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Friday, October 31, 2008


We turn to the national and international community so that, in solidarity, we may unite our voices in opposition of the threats of death to which we are being subjected.  For the record, we would like to share with you the following facts:
·     On October 30, paramilitaries in the region of Nueva Antioquia stopped three people, one from Playa Larga and two from La Esperanza, and told them to take a message to their “town full of guerrillas.”  They told them that the people of Esperanza must leave if they want to avoid being massacred, and that they have a list of six specific people from the community that they intend to murder.  The paramilitaries emphasized that the three had better relay the message to the community, and then released them.  
·     On the 28 and 29 of October, the army was present the whole day in homes and in the school of La Esperanza, preventing children from attending classes and putting the civilian population in great danger.  When asked to leave, they stated that this “Peace Community” is a nest of guerrillas and that its people ought to exterminated.
·     On October 25, a member of the community was approached by two lightly armed civilians that took his picture and told him that, as a guerrilla, he is doing damage to the country.  The two men then took off running and jumped into a truck with no plates.
·     On October 20, six members of the community were illegally asked for their names and addresses by members of the army in the village of Frasquillo in the municipality of Tierra Alta.  The community members were headed toward Naín, where 22 families that are part of the Peace Community live.  There, a meeting was held with the community and with an alternative school that operates there.  The six people from the community were being accompanied by members of the Swiss organization, Kitchens Without Borders.
All of these events clearly demonstrate a plan to generate terror and to wipe out our community.  In Nueva Antioquia, the paramilitaries are under the protection of the army, and move throughout these areas freely.  In early 2005, the military and paramilitaries announced that they were planning to exterminate us.  At the time, they fulfilled their promise of committing a massacre by murdering eight people.  Now, these same actors of death and terror have again announced that they plan to exterminate us, despite the fact that for the last three years we have continued more firmly than ever in our alternative path of non-violence. And in spite of the actions of extermination of which we are the victims, we will never concede in the face of violence because we believe in a life that is built on real and daily actions that work towards peace.
We, therefore, urge you to contact the following individuals and to demand a stop to the planned massacre and that the army respect the rights of the civilian population.  In your messages, please ask why paramilitaries are so active in a region already controlled by the police and military.
-Your Senators and Representatives: see CSN In Action (
http://www.colombiasupport.net/actioncenter.html <http://www.colombiasupport.net/actioncenter.html> )

-The Political Attache of the US Embassy: Scott Fagan:

-In Colombia: General Hector Eduardo Pena, Commander 17th Brigade:
                       Col. Jorge Hernando Murillo, Police Commander of Uraba:
                       Dr. Edgardo Maya, Procurador General:
                       Dr. Wolmar Antonio Perez Ortiz, Defensor del Pueblo:       
                       Dr. Juan Manuel Santos, Minister of Defense:       

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

Thursday, October 30, 2008


( Translated by Peter Lenny, a CSN volunteer translator)

·    535 extra-judicial executions were recorded from 1 January 2007 to 1 July 2008.

·     In 58% of the cases, the victims were juveniles.

These and other figures on extra-judicial executions, as well as on the context of new patterns and methods of concealing how these crimes are committed, the states most affected, and exposés of some of the most important cases, will all be considered tomorrow, Wednesday, 29 October, as part of the event "Extra-judicial Executions: An Undeniable Reality", to take place from 9 am, at the Gabriel García Márquez Cultural Centre (Calle 11, No 5-60).

At the same event, the International Observation Mission on Extra-judicial Executions and Impunity in Colombia will present its Final Report. The mission took place from 3 to 10 October 2007 with the participation of 13 independents professionals (jurists, journalists, forensic anthropologists and human rights experts) from Germany, Spain, United States, France and the United Kingdom.

Reports on extra-judicial executions in the Catatumbo region and in Arauca state will also be presented.

Organised by the Colombia-Europe-United States Coordination, a coalition of 199 Colombian groups formed for human rights promotion, information and advocacy, the event will be attended by human rights advocacy social organisations, the diplomatic corps, representatives of the United Nations System office in Colombia, members of the Colombian Congress. Invitations have been sent to State oversight agencies and institutions of the central government.

This dramatic situation is sure to be one of the key issues in the examination of human rights violations that the Colombian government will be asked to explain, on 10 December 2008, by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

In their report for the Universal Periodic Review, the 4 platforms on Human Rights and Peace, the Coalition against Connecting Children and Young People with the Armed Conflict, the Working Group on Women and Armed Conflict, the World Organization Against Torture and the Observatory against Racial Discrimination complain that "In the past five years, there has been a 67.71% increase in recorded extra-judicial executions  directly attributed to government forces, and this lapse coincides with application of the policy of “democratic security" applied by the present government since it came to office on 7 August 2002".

In its last report on the human rights situation in Colombia, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights recognised "The persistence of extrajudicial executions attributed to members of the security forces,especially members of the Army", adding also that "Some common characteristics of the complaints are the following: the victims are represented as having being killed in combat; the scene of the crime has been tampered with before the bodies were identified; and often investigations have been initiated by the Military Criminal Justice system. Official investigations reveal that the underlying motives in several of these cases may be related to pressure on the military to show results, or to false claims of success in action by certain members of the security forces to obtain benefits and recognition".

Despite these constant concerns on the part of the Colombian and international communities, on 9 September, Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos declared that there had been “a substantial reduction in cases” of extra-judicial executions, claiming that so far this year only 25 cases had occurred, in contrast with the 102 documented by the organisations.

The cases of Soacha and Ciudad Bolívar and others uncovered as a result of those events in other regions of Colombia have shown not only that this practice is being used persistently and systematically, but also that new patterns and methods are being developed to cover up the commission of these crimes and ensure they go unpunished.

