compliance with the law approved by Resolution 34/169 of the Assembly General of the UN on December 17, 1979; according to that document, “The use of force in carrying out legal or judicial requirements, should be limited to those cases in which it is strictly and proportionately necessary.”
5.    That the occurrences of May 21 of this year, in the hacienda La Empatriz, in te municipality of Caloto, Cauca, when about 500 people claimed their right to the land and the carrying out of the agreements with the state for the 1991 massacre of Nilo, they were attacked by ESMAD with explosive bombs and firearms, which resulted in 8 community members of the indigenous reserves of Jambaló, San Francisco, Huellas and Toribio being severely wounded. One of these was a bullet wound, which demonstrates the excesses in the use of police force and the lack of recognition by the state of social protest and the lack of will for dialogue and to reach agreements with the communities and their organizations that are currently mobilized.
Because of what has been put forward, the Network for Life and Human Rights of Cauca calls on national and international human rights organizations, social organizations, and public opinion in general, to make a statement to the national government, so that they carry out what has been agreed with the indigenous communities, and that they give a constitutional treatment to actions of mobilization, protest and demanding rights.
Popayán, May 21, 2008

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

A Judicial "set-up" against the opposition

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, a CSN volunteer translator)

From the Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Colombia
Some computers have appeared and others have disappeared, at the convenience of President Uribe.
Senator Gustavo Petro, referring to paragraph 91, page 33 of the Interpol report on the so-called “Reyes computers”, has demanded that the Minister of Defense explain why, between March 1 and March 3 of 2008, 48,055 files were created, opened, modified or deleted by the Colombian Army, in contradiction with another part of the report that assures that “Reyes’ laptop was not manipulated” and that “the security and civilian agencies that had control of the computer respected the chain of custody.”
With the extradition of fourteen paramilitary commanders to the United States, just at the moment when they were starting to reveal the involvement of Vice President Francisco Santos, Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos and Treasury Minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, close associates of President Alvaro Uribe in “parapolitics”, the government has put up a smokescreen, trying to divert attention from the scandals involving criminal connections with the paramilitaries and with the corruption demonstrated in the so-called “Yidis-politics”.
By the political manipulation, announced recently by Public Prosecutor MARIO IGUARAN, they are trying to prosecute congressional representatives Piedad Cordoba, Wilson Borja and Gloria Ines Ramirez in retaliation for having initiated debates about “parapolitics.” In the same manner, they are trying to involve the former presidential candidate Alvaro Leyva, the former Advisor for Peace Lazaro Vivero, the manager of the weekly Voice, Carlos Lozano and the journalist William Parra, all for trying to push initiatives in favor of peace and of humanitarian agreements, contrary to the warlike attitude of the government.
Once again the illegal character of the Colombian Government is made manifest.  It was responsible for the genocide of the Patriotic Union Party and for thousands of crimes against the popular movement. Now they are starting a new phase: opening judicial prosecutions, trying to imprison those leaders of the opposition who survived the official slaughter, as in the case of Wilson Borja, who suffered an attempt on his life or of Piedad Cordoba who was kidnapped by Carlos Castaño.
This is the way that Uribe and his supporters are trying to establish a kind of desperate parallel with the scandal of “parapolitics”, which has 32 congressional representatives of Uribe’s party, including his cousin Mario Uribe, in jail, and has involved ambassadors, ministers, governors, and high-ranking military commanders.
We are certain that the judicial branch will act according to law and will take no part in the cheap manipulations of executive power.  They are not only trying to obstruct the prosecutions that are being carried forward by the Supreme Court of Justice, but now they want to criminalize the legitimate actions of the opposition, in order to clear the way for them to perpetuate their authoritarian hegemony.
Bogotá, May 22, 2008

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, May 24, 2008

The Lies, Armed Repression, and Betrayals of the Colombian Government in Cauca

These commmuniqué from CRIC was translated by Elena Renderos.

The Lies, Armed Repression, and Betrayals of the Colombian Government in Cauca

Author: ELDER COUNCIL ˆ CRIC [Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca]

Today, 21 May 2008, in the hacienda La Emperatriz, nearly 500 people claimed their right to land and demanded the fulfillment of agreements that the Colombian state made with indigenous communities in Northern Cauca. Agreements associated with the massacre in El Nilo. The community was attacked by the ESMAD [the Colombian version of a 'SWAT' team] of the national police with bombs and firearms, seriously injuring 8 indigenous Nasa. Victims of the attack included Eulogio Dagua Cuetia, Luís Enrique Ramos, Alex Méndez and Luís Eduardo Ramos, community members from the reserves of Jambaló, San Francisco, Huellas, and Toribío.

As our readers might recall, on July 29, 1998, President Ernesto Samper, acknowledged the responsibility of the Colombian State in the massacre of El Nilo, which occurred in December 1991 (20 indigenous Nasa men, women and children were murdered). On behalf of the Colombian state, he apologized to the families of the victims and to the Nasa community of Northern Cauca, making promises to the relatives of the victims and our communities, to implement the recommendations of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission in the matter of Justice and Individual and Collective Reparations.

Ten years after this incident, the breaches continued, even though on September 13, 2005, the current government promised to fulfill any pending obligations through another agreement, within the next two years. Nevertheless, as is customary with this government, the agreement has been stalled through administrative maneuvers, bureaucratic processes, and media disinformation.

In the latest episode of events, the national government has launched strategies to generate conflict among indigenous communities, Afro-Colombians, and peasants as a means to evade its obligations. Even worse, it has promulgated the Rural Statute and taken other administrative measures that, in fact, invalidate the agreements and commitments it had made, all these measures implemented in unabashed support of multinational capital.

