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Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Ultimate Dream of a Multinational: To Have an Army at its Service

Note from CSN:


The fact that communities around the world protest oil exploitation for the damages it produces is nothing new. But through a grotesque misuse of power, the multinational corporation Emerald Energy has successfully dictated the overruling of a Security Council decision that led to the re-incarceration of several peaceful demonstrators. On October 18, 2010 a Security Council was held in Mocoa, Putumayo to determine the fate of six illegally detained and severely injured protestors, and the decision was made to set them free. Upon receiving the verdict, Emerald Energy successfully reversed this decision by ordering the Colombian Police (a branch of the Army) to continue to detain the protestors. In other words, the Colombian Army, funded with the tax dollars of the Colombian people and with money from US taxpayers, is a private entity at the service of a private company. Colombian Sovereignity has been forfeited in the interest of the profits of this foreign oil company. Simón Bolívar, the Liberator of Colombia, must be turning in his grave as these events occur during the 200th anniversary of the independence of Colombia from Spain. If there has been a change in the Colombian Constitution transferring control of the military to multinational corporations, it has not been widely publicized.

Emerald Energy, located in London, is a member of China Sinochem Group Corporation, a Chinese petroleum company. For more information on Emerald Energy, visit: http://www.emeraldenergy.com/

For more information on China Sinochem Group Corporation, visit: http://www.sinochem.com and choose the "English" option at top right


Please see the following public communiqué received recently from the affected rural communities in Putumayo, and please do take the action recommended below.


Public Comuniqué


Puerto Asís, October 18, 2010

(Translated by Emily Hansen, CSN's Assistant Program Director)


The indigenous, Afro-Colombian and peasant communities of the Puerto Vega-Teteye Corridor in the municipality of Puerto Asís in the Department of Putumayo, Colombia want to bring to public attention the fact that:


Since April 2010 the indigenous and peasant communities of this region have exercised our constitutional right to demonstrate and hold social protests against the grave impacts of the petroleum exploitation that has occurred between 1961 and today, leaving in its wake corruption, death and destitution for the Putumayo communities.


We denounce that in these past few days grave transgressions have been committed by President Juan Manuel Santos, Commander in Chief of the Public Forces, who, through the use of the Mobil Antidisturbances Squadron (ESMAD), the national police and the Army has illegally detained six (6) indigenous members of the Nasa community, among them our elders and ancestral authorities. These community members were forcibly detained at 5:30 p.m. on October 17, 2010, during the peaceful demonstration that we held in the municipality of Villagarzón. These citizens were brutally beat by ESMAD units and were denied the attention of emergency medical responders that the hospital of Villagarzón had volunteered. The ambulance sent for these community members was not even allowed to enter the military facilities. The military finally allowed the victims to receive medical attention at 11:30 at night after pressure from humanitarian organizations.


The community members, Traditional Authorities and Wise Elders of the Nasa Community, forcibly and illegally detained by the State, are:


1. Lisandro Campo Cuetia, identity card No 6.660.364, who suffered profound wounds to the skull, legs, abdomen and back due to a brutal beating by the ESMAD units. While receiving medical attention, the military man in charge gave him twelve stitches, and Lisandro had a high fever and could not move. Our Elder is 62-years-old.


2. Juan Carlos Cunda Dizu, identity card No 15572014, was beaten on his legs by ESMAD units and has still not received medical attention. The ESMAD members continued beating and kicking him even when he was handcuffed.


3. Edwin Achipis, Nasa youth of 19-years-old and governor of the Nasa Kwimate Kwesx indigenous chapter of the municipality of Orito, under the jurisdiction of the San Juan Vides police station. Our Ancestral Authority was detained by a member of the National Army who later turned him over to ESMAD units who in turn brutally beat him and broke his skull using Edwin's own ceremonial staff that he always carries with him as indigenous governor.


4. Jose Olimpo Canas Secue, identity card No 97.425 762, from the El Descanso reservation, is a Traditional Authority and was Governor of this Chapter in 2004, and is also Ex-Advisor to the Nasa community. Our Traditional Authority was beaten on his legs.