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


 October 30, 2008


            The Colombia Support Network (CSN) is pleased to learn that the Uribe Administration has taken the step of firing 25 members of the Colombian military accused of human rights abuses. We hope this is the beginning of a long-needed reform of the Colombian Army. CSN has for the past year documented on our web page the multiple illegal activities of members of the Colombian Army. Please see http://www.colombiasupport.net/2008/CSN_Aug_Col_Army_Atrocities.pdfThese include many incidents of murder of civilians and participation in drug-trafficking and other corrupt activities. Particularly distressing has been the kidnapping of innocent civilians from one area of the country and their transfer to other areas, where they are murdered and then falsely presented as “guerrillas.” A shocking example of this “false positive” practice appears now on our web page in the story of one soldier’s account of how his civilian brother was kidnapped and killed by his fellow soldiers to earn credit for a downed guerrilla so they could spend Mother’s Day with their families. Please see 

    Just last week we encountered further evidence of the apparent complicity of the Colombian Army with illegal paramilitaries, when Father Rafael Gallego, a parish priest from Tiquisio in Bolivar Department, was denied a visa CSN had requested for him. Father Gallego was invited by CSN to travel to 10 communities in The United States and Canada talk about his work in community activities and in local radio development. His visa was denied for alleged “security” reasons, we believe at the behest of the Colombian military. Father Gallego’s name appeared on a hit list issued by the paramilitary organization “Aguilas Negras” (Black Eagles). The fact that he was denied a visa suggests to us collaboration between the Colombian military and the “Aguilas Negras” (as well as a much too ready acceptance by the U.S. Embassy and Consulate of the advice of the Colombian military when considering visa applications).

        We applaud efforts to clean out rights abuses from the Colombian military. However, the Uribe Administration has a long way to go properly to reform this abusive military. We will continue to monitor its measures and military activities closely.


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

Press Conference on Oct 18 against workers

( Translated by Rolf Schoneneborn, a CSN volunteer translator )

The executive committee of the Unified Workers' Confederation of Colombia (CUT) wants to launch protests both nationally and internationally against a press conference which took place October 18, at the Colombian 'White House' , the Palacio de Narino, with national media  (radio, TV, and news services) in attendance. The Colombian government was represented by Diego Palacio, secretary of health and welfare, general Oscar Naranjo, head of Colombia's national police, and Maria del Pilar Hurtado, head of the department of administrative security.

The press conference was called to announce that six warrants of arrest had been issued against militants involved in the strike of sugar cane cutters; no names, however, were given. It was announced also that two French and one German national had been deported because of their apparent active support of the strike.  Secretary Diego Betancourt as well as general Naranjo made it clear that these strikes, though in keeping with the constitution and the law of the land, as well as the campaigns of civil disobedience of the Cauca indigenous communities to force the government to honor its agreements were part and parcel of the subversive plans of the FARC sixth front to destabilize the national government. Both insisted that  solidarity campaigns regarding these labor conflicts and the mobilization of the indigenous communities would have to be considered criminal.

Also,  the workers' confederation very strongly disapproves of the attempts of the government  to criminalize  social and union struggles. This also goes for the attempts of the police and the army to actively prevent social mobilization efforts and strikes which are in accord with the  Columbian constitution and  international ILO-agreements (ILO- International Labor Organization) and were ratified by  Colombia.

Measures such as military and intelligence gathering operations are not only used by the national government in its war on terror but also against labor unions and social organizations that dare to demand that law and constitution be respected.

We call on the national and international labor movement, social organizations, human rights organizations, the Colombian attorney general's office, the church, and all political parties to  let president Uribe know that executive action is needed since it can no longer be tolerated that civic organizations that are clearly democratic and have been  recognized as such by the state should now be considered terrorist in nature. Colombians as well as the global community should hold president Uribe responsible for innumerable casualties, non-fatal and fatal, suffered by indigenous  communities as a result of military interventions to prevent people from exercising their right to demonstrate and mobilize for change, for not honoring agreements and for human rights violations such as segregation and displacement.

Summarizing, we believe that this press conference was held for no other reason than to justify the use of arms and other repressive measures against workers in general, and in particular against those involved in labor struggles, progressive organizations and labor unions.

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

Firing military officers over the case of the disappeared of Soacha is a decision made too late: Petro

(Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN volunteer translator)

Bogotá, October 29, 2008
Since September of 2006, Senator Gustavo Petro has been warning about the errors in the system for measuring the efficiency of the military, expressed in losses [by the other side -SC ], and that this modality for grading them is generating “false positives.”
On September 19, 2006, in a debate in the First Commission of the Senate, Petro said to the head of the military portfolio that the construction of a promotion system within the military called “positive results, is a mechanism I would call a little ‘yuppie’ for measuring efficiency.”
At that time Senator Petro expressed to Minister Juan Manuel Santos that “according to this modality for promotion in rank, the ten last Army or Police officer, who have the worst results measured in casualties inflicted on the groups on the edge of the law, leave their military career,” and added that this policy of benefits to military officers for the deaths in combat reported “is stimulating false positives.”
Petro told the minister that he had to stop this policy of military promotions because it was what was causing the murder of Colombian citizens.
Today Senator Petro believes that “The solution that was taken is a late decision, it does not solve the fundamental topic, which is to change the policy of military promotions in Colombia, and now nobody will bring back to life the hundreds of thousands of citizens murdered by the very State,” said the Senator from the Polo Democrático [the Democratic Pole, an opposition political party—SC], and he added that what he is talking about is “a crime against humanity committed by the government of President Uribe and by public functionaries of the State.”
Petro said that in this case the Minister of defense knew about this because since September 19, 2006, he had presented hundreds of cases and had affirmed that this “systematic situation of murders of civilians” was coming from a policy created in the Ministry of Defense that kicks out of the military “those who produce the fewest casualties,” and added that “It’s a kind of benefit for producing deaths.”
Watch the video of the debate at
www.gustavopetro.net <http://www.gustavopetro.net/>
Visit the blog at http://www.gustavopetro.blogspot.com
Make your comments or write to Senator Petro at gpetro@coldecon.net.co

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, October 29, 2008

Letters from Colombian society to FARC and the answer from FARC

(Translated by Stephanie DiBello, a CSN volunteer translator )

Letter from the Colombian society to the secretary of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Bogotá DC., September 11, 2008-10-28
 Gentleman of the Secretariat:  
The solution of the complex crisis that ails the society and the Colombian State demands a wise reflection like the participation of the distinct sectors expressed in civil society and of those committed actors in the internal armed conflict that encumbers the country. The object is to avoid damaging the institutions and promote the construction of a full democracy with social justice and peace for everyone.
 With this in mind, we aspire to open pathways that lead to the formation of a Humanitarian Accord that will allow for the liberation of those in the power of the armed insurgency FARC and, in due time, the liberation of the FARC prisoners under jurisdiction of the State.
 We understand that a different alternative to political understanding in order to achieve a Humanitarian Accord and facilitate a negotiated solution to the conflict would entail suffering of important sectors of the population, imminent danger for the lives of those captive in the jungle, degradation of the war, and encouragement of militarization, authoritarianism, and an institutional weakening of the national political process.
 The escalation of the confrontation has transcended the national geography and impacts the territories of surrounding countries with diverse acts of institutional violence that have strained diplomatic relations of our country.
 Nevertheless, we are sure that the presidents and heads of State in the hemisphere and in our designated friendly European countries would agree in solidarity to support the process of dialogue that we are proposing.
 For the aforementioned reasons and with the intention to embark starting now on a search for solutions towards a peaceful Colombia and the peace of the human beings affected by the conflict, we cordially invite you to develop a public dialogue through a written exchange through which you, us, and the Colombian society in general can identify the elements that would allow for an agenda that may clarify the route to an understanding, in honor of the longed-for humanitarian exchange.
 We recognize that substantial opinion already exists favoring the promotion of contrary solutions to the armed conflict and that it is time to gather the appropriate actors in order to generate a democratic debate on the topics of peace and war in Colombia, with the goal of promoting a pacific coexistence within a new social ethic.