The Presidency of the Republic maintains a defamatory campaign filled with propaganda against indigenous communities aimed at denying our rights to reparations and to our territories. This is evidenced by the March 15, 2008, Community Council in Popayán ˆ in a conversation among President Uribe, the president of the SAG [the Society of Agriculturalists and Livestock Farmers of Cauca], the regional public prosecutor, an army general and the Ministers of the Interior and Agriculture ˆ, where the government offered rewards to informants who denounced anyone involved in the Liberation of Mother Earth.

In spite of the 1991 Constitution, which recognized the existence of indigenous communities and ordered the protection of ethnic diversity in Colombia, the massacre of El Nilo represents the continuation of official policies presented in a discriminatory and hostile manner against the people of Cauca. This situation continues in concert with the arrival of the current President to power: the Naya massacre occurred in April 2001, an event which made more than 100 people victims to paramilitary violence and nearly five thousand displaced, many of whom returned home without finding any form of security put in place by the state. In 2001, there were also the massacres of 13 indigenous in Gualanday, in the municipality of Corinto, and 7 indigenous in San Pedro, in the municipality of Santander de Quilichao.

An agreement signed in September 2005 ratified the process of the Liberation of Mother Earth put forward by the communities of Caloto. Coincidentally, three indigenous people have since been assassinated by the Public Forces, and there have been numerous reports of forced disappearances, selective murders, and of armed confrontations, all of which have had their risks minimized by the temporary displacement to permanent assembly zones organized and defined by the communities themselves within our ancestral territories.  

The government's propaganda strategy advances with threats to landowners who choose to sell their lands to indigenous peoples and objects, also when the land offered in reparation is promoted as destined for peasants, victims of displacement, and Afro-Colombian communities in order to ignite inter-ethnic conflict. The main obstacle has been the promotion of impediments presented by the government as general policies within Municipal Plans of Territorial Organization, under the premise: "not one more centimeter of land for indigenous peoples." (as the Minister of Agriculture has stated recurrently)

However, the main strategy being spread by the current President is the campaign aimed at stigmatizing indigenous organizations in Cauca, falsely accusing us of terrorism and alliances with guerrilla groups. This is the main pretext to the carrying out of Phase II of Plan Colombia in our territory, which is being implemented through military-civic actions with the objective of facilitating our flight from our land and resources, which would then be handed over to the private interests of the multinationals.

Given the repressive activity of the Public Forces against the Nasa community in Northern Cauca, as the CRIC's Elder Council, we reiterate our support for the communities that choose to continue to defend our Mother Earth and demand that the Colombian State fulfill its constitutional duty to guarantee the fundamental rights of our communities.   

We urgently require humanitarian monitoring from the international community due to the permanent violations of human rights of indigenous communities in Cauca and the breach of commitments from Colombian State towards our communities. Said attention from multilateral organizations is essential given the lack of neutrality from Uribe's government in the conflict for land in Cauca.

Lastly, we ask other indigenous communities and peasants to join in solidarity with those who claim their sacred right to land through truth, resistance, and justice.

Popayán, 21 May, 2008



Tejido de Comunicación y Relaciones Externas para la Verdad y la Vida
Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del Norte del Cauca - ACIN
Telefax: 0928 - 290958 - 293999
Email: acincauca@yahoo.es
Web: www.nasaacin.org <http://www.nasaacin.org/>
Santander de Quilichao Cauca -Colombia


Friday, May 23, 2008


( Translated by La Chiva, a collective in Canada)

Seven People Murdered by Armed Groups in the Lower San Juan
Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN)

We have just received painful news, invading our souls with bitterness and hopelessness upon learning that the lifeless body of our compañero Ovidio Málaga, ex-governor of the Puerto Pisario Council, in the Lower San Juan, and those of another five Afro-Colombian compañeros, were found in García Gómez, a territory located between the Chocó and Valle departments.
Yesterday, the governor had left to visit his brother in a nearby place, accompanied by an Afro-Colombian, Rodrigo López, and did not return home. Today, at 2pm, they were found murdered. The community does not yet have information on the authors of this massacre, but they have confirmed a great amount of armed group activity in the area of the Lower San Juan.
Today, we received the news of the murder of another 5 Afro-Colombian compañeros in the area, though at the moment of this urgent communiqué, more details are not yet available.

The source reports, "this is a military zone, under the complete control of the Armed Forces." The Council is located close to Bahía Málaga, a port megaproject and major military base of the Colombian government. In Puerto Pisario, territory of Black communities, there is another military base. Running through indigenous and Afro-Colombian territories, there is also a pipeline project, precisely where these crimes took place. The affected territory is located in the south of Chocó bordering the Valle del Cauca.
Tomorrow, the body of the murdered leader will be returned to Mother Earth. "In the midst of this pain, we are confused. The murder of the indigenous leader is the death of a community process", said the community's spokesperson.
Given these events, the community demands that the government verify the facts and conduct a subsequent investigation, that there be justice and that impunity not again prevail in this painful situation. "We demand the accompaniment of the ONIC [the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia], the CRIC [the Regional Indigenous Councils of  Cauca], and the other indigenous organizations, as well as the same from the Process of Black Communities, and human rights organizations. We hope that they don't abandon us now, knowing that the killers and those that abuse us depend on silence to do us in."
The Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca vehemently condemn this crime that, once again, demonstrates the systematic aggression against indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples. The situation of those peoples hurts and distresses us; they have committed no crime by rejecting war and defending life. They happen to live in territories of interest to those who want to displace them. They have been turned into a hindrance and are subsequently frightened and killed, not unlike that which has occurred and continues to occur in the entire national territory. We are uniting in their demand and call for accompaniment and active solidarity. We reiterate that demand. We also invite the indigenous and Afro-Colombian movement and all Colombian popular and social organizations to accompany and support the community of San Juan in these moments of pain.
We echo the words of the spokesperson Wounann, who overcome with grief expressed: "we are peaceful, we know why we have this territory".