5. Mario Campo Toconas, identity card No 6.306.122, Elder of the Nasa community, 53-years-old, who has a broken little finger on his right hand that was put into a splint by first aid workers, and an antibiotic ointment was applied. Mario had a high fever and severe head pain, but did not received medical attention until today.


6. Daniel Baicue, Nasa indigenous, approximately 38-years-old. Daniel was hospitalized in the second rate hospital in Puerto Asís because he was brutally beaten and tortured by members of ESMAD. This gravely wounded community member has eight children and his wife is pregnant.


The community members were detained when they were taking part in a peaceful demonstration on the road near the Costayaco 10 petroleum well. Several peaceful demonstrations have been held since April, 2010 in Villagarzón. These detained community members are in the custody of Quartermaster General Daniel Gil of ESMAD, of the Antinarcotics Base of Villagarzón, which is situated in front of the Costayaco 10 well. The Security Council held in Mocoa today decided to free the detained indigenous community members, but Emerald Energy, the petroleum company of which the indigenous community was making their demands, canceled the decision. Emerald Energy opposed the freeing of the community members, Traditional Authorities and Wise Elders of the Nasa Community.



In 2006 the communities between Puerto Vega and Tateye held a peaceful demonstration that concluded in an accord with the government to work out all of the problems with the human rights, social investment, governmental prerogatives and Prior Consult claims that the communities had made, but for which they had never received favorable concrete actions. This situation compelled the indigenous, Afro-Colombian and peasant communities of Corredor Fronterizo to once again organize themselves in October, 2009 to demand the recognition for their individual and collective rights. This demonstration once again prompted the signing of an accord with the national government, but the results desired by ACSOMAYO, the Indigenous Communities and other organizations who also have the right to demonstrate in the region of the Putumayo River (Puerto Lequizamo) and in the municipalities of Orito and Villagarzón, have not been produced. United through this process of incomplete promises on the part of the government, the social and public organizations of the department have, through their own efforts, come to construct an alternative regional proposal that they have called the Integral Peasant, Indigenous and Afro-Colombian Development Plan of the Putumayo. This proposal has been worked on in the office of the Departmental Committee of Social, Peasant and Afro-Colombian Organizations of the Putumayo. The proposal has been presented to State institutions at the local, regional, national and international levels, and has shed light upon the fact that initial accords have not been carried out due to the grave crisis affecting us that revolves around this State's inability to govern. The indigenous, Afro-Colombian and peasant communities of the Puerto Vega-Teteye sector believe that this crisis is a political mechanism used by political directors of traditional parties to impede the development process proposed by our communities, and we believe that this crisis contributes to the increase of corruption and bureaucracy that has systematically caused destitution and the erosion of our organizations and communities.


We demand, as an organized community, that the accords agreed upon by the departmental government and the representatives of the communities and organizations are carried out in an effective manner, and we call upon the national government to URGENTLY create a space where we can share our alternative development proposal that we have been constructing for the last ten years in the Departmental Committee's office. This proposal seeks to provide a promising future that prioritizes the quality of life of each and every one of the individuals in the Putumayo region.


We hold The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, Commander in Chief of the Public Forces, responsible for the physical well being of the participants of this peaceful demonstration.


We make an urgent call to the Ombudsman's office to address this situation and to make the Armed Forces respect the fundamental right to freedom, life and physical and moral

well being of our companions, traditional authorities, and the Elders of the Nasa people, who have been detained in an illegal manner through use of unacceptable force by the State. We call upon the Inspector General's office and the Attorney General's office to investigate the abuses committed by the Armed Forces and punish those responsible.


We call upon the Putumayo Community and its organizations to come together to insist that the national government respect our fundamental constitutional rights and that they listen to our approach and proposal. We are sovereign owners of our territory and of our destinies even though we must put our lives and integrity at risk in the interest of carrying out our peaceful demonstrations. We will be organized in a massive and indefinite manner to attract the attention of the national government so that we will no longer be stripped of our resources, and we call upon the International Human Rights Organizations that are focused on this issue to seek the completions of AUTO 004 of 2009, the International Right to Human Rights and the International Agreements and Treaties relating to human rights and international human rights.