Senator Piedad Cordoba and more signatures following hers ...............
Sent Tuesday, October 28th at 12:44:44
Mountains of Colombia, October 16, 2008
Respected Compatriots:
 With great pleasure we have received your September letter inviting us to collectively explore roads to peace, far from the current government path of perpetual war that unfeasibly relies on a military solution to solve the political, economic, and social problems underlying this bloody conflict that rattles the country.
 We welcome the emergence of a wave of opinion that distinguishes itself from the method of false triumph and the parameters of the bellicose solution to great national problems. We do not doubt your support for peace because it coincides with the sentiment and longing for peace shared by most.
 This letter marks the beginning of a Written Exchange that you propose to us in order to discuss a political solution to the conflict, the humanitarian exchange, and peace. We will participate with the people in an in-depth and frank dialogue, without dogmatism, without sectarianism, and without the disqualification of any issues you suggest. It is necessary to strive to connect with as many political and social organizations and independent persons as possible.
 No matter what we will are willing to explore possibilities towards a humanitarian exchange and peace with social justice, which today is the cry and most urgent need and sentiment of the entire nation. The recent unilateral liberation of the six ex-members of congress, handed over to Hugo Chavez and Senator Piedad Cordoba, aimed to create favorable conditions for an exchange of prisoners in the power of the State. This fact is a certified testimony of political will.
 We very respectfully suggest, in order to strengthen this new endeavor, that you take into account the expressed willingness of the majority of Latin American presidents to contribute their efforts in the process of humanitarian exchange and peace.
 The immense flag of peace with social justice should wave forever, free, underneath the Colombian sky. The eternal war against the people that they want to impose on us in order to perpetuate injustice cannot be the destiny of the country.
Secretary of State of the FARC-EP


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, October 28, 2008



[CSN requested and received permission from SEMANA to translate this document]
Edicion 1382

(Translated by John I. Laun, a CSN volunteer translator)
Link to PDF version

From SEMANA; Sunday October 26, 2008

The chilling testimony of Luis Esteban Montes, a soldier who learned that colleagues in his Army unit had killed a peasant in order to pass him off as a guerrilla, only to discover that the victim was his very own brother.

“Everything happened on April 30 of last year. I was an anti-guerrilla soldier in the 31st Infantry Battallion, which operates in Cordoba. My company had gone for 15 days without doing much in a hot little town named San Juan. There had been neither operations nor patrols. We soldiers were simply there not doing anything. But Mother’s Day was approaching and the high command began to worry because we did not have any results to show for our time there, and had not committed any meritorious acts for which they would give us vacation days to leave and visit our families. Then we began to hear talk of “legalizing” someone. That is to say, of killing a person to pass him off as a guerrilla, and by so doing, earn permission to leave. This didn’t at all surprise me since “legalizations” are a daily affair.

“One night, while I was talking to my family by telephone, Corporal Jonathan Pineda arrived and said to me “Guajiro (Man from the Guajira region of Colombia), go to the tent, we have the man who we are going to do the job on.” I asked him who it was, but he told me to be quiet and that Captain Jairo Mauricio Garcia had given the order that we were not to speak to the man, so that he would not realize that we were going to kill him. I asked him “Where is the guy from?” And he told me he was from the Guajira. They always look for persons who are from outside the region so that no relative will come to reclaim them. In any event, I was very curious because I am also from the Guajira. Then I left the tent, lit a cigarette and heard the man asking me for one. I was not able to see his face because there wasn’t any light or moonlight. It was drizzling. I gave him the cigarette and we began to chat. A short while later I realized he was my brother, Leonardo Montes.

“My brother had left our home in Maicao a long time ago, when I was just a boy of 9 years . That is why I did not recognize him at first. But when he told me my father’s name, it proved he was my brother. He was my brother and he was also the person they had by chance chosen to kill. I could not believe it. I then revealed who I was. I told him I was the boy, Luis Esteban, his brother. We hugged and in the midst of the emotion I warned him that they were going to kill him in order to pass him off as a guerrilla. I told him to leave, but he did not believe me. He had become a very good friend of the two soldiers in my company who had invited him to the tent that night. Leonardo was sure they were not going to do anything to him. He had been fooled.

After speaking with him for 20 minutes outside, they called me. I went directly to Corporal Pineda and told him:”You cannot kill this man because he is my brother.” The Corporal did not believe me and told me I had better talk to Captain Garcia, who did not believe me either. The only thing he did was insult me. I continued insisting. I told him to ask the name of my father, of my brothers, of the family, of the street in Maicao where we had been born.

From this moment on, things got very messy. The Captain and I argued for several hours and my brother heard it all. Finally, I told them that I didn’t care if they believed me, this man was my brother, and if they wanted to kill him, they’d have to kill me first! “Why don’t you bring a brother of yours, Captain, or your father, and then you can leave feeling contented on Mother’s Day. But you cannot kill my brother,” I told him. Everybody was very upset. They could not believe that the only person they had managed to find to kill had turned out to be the brother of a soldier in their own company. Their plan to look for someone who was from outside the zone, someone who would not have relatives in town, and whose death would pass unnoticed, had failed miserably.

“After a while, the Captain told me: “My hand is ready to kill that son of a bitch!” It wasn’t difficult to imagine would do the deed because every company has 2 or 3 hit men who carry out this type of job to earn their million pesos.

“I took advantage of a moment when the others had let down their guard to tell my brother that he should run away, jump over some wire-fences, cross the stream and go to his home, because they were going to kill him. He said that he wouldn’t go home because it would be easier for them to kill him there. We managed to move a bit away from the tent and to stop a motorcycle taxi, and they headed towards town. I remained behing but of course that night I was unable to sleep.