Those of us who know that we have this territory for peace and life must unite in order to stop those who want it for exploitation and death. They are killing and expelling our brothers and sisters.
We will remain waiting. For now, we share this pain and sadness and call for the sewing of life and solidarity on earth stained with innocent blood. We demand justice. The guilty must be exposed and made to respond to these charges.

La Chiva is a Colombia solidarity group based in Edmonton, Canada.

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, May 21, 2008


( Translated by Thomas Kolar, a  CSN volunteer translator)
HUMANITARIAN COUNCIL: ASCOBA: 58 community councils in 7 valleys, 13
collectives, 15,000 persons and 2970 families.
Recounted in the presence of delegates from ACNUR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees), Ocha (UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), The Public Defender, Interior Ministry, International Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Mission
APP of the Organization of American States, Brigada Internacional de Paz, and other organizations.
Summary of some of the denunciations presented on behalf of the community:
--last night they assassinated a young leader, they took him from his house, nothing more is known.
--a return of dignity, freedom, and security needs to occur, things the government does not provide.
--working in resistance brings a sense of belonging and relevance.
--the government is saying that there is no one to whom to deliver the lands of Curvarado.
--many communities oppose the program of guardabosques (defense patrols) because it is a program supposedly dedicated to defense and in these territories there is no need, they are really intended to militarize these zones which only serves to increase insecurity.
--there is a megaproject to extract all the arracacho wood which will plunder the virgin forest.
--a megaproject of mining in Careperro resulting in the river becoming full of sediment.
--the Black Eagles (paramilitaries) have displaced families, destroying their ranchos, and where are they to go?
--what is happening now is the same thing that happened ten years ago, for it seems that again we will have displacement and intensified warfare.
--the EPS (public health service) has not paid the doctors in three months.
--the Agenda of Peace that is working with the Diocese of Itsmina and Quibdo ought to take into account that there is no true reparation and that the victims are again in a remilitarized zone.
--Doctors Without Borders denounces the grave problems of malnutrition among the displaced, the lack of clean water, problems of sexual and reproductive health (high percentage of abortions) and problems of mental health.
--the OAS (Organization of American States) reports that the Embassy of Japan is disposed to help these areas and their problems.
1.Curvarado: palm: corporations and armed groups (paramilitaries), interethnic conflicts fed by these actors.
2. Mina Careperro
3. Extraction of arracacho wood: throughout the valley of the Atrato.
4. Sale of 02: Gestras? Through a European bank that says 22,000,000 hectares are needed.
Words of the leaders: once we had a life of dignity, now we are a shadow. We note the guerilla that has returned to the attack, and the Black Eagles (paramilitaries)also, all because they both want to control our lands and we tell them that we do not want any part in their wars but only to live in peace and that they should respect our lives.
The Black Eagles have moved in to the heart of our towns where they hold power. Why?
Because we are not restricting them to only buying food and fuel. What about the law and the police who speak against them but do not attack them?
In the case of the megaprojects, the Black Eagles arrive first, then arrives the state or the FARC and a gun-battle follows and then the women, children, and everyone suffers: then there is displacement and if displacement then death, sickness, insecurity, poverty, our young are named among the illegals because they offer them money and some stability that seems better than nothing. Better said, the young join with them because they feel lost. This is better called genocide. With all that happens food security is poor because they do not want to plant when they will have to abandon the fields.
You ought to know that there is torture, disappearance, assassination, restriction of movement for our fishing and traditional community activities.
If bitten by the snake, you choose to fear the earthworm.
Rights to the land are for us inalienable, undeniable, and not saleable, but all these principles here are violated.
We demand actions not more words or visits or training without actions, we are trained and maintained like the workshop of a mechanic, but things do not change, only worsen.
So, how can we discuss with the state?
In ’96, the indigenas were displaced for six months and the afros for three months because of the AUC; the community of Chimirindo has not returned, as if this town ceased to be and there was a great extraction of wood according to some afros that went back in.
In ’97, the FARC killed three indigenous leaders. In ’98, there was combat between the FARC and the AUC; and all those territories have fallen to the armed for the extraction of wood. In Taparal there are afros that had to seek refuge in indigenous communities. There is now a large amount of settlements inside of the protected areas between Acandi and Tambo, there has been installed electric towers (while we have no electricity). A few days ago the army carried out maneuvers in the indigenous communities supposedly looking for the FARC , that is not there, and they did a lot of damage. The government makes things worse as with project REZA that brings us many chickens that only contaminate; we do not need neither chickens nor seed; we have plantains, corn, yucca, what we need is someone to sell to.
And the problem of health is serious wherever one looks, and at times indigenas have to compromise with armed men in order to be able to care for health, as what happened to a companero and his woman who were hospitalized in Turbo and remained alone without being able to speak Spanish, she died and they told the indigena he could only take her if he paid one million three hundred pesos which he did not have, a man appeared that gave him the money in return for being able to cut the wood of his community, and thus it goes. Yesterday an indigena was tortured in Pichinde del Jagual until he told where the guerilla was, and others were put in pain; in la Raya another was killed because he did not inform;
There, in the central town the people lie that the guerrilla is nearby which leads to the coming of armed men and more damage. The produce of the community lands is not worth more than two million pesos on the market each fifteen days for a community of six hundred persons and this will not last for the 15 days and they have to go first to Riosocio to ask permission from the army that has to check their identity cards and fingerprints.
In Virginia and Cacarica the marines and army are undertaking strange operations, they enter communities pretending to be illegal groups to see who will collaborate with them;
In the villages of Embera and Perancho they pretended to be FARC or the Black Eagles;
They asked strange questions and the community remained mystified because many times they had seen the positions of the army in the town and they certainly could not go to their places of work out of fear.
The 24th of March of 2008 I was arriving at Perancho after combat between the army and the guerrilla: the army fired from helicopters and bombed the people and houses; at 12:30 they began to bomb and the guerilla fired on the helicopter; it is agreed that before this ended some of the indigenas of Toribio waving white flags finally went out, a person remained wounded but he did not know if it was a bullet or fear that got him. One week later they returned disguised as the FARC . Several indigenas and afros have killed themselves. The AUC is eating the plantains and the indigenas cannot sell them.