Permanent Assembly of Indigenous, Afro-Colombian and Peasant Communities of the Puerto Vega-Teteye Corridor and Peasant Communities of the Putumayo River Region of the Rural Neighborhood of La Perla Amazonica


"Always together and always against the current"

-Against the Current Corporation on Human Rights  


This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited. 


***CSN invites you to write to send the following message to Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzón:

Dear Vice President Garzón,

Under what authority did Emerald Energy, located in Mocoa, Putumayo, order the Colombian Police to keep citizens detained after they were set free by the local Security Council on October 18? How is it possible for a multinational corporation to give orders to the army to detain citizens?  Do communities not have a constitutional right to protest damage caused by oil development in their area? Has there been a change to the Constitution that denies communities the right to protest the damages caused by oil exploitation in their area?


Thank you for your prompt consideration of these inquiries.




Your Name


Contact info:Vice President Angelino Garzón: comunicacionesvp@presidencia.gov.co


Please send copies of your message to the following:

-Emerald Energy's headquarters in London: admin-een@emeraldenergy.com

-Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez: quejas@procuraduria.gov.co / dcap@procuraduria.gov.co /webmaster@procuraduria.gov.co

-Minister of Mining Carlos Rodado: crodado@minminas.gov.co

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

10 Military remain free as extrajudicial execution terms mature

Thursday, October 21, 2010 by Fcspp

(Translated by Emily Schmitz, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN's Volunteer Editor)

On March 28th 2007, Mr. Marcos Quintero Rivera, 44 years of age, bid his partner, the mother of his two children, goodbye as he went to work as community watchman in a Bucaramanga neighborhood.  Quintero Niño and Nelson Páez, 22 and 24 years of age, are both heads of family and, just like Marquitos (as he is more affectionately referred to), hold little formal education.  The men had little alternative but to unite together to guard streets in order to receive voluntary remuneration allowing them enough for basic survival.

What the three had in common, apart from fathering sons, was that they were all extremely poor and resided in below average northern neighborhoods of the Santander capital.

In hours of late evening on March 28th 2007, a few minutes before the three met to start their work day, they were violently lifted into a truck and taken to a rural area in the municipal area of El Playón.  Later, their families were informed that the bodies of their friends and the fathers of their children were found dead in the morgue of the Fifth National Army Brigade.  According to an official source, this signals they were killed in combat in a supposed encounter with the troops of the Gaula Fifth Brigade military.

According to the tactic mission number 23 denominated "marfil", these people were "members of criminal gangs were either serving narcotic traffickers or were members of the Cuadrilla Claudia Isabel Escobar Jerez of the ONT-ELN."

On that very same day the families of these three victims began a torturous journey to discover the truth and clear the names of their relatives who first went missing and were later then killed.  Additionally they went to find justice in the midst of utter loneliness. 

More than three years after said acts were committed, on September 6, 2010, a security-control judge imposed a security measure against the Sub-lieutenant Andrés Aranda Duran and nine other Gaula military for crimes of forced disappearance and the murder of protected persons.

October 15, 2010 marked the beginning of the accusation hearing which was brought before Dr. Silvia Carolina Parra, Second Special Circuit Penal Judge in Bucaramanga.  The families had yet to overcome the loss of their loved ones and were taken aback when the prosecuted arrived in uniform, a clear gesture of arrogance and intimidation that outwardly offended the memory and dignity of the victims.

It is a surprise that the judges, in applying technical reductions, lend themselves to generate real methods of impunity, allowing the use of uniforms outside of service while engaged in judicial proceedings, especially as they are attempting to try crimes against humanity.

In this hearing the defense objected jurisdiction under the accusatory procedure.  Their argument being that the natural justice who is to judge military is not the ordinary justice but rather a military tribunal covered under a legal order recorded in a tactic mission and observed in its own labor service.  The position was adopted but unaware that it was a penal military judge that sent the case for competition to the ordinary judge.

