The Greater Community Council of Canon del Rio Porce and the Agricultural Workers Association of Antioquia
The present urgent action, has the purpose of making known to the national and international public, Human Rights organizations and governmental legislative bodies; the latest events that have occurred in the Vega Naranjal sector, (cañón del rio Porce), the Amalfi municipality in the state of Antioquia, which endanger the life of the population, affects the proceeding organizational processes headed-up by the Greater Community Council of cañón del rio Porce and is generating an overall uneasiness among the habitants of this sector.
Background: The Greater Community Council of Cañón del rio Porce is an organizational figure that emerges from all of the organizational processes of miners, agricultural workers, neighborhood council meetings, afro-descendent communities of Zaragoza, waterway transportation cooperatives and further organizational expressions of the region to carry through a dignified negotiation with Empresas Publicas de Medellín (EPM), Colombia’s largest public services company, within the framework of the construction of the Porce IV mega hydroelectric project. In said council, male and female leaders convene from municipalities affected by the construction of this hydroelectric complex such as the municipalities of Amalfi, Anorí and Zaragoza. Due to its organizational level, activist radio, negotiating capacity, the standards of its proposals, and its ample recognition in the region; the greater council of Rio Porce has been recognized by EPM as a legitimate stakeholder in the negotiations regarding the interests of the residents of cañón del rio Porce. During this period of time, the council has achieved advancement in the formation of a Values (Ethics) Manual to negotiate under its own demands and aspirations of the groups represented there. Backing for the process has also been achieved by some administrations in the region, being sped up by the Greater Council and the favorable negotiation regarding the topic of the lands.
Description of the events: On the 12th of February, an illegal armed group made up of 12 men who identified themselves as members of the águilas negras (black eagles) broke into the sector known as Vega Naranjales. After speaking with a member of the The Greater Community Council of Canon del rio Porce, they continued on their way to the rural area of the municipality, La Viana, where they murdered a person who was dressed in camouflage. The cadaver was carried by the men themselves and left in the Vega Naranjales sector in the presence of several of its residents. As a result of what happened, many comments and speculations arose about a supposed assassinations of leaders of the The Greater Community Council, which has generated discord, fear in the community and deteriorates the good atmosphere of negotiation with EPM, which was making progress up to this point in time.
Due to these events, and for their seriousness, we demand that the national and state government to take action to protect the life of the residents of el cañón del rio Porce, since events such as these generate generalized panic among the residents of this region and could damage the negotiation and stakeholding ability with EMP that is moving forward. Likewise, we require an official denouncement from EMP in wake of these unacceptable events, as EMP is one of the major influential and impactful key players in el cañón del rio Porce.
We require the support and recognition of the municipal administrations of the areas surrounding the Greater Community Council in the fair demands of their associates, such as the ratification before military and civil authorities, of the Greater Community council of Rio Porce’s character which esteems civil rights-so that no connection may be made between the Greater Community Council of Rio Porce and any armed parties and so that the council is not the target of any present or future aggression, judicial false accusation or attack against its physical integrity.
Lastly, we are making a resounding outcry to governmental legislative bodies to take all necessary measures to prevent any type of aggression or violation of Human Rights of the communities and social organizations of cañón del rio Porce.
Greater Community Council of cañón del Rio Porce
Agricultural Worker’s Association of Antioquia.
Seeds of liberty Human rights Collective CODEHSEL.
State Board of Public Services.