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


Received in English from NGOS Coordinator in Colombia

Ethics Communication 5

We, members of the International Ethics Commission of the Truth in Colombia, international organizations of human rights, intellectual and groups and movements for the affirmation of the rights to the memory, truth and to the justice, OBJECT the DECISION OF EXTRADICCION adopted by the Government of the President ALVARO URIBE VELEZ, to send to the United States, by the crime of "drug trafficking", 13 Paramilitary commanders responsible for perpetrating Crimes of Lese Humanity in Colombia.  
The transfer of the paramilitary commanders SALVATORE MANCUSO GÓMEZ, ALIAS 'SANTANDER LOZADA'; RODRIGO TOVAR PUPO, ALIAS 'JORGE 40'; DIEGO FERNANDO MURILLO BEJARANO, ALIAS 'DON BERNA'; FRANCISCO JAVIER ZULUAGA LINDO, ALIAS 'GORDO LINDO'; DIEGO ALBERTO RUIZ ARROYAVE; GUILLERMO PÉREZ ALZATE, ALIAS 'PABLO SEVILLANO'; RAMIRO VANOY, ALIAS 'CUCO VANOY'; JUAN CARLOS SIERRA, ALIAS 'EL TUSO'; MARTÍN PEÑARANDA, ALIAS 'EL BURRO'; EDWIN MAURICIO GÓMEZ LARA; HERNÁN GIRALDO SERNA, ALIAS 'EL PATRÓN'; NODIER GIRALDO GIRALDO; EDUARDO ENRIQUE VENGOECHEA, is an offense to the ethics conscience of the humanity.  With this decision is closed the possibility of the exercise of justice by the victims of the Crimes of Lese Humanity committed by the paramilitary structures under the command of these 13 commanders, some of which in their partial confessions, in the courts, and in the media, have affirm their participation in the development of this criminal strategy with the consent of the Military Forces and the support of Economic and political sectors.  
  1. Through these extraditions a new mechanism of impunity is supplied, cause the crimes under which they will be judged do not correspond to the crimes of Lese Humanity but to those of drug trafficking, hiding and blurring their responsibility in the violations of the human rights and those of the Colombian State.

  1. The extradition shows the inefficiency of the Law 975 "For the Justice and For the Peace" to enable the recognition of the rights of the victims and verifies that these crimes in the Internal Right must have been courts by the ordinary justice based on a penal code according to the international law.

  1. The extradition has been understood as the exit to the breach of the Law 975 by the paramilitary, while in the meantime they continued the perpetration of the crimes, or by refusing to speak the truth, decision that favors the paramilitary against the rights of the victims.

  1. The drugs traffic is an international crime but is not comparable to the commission of systematic crimes, with a default plan and an ethically unsustainable pretension that itself express out-of-court executions, forced disappearance of people, torture and cruel treats, threats of death, the exile, the forced displacement, the political extermination, the illegal appropriation of lands and other committed crimes by these structures during the last 40 years in Colombia.

  1. The Extradition of these Paramilitary commanders, favors the impunity of the committed crimes, and distances the possibilities and longings for peace. The absence of Justice in Colombia, in the context of the armed and social conflict, sends a message of continuity of the crimes under the protection of the impunity, that supposes that all the ways and methods of repression can be used against the population and can be repeated again and again.

  1. The U.S. judicial system will not guarantee the judgment of the Crimes of Lese Humanity committed by these paramilitary commanders, because this is designed on the base of the politics of agreement and draft agreement, foresees that if this type of criminals supply prominent information related to its illegal activities of drug trafficking, can be conferred to them punitive benefits that will be translated in the payment of minimum grief for non comparable with the Committed crimes. Worse still, they can arrive at the witnesses protection mechanisms request, in which they can get the change of their identity and with it denying, for future generations, the possibility of the exercise of the Truth and the Justice.

  1. By the previous thing, the decision of the Colombian Government to Extradite these 13 paramilitary commanders, added to the already extradited, "Macaco", conducts to a new violation of the rights of the victims.  Leaving in a legal meaningless Colombian legislation. They have remained without effect the orders of capture, the callings to judgment, and the prison sentences that has hurled the ordinary justice against these paramilitary leaders.

  1. The Extradition becomes a mechanism of impunity that will avoid or will do more difficult the access for the victims and its relatives to instances of International Justice as the case of the International Penal Cut – CPI.