The results of the defense suspended the hearing, as ordered by the trial judge in order to send the results to the Supreme Judicial Council to settle it legally.  What this signifies in practice is the possibility of the freedom of all military due to expiration of terms.  Now we know that, in similar cases, this process can take almost seven months to resolve itself, greatly surpassing the ninety-day period established through law 906 to initiate oral justice from written presentation of the accused due to the prosecution.

The freedom of these militaries represent a form of impunity, such as has been demonstrated before in the extrajudicial executions of a few local youth in Soacha when they were found dead in a municipality of Santander, reportedly killed in combat.  The youth were also processed before a Specialized Judge in Bucaramanga, which resulted in the accused obtaining freedom because of six month delays by the Supreme Judicial Council to resolve jurisdictive objection.

By the time the sentence had been made, the capture of the accused remained impossible; they had, in other words, evaded justice.  Everything seems to indicate that, in this case, the said situation can be repeated.  The repetition of crimes such as these leads is frustrating only for families, but as well as for society as a whole, who have outwardly expressed the intention to collaborate in order to speed the process of justice and see that every judicial apparatus be used to prevent these crimes against humanity are invested in a prompt and timely manner.

Days before the hearing Dr. Leonardo Jaimes Marín, a lawyer representing the families, was threatened with death which stated that, in the case that these military are condemned, he or a family member will be responding, making it clear that an order exists "from above."

Nevertheless, the Colombian State continues to neglect the implementation of their protective scheme, which was promised to be implemented under the compliance of the measures stated by the Inter-american Commission on Human Rights.  This message is very telling in a context in which everything seems to indicate the continuation of reigning impunity, the worst violations of human rights are reproduced yet the least guarantee against their defense exists.

Our foundation requests that the national government and Colombian authorities take effective and sufficient measure to ensure the life and integrity of our lawyer, Leonardo Jaimes Marín.

Furthermore, we call the national government and Colombian authorities to take necessary means to guarantee the life, personal integrity and rights of the victims in this present case.

Please send the following message to Colombian Vicepresident Dr. Angelino Garzón at comunicacionesvp@presidencia.gov.co:

The Colombian Government, led by President JUAN MANUEL SANTOS CALDERÓN, must urgently proceed with the hiring of escorts and completely implement protection of lawyer LEONARDO JAIMES MARÍN, with the purpose of protecting his life and personal integrity. The Human Rights Office of the president of the republic should be required to adopt necessary mechanisms of human rights defender protection and, in this manner, ensure their freedom to represent victims they have seen harassed for the work they do, such as was seen in this case.

Solidarity Committee Foundation with the Bogotá Political Prisoners, October 19, 2010.

This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited. 


Monday, November 15, 2010

Web of Communication and External Relations for Truth and Life

(Translated by Anne Schoeneborn, a CSN volunteer translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN's Volunteer Translator)


Weekly Bulletin  
We communicate in order to reflect, to decide, and to act.


Following is the speech delivered by the Web of Communication of ACIN in Madrid, Spain upon accepting recognition from la Casa de América in the name of the missionary and defender of indigenous people, Bartolomé de la Casas. The award, which was given for the first time by the Queen of Spain, accompanied by the Minister of International Cooperation, was granted to ACIN. These are the words of Edgar Yatacué, speaking in the name of the Web and all the peoples who have not been conquered. During this historic event, the indigenous reminded her Majesty of more than five centuries of Conquista and persecution from the perspective of the past and present colonization, proclaiming the value of indigenous views as indispensable in ensuring that there is a future on our Mother Earth—a future in which we are free, in harmony, and equilibrium.
Bartolomé de las Casas Award, 2009


A warm greeting to you all. For us, the indigenous, these are neither good days, good evenings, nor good nights because our happiness and riches were snatched from our forefathers, making them victims and slaves in our own territory.