“The next day I realized that everything had changed for me. My colleagues hated me. As a result, I asked a Colonel to move me elsewhere because I felt incapable of going on patrols with those same people. In addition, I was weak because I was suffering from a bout of malaria. That very day, they sent me to a different company in Puerto Libertador, a town near San Juan. There I felt more tranquil. At least I did not fear that they would kill me. The idea of denouncing my colleagues occurred to me, but in the end I did not choose to do so at that time. I had freed my brother which was the most important thing, and I wanted to avoid problems with my superiors.

“Around the third day that I was in Puerto Libertador, I heard that the Company that I had been a part of had “brought one down.” The doubt came over me that the person that had been killed might be my brother, and I asked a soldier if he knew who the dead man was. He replied that he didn’t, but that a car was picking up the body and transporting it to the cemetery.

“I immediately went to the house of an aunt who lives in Puerto Libertad and told her everything. I asked her to accompany me to the cemetery. As we were walking there, the car carrying the dead man passed us, but the flaps were down and we could not see his face. When we arrived at the cemetery, the dead man was lying on the ground wrapped in white plastic. I jumped on him, ripped open the bag, and saw that it was my brother, Leonardo. They had already dug a hole in the ground, and two soldiers grabbed him by the feet and hands and tossed him in just like that, without a casket or anything. Supposedly they had found him in possession of a grenade and a gun. However, there is already a witness in that town who says that it was he who sold the pistol to the Army and I also remember how, days before April 30th, two soldiers from my company had been cleaning it off with urine to erase any fingerprints.

“After seeing all this I called my family in Maicao. I told them everything and they came all the way to Cordoba to give him a Christian burial. It was at this time that I decided to sue the State. Then, however, the world came crashing down on me. I am constantly on the alert because I think something could happen to me. I am afraid to eat the food provided by the Army and, although I have completed three years in this institution and am now in the Juan del Corral Battallion in Rionegro, Antioquia, the only task I am allowed to complete is to collect everyone’s garbage. I am not permitted to enter into combat zones because I have been placed under special protection. In addition, many people wish me ill will because they know of my complaint against the State and they know my story. I hope this all passes rapidly. The case is in the hands of a prosecuting attorney for human rights, who is investigating the 7 military men implicated in my case. The day that justice is done I will see what other direction my future will take. What happened to my brother changed my life completely and I believe I now deserve some 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

Monday, October 27, 2008


( Translated by Stacey Schlau, a CSN volunteer translator)

Bogotá, October 22, 2008

President’s Office
Vice-President’s Office
Ministry of Defense
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Administrative Department of Security
National press
International press
Diplomatic corps
Open Letter
We who sign the present document address ourselves to you with the purpose of sharing our deep concern regarding the situation that has emerged as a result of the expulsion of the German citizen Friederike Müller on October 2, the expulsion of two French citizens on October 14, and related facts.
We are the organizations of the European and American Network of Brotherhood and Solidarity with Colombia, observers, journalists, cooperating persons, and those in solidarity who, with our labor and presence next to the victims, work toward the protection of human rights and accompaniment and humanitarian action in different regions of Colombia, aided by the constitutional and legal government.
We are deeply concerned about the facts and activities that have occurred in relation to these incidents.
The facts:
1)    The human rights activist Christine Friederike Müller, Social Investigator and Communicator, arrived in Colombia to carry out documentation work and receive training related to the socio-economic and human rights situation in this country. On October 1, 2009, at about 5:30 pm, she was detained by agents of the Administrative Department of Security (DAS), and deported on October 2 at about 1:40 pm. The DAS justified its action arguing that Müller was “participating in a protest march of sugar cane cutters from the sugar mill in the Cauca Valley.” In her freely given version though, Müller stated that she had not been participating in any political activity, but rather she was in the plaza where the demonstration took place in order to document the facts, accompanying a Colombian human rights organization.
2)    After October 2, 2008, we have denounced the detention and unjustified deportation nationally and internationally, to the diplomatic corps, and to public opinion. More than 65 agencies and organizations and more than 200 private individuals signed an international protest petition expressing their concern regarding this situation.
3)    On October 6, 2008, the collectives and member organizations of the Brotherhoood Network received death threats, in an e-mail sent by the paramilitary group, “Black Eagles, dissident block AUC.” In it, they say, “EITHER YOU SHUT UP OR WE WILL SHUT YOU UP ( . . . ) OR DO YOU WANT TO SUFFER THE SAME FATE AS THESE SONS OF BITCHES”; and it lists a large number of unionists and defenders of human rights assassinated this year. The pamphlet declares that all groups that are a part of the European Network of Brotherhood and Solidarity with Colombia are a military target, and names them one by one.
4)    On October 13, 2008, at about 12:45, they detained Damien Fellous, who carried out a documentation project about the workers in the sugar cane industry, and two other French citizens who accompanied him. The three were detained in the sugar plantation Central Tumaco (Palmira). They were deprived of their freedom, without respect for the more elementary codes of contemporary law, violating due process. While Damien Fellous was freed, his companions were expelled from Colombia on October 14, 2008, after denying them the right to a translator even though they spoke no Spanish, using the same line of argument and accusations as with Frederike Müller.
5)    On October 18, at 6:30 pm, in a factory near the SIPOL and the SIJIN, the graphic reporter from the Italian weekly News Carta, Massimo Boldrini, was detained in the Providencia sugar mill. He was brought to the SIJIN office. He was held until 8:30 pm, and freed after confirmation of his legal status.
6)    On October 19 at 11:30 am, in a reserve barracks about two kilometers from the entrance to the Central Tumaco sugar mill in the municipality of Palmira, Massimo Boldrini was again detained by the army, who asked for his identification, which they gave to an unidentified civilian to write down in a notebook his personal information. Upon leaving the sugar mill at about 12:45 pm, the civilian refused to identify himself, because of which the Italian denounced what had happened to an official of SIPOL. Minutes afterward, SIPOL sent a combined unit of army and civilian personnel with an agent to the barracks,  who, instead of identifying the civilian, allowed him to remove the information about the foreigner from the notebook and leave the area quickly, in a vehicle with license plates PLQ 436, from Palmira. This situation is troublesome, due to the criminal elements in the area because of the presence of paramilitary groups.
7)    On October 18, the president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, in a public speech in the town of Quetame accused the German human rights worker and the expelled French citizens of having come to Colombia to incite violence: “Those foreigners should be in jail, we shouldn’t have deported them, but rather should have put them on trial and jailed them because they are guilty of inciting violence” and he added that, “here [in Colombia] they are apologists for crime and in other countries they distort the truth.”