  1. Colombian Government argues that the decision to extradite the 13 paramilitary commanders is based on that they continued their criminal actions, refused to speak the truth and to deliver the goods obtained through the committed crimes. Before ordering the extradition, the correct procedure should have been the loss of the benefit of the law 975 and the transfer of the investigations to the ordinary justice, continuing with the orders of capture, callings to judgment and prison sentences hurled by the competent authorities before the enforcement of the law  of Justice and Peace, just as have indicated by the General Proxy of the Nation and the Office of the High Commissioned of United Nations for the Human Rights in Colombia.
  1. The decision of the extradition, is becoming a new mechanism of political and legal impunity that assures the absence of full clarification and the individualization of the makers, accomplices or economic, military, and political beneficiaries, some of which are being investigated for the Supreme Court of Justice and in such sense, does not attend to the recommendations given by the Office of the High Commissioned of United Nations for Human rights and those of the Commission and Pan-american Cut of Human Rights. This decision of extradition is ethically objectionable, therefore goes in the wrong way of the rights of the victims and of the possibilities of a real democracy in Colombia, before the serious situation of paramilitarización that permeates the Colombian government, the economic, political, and social life of the country.

  1. What will happen now with almost 15 thousand disappeared people in Colombia?  What will happen with more than 3 thousand common graves located in different places of the country, where these paramilitary leaders acted?  What will happen now with almost 8 million appropriate hectares in an illegal way in development of their crimes?  What will happen now with the truth on the links between politicians and paramilitary groups, businessmen, judicial, civil authorities and the police?  What will happen now with the investigations of the called “para-política” in departments like Antioquia?  What will happen now with the rights of the victims of these crimes? Why it was not acted in Right and was removed of the framework of the Law 975 the 13 paramilitary commanders to pass them to the Ordinary Justice?  Why is not acted in favor of the victims of the crimes of Lese Humanity?  Why the District attorney's Office did not defend the possibility that the rights of truth, to Justice and to Integral Repair could be favored?

The members of the Ethics Commission of the Truth in Crimes of Lese Humanity reiterate our solidarity with the victims and organizations belonging to the State Crimes Victims Movement in Colombia, and we call to the community of Human Rights in the world to support the initiatives of this social expression stigmatized by the Colombian Government
The initiative of the Ethics Commission of the Truth in Crimes of Lese Humanity in Colombia, today more than ever takes force before the political development of new mechanisms of impunity, because the political decision of the government of Colombia is to hide the truth, to distort the reality to its own favor and of the killers, and to transfer to the victims and the sectors of opposition the responsibility for the impunity, the absence of progress and of peace.  
People from the Ethics Commission of truth
Mirta Baravalle, de las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo – Línea Fundadora – Argentina;

Enrique Nuñez Aranda,  de la Comisión Ética contra la Tortura en Chile / Agrupación de Ex presos y Ex presas Políticos de Chile;

Lorenzo Lonkon, Werken Mapuche. Pueblo indígena Mapuche de Chile y Argentina.

Libertad Sánchez, Asociación por la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica, Mérida, España.

P. Tonio Dell'Olio, Associazioni, Nomi e Numeri Contro le Mafie -  LIBERA, Italia.

Carlos  Fazio, México. Profesor de la UNAM y analista.

Rainer Huhle, centro de Derechos Humanos de Nuremberg, Alemania

Stephen Nathan Haymes, Ph.D. de la University DePaul, Chicago, EEUU;

Alberto Giráldez, Comunidad Cristiana de Santo Tomás de Aquino. Madrid, España;

Rick Ufford-Chase. Director Ejecutivo, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. Moderador de la 216 Asemblea General, Presbyterian Church, USA

Charity Ryerson y Liz Deligio, del Movimiento por el cierre de la Escuela de las Américas - SOA Watch, EEUU;

Movimiento de los Trabajadores Sin Tierra, MST Brasil.

Federación Democrática Internacional de Mujeres – FDIM – Oficina Regional para América Latina y el Caribe - Cuba.

France Amérique-Latine, París Francia

Francois Houtart, sacerdote, gestor Foro Social Mundial, director del Cetri; Bélgica.

Bernardine Dohrn, jurista de la Universidad Northwestern de Chicago; EEUU.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel Premio Nóbel, miembro de SERPAJ; Argentina.

Miguel Álvarez Gándara, Asociación Serapaz – Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz -  México;

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

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sketch of an outlaw State

 (Translated by Peter Lenny, a CSN volunteer translator)
Luis Jairo Ramirez H.*
Published in Spanish in Rebelion http://www.rebelion.org
On the eve of the 6th March protests in tribute to the victims, Mr. RAFAEL NIETO LOAIZA wrote in SEMANA magazine, issue 1347: “The march on 6th March will be a fiasco. I flatly refuse to accept that the Colombian State is a criminal State, which is the consequence that follows from accepting the crimes of State argument. Delinquent behavior by some cannot be extended to stigmatize the State as a whole. Besides, the organizers are committing another mistake, by placing the offenses of the paramilitaries in the same bag as those committed by the forces of law and order. In doing so, they turn the Armed Forces and the Police into another faction of murderers, equivalent to the former. Such an assertion is, of course, not only false, but unjust.” The sense of what Councilor José Obdulio Gaviria, the distasteful Plinio Apuleyo, former Uribista minister Londoño Hoyos and others wrote was identical.
Well, let’s salvage some relevant historical memory. Already during the debates over the justice and peace law attention was drawn to the State’s responsibility by omission or commission in crimes against humanity, with the observation that application of the law could not be reduced solely to the paramilitary (the material culprits), but that it was necessary that the intellectual culprits of the crimes, the beneficiaries of such horrors, should be investigated and punished with all rigor. Recently the Supreme Court’s “para-politics” investigation and a number of verdicts by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights – all serious and documented – have found that there has indeed been a close association between State, the paramilitary and mafias to commit crimes against humanity.
The State’s responsibility in this national tragedy of blood and horror has not been an isolated event, nor a coincidence. History, at least over the past century, is saturated with crimes of State that have gone unpunished.