I am a member of the Nasa nation, and am representing the Web of Communication and External Relations for Truth and Life—ACIN, in northern Cauca, Colombia. I am here in the name of destroyed civilizations and conquered peoples and nations—colonized, dominated, and silenced by the ancestors of the same Queen that is now awarding this prize. This was the largest physical, cultural, and territorial genocide in all of humanity's history. I represent a process that they could not defeat and that, despite everything, has resisted, survived (not merely physically), and preserved the seed of cultures essential to humanity's survival. In the context of ACIN and the indigenous fight in the Americas, the Web of Communication represents one of the first branches of the plant that has been reborn since the Conquest and the destructive colony that continue to affect us in different (and maybe even worse) ways even now.


Our grandparents, leaders, and elders resisted in the first phase, recuperated their land in the second, and then began to progress in terms of autonomy and finding another way of living together on and with the land. Later, determined to create alternatives and new viable beginnings, we began the difficult task with our indigenous brothers as well as the social movements of our continent to overcome the crisis and the decadence of the world system that arrived with the Conquista and continues now with neoliberalism. When the time came to name the path that we would take, as unified peoples and processes throughout the continent and world and remembering the history that cut short the greed of Europe, the Web of Communication and External Relations for Truth and Life came into being. We are the fruit of our rebirth and of our Mother, the Earth, who preserved the seed for these times of crisis where that which exists is no longer good for anything and is beginning to collapse, and that which should be and will be, has not yet appeared. 


We understand that they are trying to silence us, buy us, confuse us, kill us, and once again subjugate us in every way possible. That is why we know that we cannot go it alone as we face the choice of an even worse world, with less people so that the few can satisfy their insatiable greed, a world controlled by mafias and corporate powers only interested in exploiting and converting things into merchandise using violence, terror, and policies of free trade, as well as by occupying the collective sub-conscience with advertising and subjugating individual agency in favor of the stultifying conquest of the desire for power and profit for the few. We openly declare, before the world, humanity, and the spirits of our ancestors, as children of Mother Earth rather than of any system or regime or transnational company, as the sons and daughters of the earth, we recognize that we are facing contradictions and constant persecutions, that our struggles gain strength and also lose strength due to external attacks and internal contradictions originating from those who, in the name of helping us, subjugate us, and those who, while trying to represent us, make mistakes and confuse our path.


Such is the struggle. But today, we accept this recognition on behalf of those who, like us, have decided to weave territories free of greed and death, and who are dedicated to life, justice, and harmony. We seek to liberate Mother Earth and we call for you to work with us so that she does not die. We have decided that solidarity and tenderness must forever replace competition and the desire for power. This we have learned from our sisters, grandmothers, mothers, and comrades.


We seek to create a world in the spirit of women so that life may persist and continue to regenerate itself with dignity and beauty. That is why we have organized ourselves as Webs of Life. We are not institutions, as most thought until today. Our organization has been weaving "Life Plans" (Planes de Vida) so that the development that nourishes greed remains in the past as a bad memory that must not return. Groups of people have "Life Plans," whereas the greedy have "projects of death." 


We are remaking the economy so that the necessary material conditions to realize our dreams of harmony between Mother Earth and History permit us to enjoy happiness without excess or unjust and unnecessary limitations in the context of a world that has limits—limits that the world system has neither recognized nor respected. This is why our economy does not accept free trade, a system based on the exploitation and plundering of work and life.


Because freedom and the economy of life require peasant, indigenous, and family-based production that guarantees wellbeing and is not subjugated by markets that enrich the few, we are considering not weaving just one, but rather many economies that dignify work not as a form punishment, but as a part of the good life. We are not going to work for those who rob us of our lives. Instead we will work together so that all of us can live a better life. We are saddened by the poverty of others and that is why, in our economy, we will not be happy until we can all live happily. This requires that we put an end to excesses and we learn to take pleasure in austerity and the happiness that results from affection, friendship, music, celebrations, and the collective struggle. But yet, we understand, finally, that we cannot move forward alone. That is why, by granting us this recognition today in the name of Bartolomé de las Casas, they are not only recognizing us as individuals, they are recognizing our will and our work to weave among peoples and processes a means of overcoming the bitter phase of decadent modernity and moribund greed for capital before it is too late. This means consists of a web of peoples pursuing diverse dreams in diverse territories in harmony with our Mother Earth and all of her creatures—our brothers and sisters.