We consider that:

Colombia has found itself immersed in a dramatic spiral of violence that affects all sectors of society, undermines the very foundations of the State, and completely moves the international community to feel compassion. Under these circumstances, one element of protection for civil society, for social movements, and for defenders of DDHH are those people from other climes who accompany and support as workers or observers the work related to human rights and respect for international humanitarian law. The European and American Network of Brotherhood and Solidarity with Colombia has been functioning here for more than 15 years. The Network’s action, like that of the organizations that belong to it, is not only legitimate but also necessary. For that reason, the actions of accompaniment, humanitarian missions, educational events, and technical support have been recognized has having enormous value for and by peasant and urban communities all over the country.
Even more than questioning the legality of the acts of deportation, we find troublesome that in the future, international workers who carry out tasks related to the defense of human rights in Colombia will be affected by unfounded accusations and arbitrary actions. We think that in spite of the government’s pronouncements in favor of human rights there is an enormous distance between the agreements and reality and that the facts mentioned above point to an intentionality of restricting the activities of international observers and workers.
  1. Make an announcement in which they publicly and irrevocably recognize the fundamental role of defenders of human rights, observers, journalists, workers, and those in solidarity with communities and organizations affected by the persistent violence in Colombia.

  1. Make an announcement in which they publicly recognize that the work of protecting and promoting human rights is a legitimate action and that they look favorably on the expansion of the rights and guarantees to all persons.

  1. Provide support and respect the work of solidarity organizations and international observers.

  1. Offer guarantees to those foreign citizens who carry out humanitarian and solidarity work in Colombia.

  1. Also, provide an explanation on behalf of the Colombian government as to why the German woman and two French men were subjected to arbitrary actions during the time that they were detained in the DAS installation.

  1. Carry out a critical review of this case and of the government’s pronouncements, ratification of resolutions that prohibit their entry into Colombia for 7 and 5 years respectively, as well as reparation for damages suffered.

In Spain:


In America:

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

[encamino-info] [LaChiva] Colombia Review - The Minga Continues!

 Today, more than 60.000 people arrived in Cali. Even more arrived later. The sugar cane cutters, the Women's Movement (Ruta Pacifica) and many mor delegations. Although tense and under threat, the Valle University campus seemed like a festival of colors. Music, hugs, tired faces, debates, huts and made-up "cambuches". Now, a few are deciding on behalf of the majority. The carry an enormous responsibility and task. They have earned the trust of the people, but also the obligtion to understand this momentous ocasion. However this might evolve, what has been achieved is a path, a decision to mov forward, to change the structure of oppression, to walk towards a path of dignity and freedom. We know that this decision has been made and it will happen. We will make it happen...
Colombia Review: The Minga Continues

Colombia Review is a project of Pueblos en Camino and La Chiva


Continuing our previous coverage <http://canadacolombiaproject.blogspot.com/2008/10/colombia-review-indigenous-uprising.html>  of the popular and indigenous Minga underway in Colombia, we have compiled a number of articles, communiques and audio and video material for you. This is by no means exhaustive, as new developments are flooding our inboxes every day. Still, we hope this synthesis will help you to translate consciousness into action. We would like to acknowledge the writing and translations of Mario Murillo, who has been a formidable force in these past months, producing excellent analyses and up to the minute coverage of what has been going on in Cauca. Check out his blog for regular updates on the situation: http://www.mamaradio.blogspot.com <http://www.mamaradio.blogspot.com/> .

We cannot emphasize enough the need for continued international pressure in support of the Minga, especially as the horrible news of bombings in Bogota and the habitual ignorance of the Colombian press in covering the Minga serve to distract and distort what is truly a monumental step towards increasing people power in Colombia.

At the bottom of this edition, please read our call to action, where we propose that the Minga be transnational. Now is the time to think of ways in which we can break the divisions imposed by distance, false borders and supposedly different realities. The pain of the Minga is being put into action: the word is being walked. Can we share that pain and take it on as our own? Can we make all causes our own and articulate transnational responses to transnational problems? We must!

La Chiva

The Declaration of the Minga

No More Terror and Avarice: We propose a new path for the people for a new country <http://canadacolombiaproject.blogspot.com/2008/10/declaration-from-minga-of-people-la.html>
This important text is the Declaration of the Minga of the People, La Maria-Piendamo, Territory of Dialogue, Coexistence and Peace, a proposal for a new country. It speaks for itself.
12 October 2008

The Minga's Agenda Advancing <http://canadacolombiaproject.blogspot.com/2008/10/mingas-agenda-advancing.html>
Uribe responds to the five point agenda of the popular and indigenous Minga. The Minga responds.
ACIN, translated by Mario A. Murillo, 20 October 2008


Pueblos en Camino: A Letter to Canadian Authorities on Cauca <http://canadacolombiaproject.blogspot.com/2008/10/letter-to-prime-minister-harper.html>
We strongly urge the Canadian government to call on President Uribe to cease violence immediately and support an International Commission to the region to monitor the situation. We also strongly urge the Canadian government to rethink its position on free trade with the Colombian government, which has demonstrated a complete disdain for the rights of Indigenous people and other groups, and has a long history of brutal human rights violations.
Pueblos en Camino Collective

La Chiva, Canada: Your Pain and Demands We Make Our Own <http://canadacolombiaproject.blogspot.com/2008/10/colombian-brothers-and-sisters-your.html>  
We not only empathize with your demands for justice and the desperate situation you have faced in these last days, decades and centuries, imposed by so-called governments. We feel the sadness of your injured and dead. Your pain is ours, too. Your struggle is not only an indigenous struggle confined to Colombia. We have made this struggle ours, for it is one for life, peace and human dignity, values that transcend all false borders. [∑] Our victory will be the laughter of our children, in dignified peace and freedom.
La Chiva Collective, Canada, Canada-Colombia Project, 24 October 2008

International Federation of Human Rights: No More Murders of Indigenous Peoples in Colombia  <http://www.colectivodeabogados.org/article.php3?id_article=1446>
The FIDH repudiates this disproportionate use of force and expresses its profound concern for the reports of armed civilians protected by the police shooting at the protestors from the mountainside, as well as for the acts of barbarity committed by members of ESMAD, which resulted gravely wounding an indigenous person with a machete. They had also left this person on the ground for several hours and impeded the arrival of ambulances to assist him.
FIDH, 18 October 2008

European Union Parlaimentarians' Declaration <http://canadacolombiaproject.blogspot.com/2008/10/eu-parliamentarians-declaration-on.html>
A model for Canadian and US representatives?
Various MEPs, European Union