Not to go too far back, let us recall the events that led to the Las Bananeras massacre 80 years ago. General Carlos Cortés Vargas, appointed civil and military commander of the region militarized the banana producing zone, detained some 500 strikers and subjected many of them to bone-breaking torture. In the early morning of 6 December troops machine-gunned a peaceful mass rally in the square at Ciénaga, leaving over a thousand dead and hundreds of wounded. In conclusion, both the transnational United Fruit Company and the conservative government of Abadía Méndez expressed their support and congratulations for the murderous military.




From 1946, when the conservative party returned to power, Colombia entered its darkest period of violence. Atrocious crimes, pillage, arson and all kinds of violations were unleashed on the population with the participation of the official police. Estimates are that over 300,000 died, thousands were displaced and stripped of their possessions, and these events were never investigated. Not only did all this meet with the most complete impunity, but often was encouraged by the parish priests. Here justice owes Colombia a historical debt.


On 9 April 1948, Jorge Eliécer Gaitan was murdered at a time when, representing the liberal party,  he was the strongest aspirant to the presidency and had just led the silent demonstration in protest at institutional violence. The Gaitan movement was annihilated and only the conservative party candidate ran in the 1950 elections. Gaitan was an obvious obstacle to conservative party plans to hold on to its political dominance. Yet another crime that has gone unpunished to this day.




The Santa Bárbara (Antioquia) massacre, one of the most painful episodes for the Colombian working class, took place on 23 February 1963.


The army infiltrated the company facility among the strikers’ tents to protect the caravans of tip-wagons bringing out loads of clinker – one of the raw materials used in cement production – to the Argos cement plant in Medellín. Under orders of Captain Guzmán and Sergeant Jaramillo, the soldiers opened “fire on these people”. What followed was a dense barrage from rifles pointing in all directions. The first dead and wounded began to fall at once, among them a little girl, María Edilma Zapata (daughter of the cement worker and trade unionist, Luís Eduardo Zapata García).


The culprits for this massacre included the directors of Cementos El Cairo; the President of Colombia, Guillermo León Valencia; Colonel Armando Valencia Paredes; Captain Guzmán and Sergeant Jaramillo, who gave the order to open fire on the strikers; the Governor of Antioquia, Fernando Gómez Martínez, who sowed lies and slander through the El Colombiano newspaper against the trade union organization leading the strike and authorized the army attack on the strikers. This was clearly a crime of State and class against the cement workers.



On 14 September 1977, four trade unions, using the constitutional right to protests and demonstrate, called a national civic stoppage in support of justified labor and popular demands. The López Michelsen government deployed troops which fired on the unarmed protesters, leaving 39 citizens murdered, hundreds wounded and thousands arrested in Bogota alone. To this day not a single authority has been taken to court.




Since a truce and the La Uribe agreements were signed between the Betancourt government and the FARC guerrilla in 1984, the insurgents attempted a political transition and set up a party, Unión Patriótica, thus to advance towards achieving peace. The establishment felt its centuries-old privileges threatened and unleashed a brutal manhunt against the leaders of the UP and the Communist Party, resulting in a genocide with over 5,000 leaders murdered. Most cases involved the military acting alongside paramilitary forces. Once again the justice institutions proved incapable of acting and the crimes continue unpunished.




On 6 November 1985 the insurgent group M.19 broke into the Palace of Justice with the intention of passing judgment on the President of Colombia. The army attacked the palace, ignoring pleas for a ceasefire and, in the 28 hours the struggle for the palace lasted, one hundred Colombians were sacrificed, among them 11 Supreme Court judges. During the disappeared persons process, Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega, Sergeants (r) Antonio Jiménez and Ferney Causalla, were arrested as members of the group that retook the palace. Retired General Iván Ramírez Quintero is also under investigation.



As a result of the “para-politics” scandals, no-one is in any doubt today that the paramilitary groups were created, promoted, given cover and financed by the Colombian State, as declared in any number of penal, disciplinary and administrative investigations, which nonetheless are far from meeting international standards in terms of truth, justice and reparation. Both UN and OAS bodies have signaled clearly the State’s responsibility by commission and omission in the development and consolidation of the paramilitary structures. The paramilitary leaders themselves have acknowledged publicly that the Colombian State and its agents have fostered and supported them permanently with arms, training and financing in exchange for their pressuring the population in the regions to vote for para-politicians.


The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has conducted a number of investigations and condemns the Colombian States for its responsibility for the massacres at El Aro (Antioquia), Trujillo (Valle), the 19 traders of Magdalena Medio, the La Rochela massacre, the massacre at Mapiripan, which took place between 15 and 20 July 1997. Orders have been given for the arrest of 15 members of the military involved in the massacre at San José de Apartadó perpetrated on 21 February 2005. Other murders include Jesús Maria Valle, the Communist Senator Manuel Cepeda Vargas and Miller Chacon etc. In all these cases, there is a clear and close association between the State and the paramilitary groups to commit these crimes. These atrocities have been and are committed systematically and with planning against grassroots sectors of society and politicians who have taken action in opposition and to claim their rights in full.