The Web and the process that are being recognized here are not institutions or property. We do not own the Web of Communication and External Relations for Truth and Life. We have given the Web life and we share it. That is why we stood for this award and that is the reason for our words and our path. We call on you to free our words and to free the spirit and action to weave the free speech that will become the path toward truth and life. We are threatened, we are displaced, we are attacked, we are exiled, we are given orders, and they try to silence us, but we continue to inform ourselves in order to reflect, to collectively decide, and to act. Only talking without actually doing is empty, acting without words is blind, and actions and words outside of the spirit of the community are death. They could destroy us in their selfish and sick desires of attaining what they want, but they will not be able to destroy the Web. It comes from the land, from the spirit of our peoples, and it will sprout anew like life itself. If we have survived it is because we have always seen communication as the path of free speech. Our strategy has been to understand the aggression of those who want to steal from and exploit us, and to resist and defend that which is ours. As the Indigenous and Popular Mandate says, that is the challenge that brings us together.


That is why, today, we are building a Web of Communication that will permit us to defend our lives using our own ancestral means, such as the Minga (collective work), meetings, and demonstrations, as well as using appropriated media like videos, radio, internet, and others. Because we don't confuse communication with means and because we differentiate on our path between means and ends, we have structured ourselves with functional areas of communication according to what we wish to achieve: communication for truth and life that is not informed by third parties, but rather by information from the very community that protects life and Mother Earth and that has also been victimized by armed actors who believe they are the owners of life and of the land. We are communicating from the indigenous peoples seeking harmony with other peoples and processes. We know of the significant challenges that exist on the path toward achieving democratic, free, and autonomous communication, and the hard work that we must take on at the community-level for the sake of transforming our reality in defense of life.


With humility and dignity, we thank you for this recognition after having faced conquerors for more than five centuries. We thank you for recognizing that we are still here and that, above all, we are already the future—if there is one ahead of us. Not just we, ourselves, but in the weaving for truth and life and in overcoming for once and for all an order of death. Either we weave for the truth and for life and follow the path of harmony or there is no future. We do not have answers, but rather principles and memory. We have come to share them. We are in need of every conscience, of all experiences and memories of all peoples. We have come to invite and include, with humility and respect, but also with resolution. They will not steal from us or lie to us or fool us any longer. This is not simply our problem, of the indigenous of Cauca. This is a challenge facing all those on the planet—the planet that feeds and shelters us. We accept that, here and now, in the name of a missionary who defended us in his time from the project that until now scorns us, it is not a group of people that is being recognized, and not even a process, but rather the path of knowledge, that we so desperately need, intended to defend life.


With both humility and urgency, we call for a Minga (collective work) in order to accomplish the agenda that we proposed as peoples and processes in 2004, and that we defend as a network:


  1. To overcome free trade and the global greed of transnational corporate power because it benefits the few at the expense of life and, therefore, not even those who accumulate wealth benefit in the end
  2. To replace the laws and policies that pillage with laws that guarantee wellbeing and harmony
  3. To put an end to the terror of exploitation and pillaging. They kill us and pursue us in order to steal from us. We demand that there is justice, that the full truth be known and that there are at least material reparations for all of the accumulated debt.
  4. To demand that all states fulfill their obligations to all conquered peoples regardless of who is in government—because those who govern ought to lead by obeying.
  5. To develop an agenda of humanity and of peoples because as long as we don't have our own agenda, we will always be subject to the agendas of those who steal from us. If the world system that conquered us has now run out of steam, the time has come to engage with the world that is coming.


This is our position and the path that has been recognized by those who have conferred us with this honor. In the name of a country of peoples without masters that we so long for, thank you very much.