Communiques (ACIN)

The Minga Continues: We are Neither, Nor Do We Condone, Terrorists  <http://canadacolombiaproject.blogspot.com/2008/10/minga-continues-we-neither-are-nor-do.html>
We will defend ourselves with no arms other than our staffs of authority. We call on all social movements and peoples to mobilize, but to do it without arms, peacefully and towards the fulfilment of the objectives of the agenda. Those who use arms act expressly against the orientation and position of the process and the Minga, serving the regime the excuse it needs to attack.
ACIN, translated by La Chiva, 16 October 2008

Uribe, ¿por qué no te callas?  <http://www.nasaacin.org/noticias.htm?x=8987>
Impresionante. El Presidente rodeado de la cúpula militar en el Palacio de Nariño. El General Naranjo vuelve a hablar con su característica convicción y fuerza. Estaban rectificando con supuesta valentía una mentira: la Policía sí disparó. Pero habría sido mejor que se callara a que rectificara una mentira con otras.
ACIN, Nasa-ACIN http://www.nasaacin.org <http://www.nasaacin.org/>  , 23 de octubre 2008


La Otra Colombia  <http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2008/10/24/index.php?section=opinion&amp;article=028a1pol>
La Minga es el modo en que los de abajo han decidido "concertar la palabra y convertirla en camino". Es apenas el primer paso. Pero el que marca el rumbo y deja huella.
Raul Zibechi, La Jornada, 24 de octubre 2008

Who is Behind Today's Six Bomb Blasts in Bogotá?  <http://mamaradio.blogspot.com/2008/10/who-is-behind-todays-six-bomb-blasts-in.html%20>
The editorial writer for El Tiempo, (which just so happens to be owned by the Vice President's family) tells us we should not come to any preconceived conclusions that ultimately play into the hands of terrorists by "planting uncertainty in the people," thereby destroying "the confidence the country has recuperated in its institutions." It is ironic that this so-called "confidence" in the country's institutions comes amidst the troubling revelations at the DAS, the mass indigenous mobilizations in the south, and the ongoing Para-política scandal surrounding close allies of the president, a scandal that, for various reasons, seems to have been put on hold for the time being as the media focus on other unfolding crises.
Mario A. Murillo, MAMARadio <http://www.mamaradio.blogspot.com/> , 23 October 2008.

To Cut Down a Rebellion  <http://www.killingtrain.com/node/657>
On the convergence of the sugarcane workers' struggle and that of the indigenous of Northern Cauca∑ "Colombia's movements continue to shoulder more than their fair burden against one of the most brutal regimes in the hemisphere. The regime can't be allowed to drown out their story."
Justin Podur, Killing Train, 21 October 2008

Por que decidimos marchar a Cali y NO a Popayan  <http://canadacolombiaproject.blogspot.com/2008/10/por-que-decidimos-marchar-cali.html>
La Minga de Resistencia Social y Comunitaria decidió marchar de La María (Piendamó-Cauca) hacia la ciudad de Cali. En ningún momento se pensó ir a Popayán, capital del departamento. Esa decisión tiene razones de gran peso político. La Minga tiene conciencia de que hoy ya no enfrentamos a la vieja clase terrateniente de Popayán. A ella la derrotamos en los años 80 del siglo pasado (s. XX) cuando empezamos a recuperar, de hecho, nuestro territorio.
Anonymous, La Maria-Piendamo, 21 de octubre 2008

Media Representations of Popular Mobilizations Ignore Movement's Message  <http://mamaradio.blogspot.com/2008/10/media-representations-of-popular.html>
This is an excellent article on the propaganda war waged by the Colombian mainstream media against the participants of the Minga. It would take a video broadcast by CNN to force Uribe to admit that the army had indeed fired on protesters (see the video by CNN's Karl Penhaul below).
Mario A. Murillo, MAMARadio, 18 October 2008


Indigenous Colombians Begin 10,000-Strong March Against Uribe Government  <http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/23/indigenous_colombians_begin_10_000_strong>
More than 10,000 indigenous Colombians have begun a protest march against President Alvaro Uribe. Marchers are protesting the militarization of their territories, the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and the failure of Uribe's administration to fulfill various accords with the indigenous communities. We speak to Rafael Coicué, an indigenous leader who lost sight in his left eye when he was assaulted by [ESMAD ˆ the Colombian Riot Police], and Mario Murillo, a US journalist and professor currently in Colombia.
Democracy Now!, 23 October 2008

Update from Cauca, Colombia: Indigenous resistance and state repression  <http://www.radio4all.net/responder.php/download/29695/34338/50146/?url=http://www.radio4all.net:8080/files/dawnpaley@gmail.com/3632-1-caucaoct162008.mp3>
Colombian activist Manuel Rozental discusses the current situation in Cauca and outlines the five point popular and indigenous agenda proposed by the Minga
Interview by Dawn Paley, The Dominion <http://www.dominionpaper.ca/weblogs/dawn/2213> , 16 October 2008


CNN Exposes what the Colombian Press Could Not  <http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/10/22/colombia.shooting.video/index.html#cnnSTCVideo>
Uribe was forced to respond to this specific report by CNN, showing what the ACIN has been proving all along. Still, with over 130 wounded and one dead, Uribe claimed that one member of the public forces had opened fired on the protesters. One bad apple?
Karl Penhaul reports for CNN, 22 October 2008

Rafael Coicue on CNN en espanol  <http://mamaradio.blogspot.com/2008/10/rafael-coicu-on-cnn-en-espaol.html>
Long-time indigenous activist, Rafael Coicue, explains the situation in Cauca. Rafael was shot in the eye this past July 2008 by ESMAD, the Colombian riot squad, while passing by confrontations on his motorcycle, costing him vision in one of his eyes. This interview is in Spanish; however, for English content, please check out Rafael and Mario Murillo on Democracy Now! (above).

Uribe miente: pruebas contundentes  <http://video.google.es/videoplay?docid=3246911261618368591&amp;hl=es>
A pesar de que el presidente Álvaro Uribe insiste en que los pueblos indígenas somos terroristas y niega la brutal agresión de la fuerza pública contra la movilización de los pueblos, aquí están los hechos que demuestran todo lo contrario.
Video produced by ACIN, 22 de octubre 2008

Call for Action


You've read the communiqués, watched and listened to the videos and audio. You recognize the need for, and value of, international pressure in support of the popular and indigenous Minga of the Peoples and against the repression of the regime in Colombia. You recognize the complicity of the Canadian government by declaring the regime a close ally, negotiating a free trade agreement with no one's consent but its own, and remaining silent while the regime massacres its own people. You want to do something about it.