The para-politics case papers mention 161 political leaders who were members of parliament, governors, mayors, councilors or deputies. Of these, 60 are, and 19 were, members of parliament, that is to say, more than half those mentioned are under investigation by the Supreme Court or the Attorney-General. Among the 32 members of congress arrested is Senator Mario Uribe, the President’s cousin; Luís Alberto Gil, leaders of the political party, Convergencia Ciudadana, with a great deal of power in several regions; Luís Humberto Gómez Gallo, a prominent conservative politician, Roció Arias, and Mauricio Pimiento, all of the coalition supporting Uribe. The arrest of Jorge Noguera, former director of [President Uribe’s intelligence and security service] DAS, and Rafael García Torres, former IT director of DAS, as well as former ambassadors, leaders, high-ranking members of the military and civil servants investigated and warrants issued for their arrest, are all evidence of the paramilitaries’ connections in all the institutions of State.


There can be no doubt that what confronts us is a State and a government outside the law. Uribe Vélez’s “Democratic Security” policy is responsible for worsening the human rights crisis by increasingly involving the civil population in the armed conflict, militarizing civil life, forming networks of informants, recruiting peasant soldiers, conducting widespread arbitrary mass arrests, extrajudicial executions of peasants subsequently presented as guerrilla fighters, driving “Plan Colombia” and “Plan Patriota”, encouraging impunity under Law 975 of 2005 without demobilizing the paramilitaries, indiscriminate fumigation, reforms to the National Constitution, and promotion of laws that further impunity and contravene the international principles that guarantee human rights and humanitarian law.


Messrs Nieto Loaiza, José Obdulio and Londoño Hoyos, it could only occur to you alone that more than 70,000 crimes against humanity committed since 1966, 3,500 common graves, 5,000 murders of the UP and the Communist Party, 2,550 trade unionists murdered, 955 extrajudicial executions committed by the national army on the orders of President Uribe, 15,000 disappeared persons and 4 million displaced are isolated events!! No-one has a right to that much lack of shame!!


*Political scientist. Leader of the Permanent Committee for Human Rights

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, May 09, 2008

Oppose the planting of oil palms and support the communities

Received from Justicia y Paz international mailing list

Since our previous email alert last year, Colombia’s government has continued to promote agrofuel expansion.  Plantation expansion for agrofuels remains a major threat to the lives, livelihoods and the environment of Afro-Colombian and other peasant communities in the department of Chocó, Colombia.  This is one of the most biodiverse regions worldwide, with large areas of rainforest now facing destruction. Communities, rainforests and other biodiverse ecosystems are under threat from palm oil and sugar cane expansion for agrofuels in other parts of Colombia, too, for example around Tumaco, near the border with Ecuador, in Santander and in Magdalena. 

The exiled community leader Ligia Maria Cheverra has summed up the situation: Our territory is being given to the palm oil producers. We need to stop every monoculture and the projects that are targeting our Colombia. This will affect the whole continent. Everything will be lost: the land, the water, the air, the animals, the people. What belongs to us is being destroyed. In Colombia those who speak out with a loud voice are being killed. Here only the ones who sell themselves are rewarded, and those who don’t are called guerrilleros.”
Serious threats and human rights abuses continue against communities settled in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó basin in Chocó.  Community leaders who are opposing the planting of oil palms and supporting the communities which hold legal land titles in returning to their land have been receiving death threats.  Other local people have been harassed by members of the paramilitary and military forces.  Last September, two people were shot and injured by men believed to be members of a paramilitary group.  Threats against communities who have returned to their land continue.  Since 2001, 113 killings, 13 forced displacements, many death threats and illegal land occupations have been reported.  Last December, the Attorney General filed a case against 23 representatives of palm oil companies, however this has not led to any real efforts to stop the expansion of palm oil and cattle ranching on community lands.  Decisive government action is needed to guarantee the lives and the safety of community members and to ensure reparation for the environmental destruction and the human rights abuses which have happened.
The government’s National Council for Political Economy and Social Affairs (CONPES) recently announced new policies to increase government support for agrofuel expansion with a view to turning Colombia into a major global agrofuel exporter. The human rights abuses in Chocó and elsewhere, and the accelerated destruction of rainforests and other vital and biodiverse ecosystems are the direct result of those government policies.  Please ask the government to stop and reverse those policies and to protect communities and the countries rich environment from further destruction for agrofuels.



Dear Sir/Madam,


I am deeply concerned about the ongoing rainforest destruction and human rights abuses in Chocó and other regions in Colombia which are linked to the government’s support for agrofuel expansion.  The National Council for Political Economy and Social Affairs (Conpes) has recently announced new plans to promote agrofuel production which will mean large-scale expansion of plantations, particularly of oil palms and sugar cane.  Such policies will aggravate environmental destruction and human rights abuses.


