BATTLES PLACE OUR COMMUNITY AT RISK
The reality of death and war that we experience in this region and that places the civilian population in great danger, especially our community, was reaffirmed once again. The lies that the government has always supplied continue to be furnished. It’s not just about the massacre of February 21, 2005, carried out by the Army, but also about the peace supposedly experienced in the area without guerrillas or paramilitaries. These daily proofs show the real situation:
On Tuesday, September 2, between 7 and 9 a.m. there were battles in the town of La Esperanza between paramilitaries and guerrillas. This was just ten minutes from the place where the families of our community live in the town of La Esperanza.
On Sunday, August 31, between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m., there were battles in the town of La Esperanza between paramilitaries and guerrillas. This was just 30 minutes from the place where the families of our community live in the town of La Esperanza.
On Saturday, August 30, more than 200 paramilitaries arrived in the town of Playa Larga, 20 minutes from the town of La Esperanza. They captured two farmers from the town of Playa Larga, saying that the two farmers were guerrillas and that they were going to get rid of all of the people of La Esperanza, Mulatos, and Resbaloza, because they were nothing but guerrillas.
For the last two weeks, soldiers from the Army have said that ours is a guerrilla community because we held a wake for Arturo David on August 14 in San Josesito. Arturo David died in a confrontation with the Army, in the second week of August. He had belonged to our community until January 2004, when he resigned. And the community made his resignation public. We held a wake for Arturo because his mother, who belongs to our community, asked us to do it. He was later buried in the cemetery at San Jose.
These cases, which we leave to history, show the gravity of the situation and the threats from the paramilitaries, who have acted together with the armed forces in Nueva Antioquia and in the Uraba region. (as we have established month after month). They make it eminently risky for us to return and they risk the lives of the members of our community and the rest of the civilian population in the area. These battles so close to the homes in the community could be a factor in the displacement of families.
The stigmatization of which we are victims just demonstrates the shortsightedness of those who are spreading death. They treat us like guerrillas because we carried out a humane act—the burial of a human being. This shows an utterly dehumanizing logic. To be buried is the right of every person. It is contained in international law. It is an act that we have taken before and that we will not stop doing. We did it with Wilmar Durango, a paramilitary who worked with the Army. He belonged to our community until 2000 and had done horrible things against our community and he was buried in our community at the request of his mother, who is part of our community. He was murdered on December 14, 2005 by the very same Army. Those who can only act with the logic of death continue to believe that their actions of extermination, of stigmatization, of threats, will make us give up our humanitarian principles, our respect for life, our search for truth, justice and solidarity. They are utterly mistaken. The light we have chosen will never be extinguished because it is a light that lives by the judgment of all humanity.
PEACE COMMUNITY OF SAN JOSE DE APARTADO
September 3, 2008
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621