As a first emergency step, we encourage you to write letters to your MPs, the Prime Minister's Office, the Canadian Embassy in Bogota, and the Colombian Presidency telling them that you will not stand for it. "Not in our name," as they say. If you don't feel you have the time to write a letter of your own, copy and paste or print off one of the letters above, and tell them you support it (The Pueblos en Camino Letter <http://canadacolombiaproject.blogspot.com/2008/10/letter-to-prime-minister-harper.html>  is an excellent model, which you can also sign on to by sending an email to caucasupport@gmail.com).

This should take less than five minutes. Easy peasy!

Write them∑
Prime Minister's Office: pm@pm.gc.ca
Canadian Embassy in Bogota: bgota@international.gc.ca

Phone them∑
Department of Foreign Affairs: 1-800-267-8376 (toll-free in Canada)
Canadian Embassy in Bogota: 011 (57 1) 657 9800

Better yet∑


La Chiva is organizing a 'fax action' campaign directed at the targets identified below. This weekend, we will be sending all we can to these offices (and over and over again) to ensure that the Minga's agenda is heard. We encourage you to join us!

Fax Action Targets

Canadian Embassy in Bogota: 011 (57 1) 657 9912
Prime Minister's Office: 1 (613) 941 6900
Department of Foreign Affairs: 1 (613) 996 9709

Aside from this initial campaign, supporting the Minga is a process. The Minga is more than an indigenous proposal but one for all peoples. Everyone has their own particular part to play. Free trade agreements affect us all, as do the privatization of our healthcare system, the superficial nature of our democratic processes, the 'flexibilization' of our livelihoods, the conversion of all life into a commodity, the planet a wasteland. The same transnational 'death project' targeted by the Minga is in our cities, towns, schools, hospitals, and forests.

Given that (and more!), we propose that the Minga be transnational. Let's get moving∑

Que todas las causas sean nuestras! Tod@s somos nasas!

La Chiva is a collective of people working in solidarity with Colombian and Canadian social movements and communities.




La Chiva is a collective of people working in solidarity with Colombian and Canadian social movements and communities.



Sunday, October 26, 2008


( Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN volunteer translator)

NOTE FROM CSN : For their protection CSN has withheld their names and identification numbers

Departments of Valle del Cauca and Cauca, Colombia
October 20, 2008
Open Letter
To the negotiating commission and the coordinating committee of the 14th of June Movement of Sugar Cane Industry Workers
To the accompanying social and union organizations
To the human rights organizations and the workers’ organizations in Colombia and in the world
To the men and women workers and their families who serve the sugar industry in the departments of Valle del Cauca and Cauca

It was in a true stupor that we are witnessing the irresponsible, anti-juridical and reckless way that the national government, through President of the republic Dr. Álvaro Uribe Vélez, the Minister of Social Protection. Dr. Diego Palacios B., and the Director General of the National Police. Brigadier general Oscar Naranjo are trying to criminalize the just and legitimate social mobilization of the works of the sugar cane industry in the departments of Valle del Cauca and Cauca, by means of express accusations intended to bring judicial cases against the leaders of the June 14th Movement, and against anyone who has accompanied this process looking for mediation formulas for this serious labor conflict, treating them as presumed infiltrators, connected with illegal groups.
These false accusations, made repeatedly from the mouths of the President of the Republic, his most direct functionaries and cabinet ministers not only reflect an absolute lack of understanding of what is happening in the region and in the southwest of the country, in terms of the serious social and labor crisis being experienced by the population that serves the sugar industry, but also makes evident the most noxious intention to repress, through stigmatizing and the most shameless and fallacious political persecution, the permanent assembly of the cane cutters who are on strike.
It is not true that the peaceful and legitimate activity of the people mentioned is a result of the promotion, instigation and infiltration of agents from outside the reality of the workers and their families, and much less that they in turn are linked to “the guerillas of the FARC.” Just as it is also untrue that presence in solidarity of international people accompanying them, human rights defenders, journalists and visitors to our country, are part of a conspiracy against regional security. Through these accusations, the national government, in association with the big businessmen of the sugar industry and their partners, are trying to force, in a fraudulent way against the most elemental guarantees of due process, a criminal investigation of the leaders of the 14th of June workers’ movement, among whom are their official spokesperson, the workers and cane cutter José Oney Valencia, two more members of the Coordinating Committee of the movement who like the former are workers, cane cutters, who are natural leaders among their coworkers, and their advisors: Alberto Bejarano S. and Juan Pablo Ochoa, members of the legislative technical unit of Senator Alexander López Maya. All of them are signers of this open letter.
The serious crisis of the workers in the sugar industry and their families who have supported the declaration of the Permanent Assembly of a strike this past September 15, 2008, corresponds to the calamitous labor and social situation to which the labor model of the sugar industry, supported by the “Associated Work Cooperatives,” has led. It’s a contract regimen that has meant nothing else than ruin and super-exploitation of the workers, their families and their communities in the geographic valley of the Cauca River, under an unjust and irrational model that loads onto the hourly workers all the obligations of work and benefits, concentrates and exploits resources, devastates the land and reduces life to misery in the  midst of the most outrageous accumulation of wealth.
The inability of officialdom to understand this elemental reality (they who knew about these facts in advance, facts that jump out at those who know nothing about it) and the limitless arrogance of the owners of the sugar industry, who have systematically refused a negotiated settlement of the demands presented to ASOCAÑA [the sugar growers’ association—SC] by the workers this past July 14, 2008 have led to the most serious social and labor crisis that the Colombian southwest has seen in recent decades. And to this is now added the absurd and incendiary attempt by the President of Colombia to lead this conflict into judicial structures. This once again confirms in an urgent way the impotence of the State to take up negotiated resolutions to social conflicts, and how in an intolerant way, [the State] opts for the denial of the rights to association, meeting, mobilizing and protest of Colombian citizens.
In the same way, we claim the right of the workers and their families to be accompanied in their struggle for their rights by sister labor, and human rights, by the Senate of the Republic, and by whatever area of our society that—within the institutional framework and according to the very guarantees of the social state of law, consecrated in the preamble to the Political Constitution—are in solidarity with the cause of the most humble and vulnerable of society. It is not possible that for the political regime and the sugar oligarchy these basic acts of shared citizenry and solidarity be converted into grounds for trial and acts that are stigmatized and persecuted by the authorities, precisely those who are responsible to maintain social cohesion and the rule of the fundamental rights of citizens. In the sugar industry in Colombia over years systematic processes of denial of the guarantees for workers and communities have been incubated which have generated a disgraceful state of affairs in which abuse by the dominant is converted into the normal course of daily life. True social and labor order, which can only begin to return through the democratic actions of the State and institutions, and the proactive exercise of constitutional rights and citizen action. This is exactly what has happened, in the case of those who have been permanently accompanying the workers and their families in the last period of time, as well as public servants in the exercise of precise functions and powers that are legal and constitutional that assist the Senate of the Republic en the matter of political control of the executive and the natural speaking out of the Congress in society. We add to this our programmatic calling as activists in the Polo Democrático Alternativo [Alternative Democratic Pole—SC] political party, which unhesitatingly accompanies the struggles of the sugar cane workers, in the search for a negotiated settlement based in law to the demands of the communities. Receiving instead from the national government the most exaggerated disqualifications and answers of the clearest authoritarian style, which fall upon the workers and their cause, accusing and persecuting without basis through the illegitimate actions of the Uribist government, which intimidates them without recognizing the essence of their claims.
We are making a public appeal to the Governor of Valle, Dr. Juan Carlos Abadía; to the Public Ministry headed by the Inspector General of the Nation; to the human rights organizations in Colombia and the world; to the workers’ movement in Colombia and in all the democratic nations in our hemisphere and Europe; to mobilize and prevent the intentions of the national government and the sugar bosses to repress and make illegal the just and peaceful appeal of the Permanent Assembly of the sugar industry workers in the departments of Valle and Cauca through defamation and judicial fraud from being realized.
We equally publicize our intention to make a statement on our own to the Attorney General of the Nation, to respond to any questions of the competent authorities about what we and our workers have done. Convinced as we are of our innocence and our procedures, in accord with the very lines of the exercise of rights and guarantees given by the Political Constitution. We call attention to the fact that at this moment there are no guarantees for the exercise of due process and the right of defense in a judicial investigation deeply tainted by the incorrect and illegal interference by the national government, headed by the President of the Republic and his most direct agents. Therefore, we make an emergency call on the international system of human rights protection accredited in Colombia to intervene urgently and in accord with their capacity to guarantee an impartial trial, following the law and the international commitments that the state has undertaken in this area.
To the workers and their families in the Permanent Assembly, we call on you to try every peaceful and civil means to gain a negotiated outcome to this labor conflict, just as you have done up to this point. Overcoming persecution by officials, the intransigence and arrogance of the sugar association, and motivated not because of the action of supposed and unfounded influences, but by the unwavering conviction in the justice of your cause and the overwhelming necessity to win the objectives put forward in the set of demands presented last July 14, 2008 to the sugar association and the Agriculture and Spical Protection Ministries.
We maintain our un breakable faith in the motives that have sustained the workers’ movement in the geographic valley of the Cauca River to defend their right to work and their right to a future, for the good of their families and their communities.
Our committed citizens’ greeting, our greatest consideration and solidarity,