There have been further threats and other human rights abuses against community members who have returned to their lands and resist the illegal occupation of that land by palm oil companies.  In Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó basin, department of Chocó, community leaders have been receiving death threats.  In February 2008, the representative of a palm oil company offered a large sum of  money  to a gunman to kill community leaders Ligia Maria Chaverra and Manuel Denis Blandon.  Other local people have been harassed by members of the paramilitary and military forces.  Last September, two people were shot and injured by men believed to be members of the paramilitary group “Aguilas Negras” (Black Eagles). Those threats happen simultaneously with the continuing expansion of palm oil plantation and deforestation by companies.
Since 2001, 113 killings, 13 forced displacements, many death threats and illegal land occupations have been reported in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó. I am deeply concerned that government officials have been questioning the legal status of the Humanitarian Zone before the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights.
Agrofuel expansion is already destroying some of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems, such as in Chocó and Nariño, greatly accelerating global warming and destroying both the present and future livelihoods of the population.
A moratorium on agrofuel developments from large-scale monocultures and a review of the government’s biofuel policy are essential to prevent further human rights abuses and to avoid catastrophic biodiversity losses, freshwater pollution and depletion, soil erosion and accelerated global warming.  A full enquiry into social and environmental impacts of large-scale monocultures must now be carried out.  The government must guarantee the safety, human rights and land rights of the communities in Chocó and elsewhere and investigate and all prosecute human rights abuses, including the recent death threats and attacks.
It is essential that the government

  • Immediately returns the ancestral land to     communities affected by monoculture plantations, such as the Curvaradó     Afro-Colombian communities affected by oil palm plantations, and to     implement the 169 Convention of the International Labor Organization;
  • Stops further deforestation and     exploitation of large-scale oil palm plantations and the processing of     palm oil in the Curvaradó river basin and elsewhere in Colombia;
  • Guarantees the reparation of human and     environmental damages generated by the imposition of large scale     monoculture
  • Recognizes and respects local civilian     initiatives aimed at protecting the environment such as the recent     creation of Biodiversity Zones.
Those measures are essential for avoiding a social and environmental disaster.
Yours faithfully,
Email addresses:
 Vicepresidente de la República
comunicacionesvp@presidencia.gov.co <http://uk.f279.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=comunicacionesvp@presidencia.gov.co>  
buzon1@presidencia.gov.co <http://uk.f279.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=buzon1@presidencia.gov.co>

 Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores

 Ministro Ambiente
cinterno@minambiente.gov.co <http://uk.f279.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=cinterno@minambiente.gov.co>

 Fiscal General de la Nación
derechosdepeticion@fiscalia.gov.co <http://uk.f279.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=derechosdepeticion@fiscalia.gov.co>  
denuncias@fiscalia.gov.co <http://uk.f279.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=denuncias@fiscalia.gov.co>

 Procurador General de la Nación

 Defensor Nacional del Pueblo
bogota@defensoria.org.co <http://uk.f279.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=bogota@defensoria.org.co>

 Contralor General de la Nación
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, May 07, 2008


(Translated by Peter Lenny, a CSN volunteer translator)



In view of what we have called our rejuvenated organization and the new directions of our armed struggle, we take this opportunity to notify our serious intention to declare open the opportunity that many Colombians sympathetic to our ideals have called for throughout Colombia, the daily wish of many fellow countrymen is a TOTAL REARMAMENT OF THE PARAMILITARY FORCES, which defend private property and the collective interests of thousands of Colombian men and women, it was a grave error to undertake a process of demobilization which has brought us to the disaster that we are facing, POLITICAL RECOGNITION FOR WHAT THE FARC-EP HAVE FOUGHT SO LONG HARD FOR MORE THAN 50 YEARS is evident, and has undermined the honor or many Colombians, WE HAVE BEEN CLEARLY DEFEATED IN THE POLITICAL AND MILITARY FIELDS, today the Colombian guerrilla, boasts of sowing its ideology in foreign territories, it enjoys international status, and not only this but it boasts of the strong support from many Heads of State, it is time to generate a change of attitude, to confront such consequences produced by feeble governments, without direction or determination, kneeling to United States policies and strategies, ALVARO URIBE VELEZ represents submission and particular interests, trickery, irresponsibility and worse still A FALSE COMPATRIOT WHO WITH GIFTS OFFERED IN AN ABSURD DEMOBILIZATION ATTEMPTS TO GAIN INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION WITH A VIEW TO PERPETUATING HIMSELF IN POWER.
We believe faithfully that paramilitarism has been a method of social and political domination that has its roots in the doctrine of democratic national security. It began as an anti-subversive strategy and ended up turning into a model of territorial control, bringing together the most retrograde sectors of the armed forces, the political parties and private enterprise.

Neglect by the State of the effort to conserve the monopoly of force is extraordinarily dangerous and unpredictable. We, the AGUILAS NEGRAS, are not the emerging gangs that figure on the national scene, words invented by Interior and Justice Minister CARLOS HOLGUIN SARDI, a conservative bureaucrat who only EXERTS POLITICAL PRESSURES WITH A VIEW TO SUSTAINING HIS FAMILY AND CLOSE FRIENDS IN THE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, on the contrary we have continued and resumed our armed struggle with support and tolerance from the State and the general citizenry who guide us to act within military and political parameters defined by those who spur us on.
On the basis of the foregoing, all those organizations, institutions, diplomatic representations and people in general who receive this communiqué, are declared PHASE A MILITARY OBJECTIVES (MEDIA, NGOs, EMBASSIES, MEMBERS AND FORMER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, AND MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC WHO OFFER SUPPORT AND LOGISTICAL COLLABORATION TO THE NARCOGUERRILLA) which means a strong blow to the backbone of the FARC-EP’s political and military circumstances, besides the consequences deriving from them, such as murders, disappearances and all that has to do with our political and military ideology tending to put an end once and for all to the contributory scourge of disguised citizens participation giving unconditional support both armed and political, to these narco-terrorist groups, as our supreme commander declares, it is time to say COLOMBIA LIVES, if COLOMBIA LIVES IN PEACE.


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



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