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, October 24, 2008

Threats to indigenous community media amid demonstrations against Uribe government

From Reporters without borders

Indigenous community media in Cauca department southern Colombia have been experienced paralysing and mysterious technical problems preventing or slowing news coverage as indigenous demonstrations degenerated into clashes with security forces. Journalist Silsa Arias of the National Indigenous Organisation of Colombia (Onic) told Reporters Without Borders that its server had suffered repeating hacking attacks and blocking of web pages between 17-19 October. Community radios have been hit by power cuts that have taken programmes off air. "We are expressing our concerns about these incidents, particularly because in every case they happen exactly at the time when news is being broadcast about abuses by security forces during demonstrations," the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "We also condemn the attitude of the government which, by putting the indigenous communities in the same category as the Farc guerrillas, expose journalists from these communities to harsh reprisals", it added.
These attempts at censorship have fuelled increased tension in the region and demonstrate a determination to silence journalists attending these demonstrations. The security forces have toughened crackdowns on these indigenous movements, which are unhappy that the government has failed to keep its promises on land redistribution. Two people have been killed and 70 injured in violence since 15 September.

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, October 22, 2008

European Parlamentarias protest repression in Colombia

(Courtesy of Manuel Rozental)

Parliamentary declaration
About the repression of the indigenous and trade unionist movements in Colombia


We, the undersigned MEPs, have been informed about the repression perpetrated against the indigenous demonstrations taking place since October 12th in different Colombian regions, and the murder of 27 indigenous people, the disappearance of many more and the injuring of others. We have also learned about the repression against the sugar cane workers movement which begun in September.


We want to express our deep indignation about these serious violations of indigenous and trade unionists' rights that should not go unpunished.


We consider as legitimate the claims of the indigenous people for the respect of their land and autonomy, for the survival of their 102 different peoples, of which 18 are in constant danger of disappearance and for the indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources. Likewise we recognize the legitimate claims of the sugar cane workers for decent work. 
We urge the Colombian government to order the police and army force to immediately stop the repression against the indigenous peoples' and workers' movement. 
We express our rejection of the unfounded expulsion of three European citizens who were observing the current demonstrations. 
We condemn the permanent use of the pretext of fighting against terrorism to repress the social movement in Colombia.
- Vittorio Agnoletto, Italy 

- André Brie, Germany 

- Giusto Catania, Italy 

- Gabriele Cretu,  Romania

- Bairbre De Brun, Ireland

- Ilda Figueiredo, Portugal

- Claudio Fava, Italy 

- Monica Frassoni , Italy

- Vicente Garcés, Spain

- Ana Maria Gomes, Portugal

- Pedro Guerreiro , Portugal

- Umberto Guidoni, Italy 

- Jens Holm, Sweden

- Richard Howitt, United Kindom

- Marie Anne Isler-Béguin, France 

- Eva Lichtenberger, Austria

- Marie-Noelle Lienemann, France 

- Caroline Lucas, United Kindom 

- Mary Lou Mac Donald, Ireland 

- Helmuth Markov, Germany 

- Erik Meijer, Holland 

- Willy Meyer-Pleite, Spain 

- Luisa Morgantini, Italy 

- Tobias Pflüger, Germany 

- Miguel Portas, Portugal 

- Miloslav Ransdorf, Czech Republic 

- Marco Rizzo, Italy 

- Raul Romeva Rueda, Spain 

- Esko Seppanen, Finland 

- Eva-Britt Svensson, Sweden 

- Feleknas Uca, Germany 

- Gabriele Zimmer, Germany.



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