Madrid, Spain
September 9, 2010
Web of Communication and External Relations for Truth and Life
Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN)


This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.


(Translated by Peter Lenny, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN's Volunteer Editor)

The National Movement of Victims of Crimes of State (MOVICE) expresses its profound concern at the lack of judicial independence in the preliminary proceedings filed against former President Alvaro Uribe Vélez for alleged omission in the murder of former Mayor Eudaldo "Tito" Díaz, of El Roble.

The commission of inquiry of the lower house of Congress has opened a preliminary inquiry against former President Alvaro Uribe Vélez for alleged omission in the murder of the former Mayor of El Roble, Eudaldo "Tito" Díaz. Four months ago, the attorney, Adolfo Jesús Hoyos, denounced the former president on the grounds that Uribe did not act in a timely manner to prevent the murder of the mayor of El Roble, particularly considering that he announced his death at a neighborhood council meeting, in Corozal, Sucre State. Under Resolución de Reparto 099 of 2010, the inquiry was assigned to the Partido de la U's representative to the lower house, Hernán Penagos Giraldo.

At a local government council meeting on February 1, 2003 in the town of Sincelejo (department of Sucre), in the presence of the then President of the Republic, Alvaro Uribe Vélez, Eudaldo "Tito" Díaz warned that there was a plan to murder him. In spite of his accusations, he was murdered on April 11, 2003. On February 16, 2010, Edelmiro "Chino" Anaya, a paramilitary vigilante, and Carlos Enrique Verbel Vitola, the commander of "Tito" Díaz's bodyguard, were sentenced to 37 years and nine months imprisonment as the material authors of his murder and, in December 2009, Salvador Arana Sus, former governor of the department Sucre, was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment as their intellectual mentor.

At present, there are more than 200 suits pending against former President Uribe Vélez and more than 50 that the Inspector General and the Prosecutor General have filed against President Juan Manuel Santos for alleged irregularities when he was Minister of Defense.

Members of Eudaldo Díaz's family have been threatened and harassed on repeated occasions in their struggle for justice and the truth. At the moment, the fear is that an attempt may be under way to bring false charges against his son, Juan Davíd Díaz, who is a member of the Sucre Chapter of MOVICE. In a spontaneous statement in March 2010, Edelmiro "Chino" Anaya claimed that Juan David Díaz had belonged to the paramilitary organizations in the region and, as a result, the judge presiding in the "Chino" Anaya case applied to the local branch of the Attorney-General's Office, if it considered this appropriate, to open an investigation into Juan David on the grounds of conspiracy to commit a crime. Edelmiro "Chino" Anaya repeated his false accusations in August 2010 in another of his spontaneous statements under Law 975. In spite of the several applications that MOVICE and the
Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz (Interchurch Commission for Justice and Peace, which is the petitioner in the injunctions for the Sucre Chapter of MOVICE) have filed with the National Attorney-General's Office requesting information as to the existence of legal proceedings against Juan David Díaz, to date these have not been answered.


- That the Commission be given the tools necessary to pursue its investigations in a timely and impartial manner.
- That the accusation against former President Alvaro Uribe Vélez for alleged omission in the murder of Eudaldo Díaz be reassigned to someone who does not form part of the party bloc supporting Alvaro Uribe Vélez.
- That the Prosecutor General inform MOVICE whether or not legal proceedings exist against Juan David Díaz.
- Full guarantees of life and physical and psychological safety for the family of Eudaldo Díaz.

National Movement of Victims of Crimes of State (MOVICE)

13 October 2010

This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.

Flower growing: the two sides of the crisis.

By Cactus

(Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN's Volunteer Editor)

Thursday, October 21, 2010


The Colombian news monopolies constantly publish the voices of the exporters, worried about the impacts of the reevaluation of the peso against the dollar. Space is frequently given to the spokespeople of the central bank  to explain the many measures they are taking to overcome the crisis.




The October 9th, the newspaper El Espectador reported that the Banco Agrario [Agrarian Bank—SC] granted credits to more than 100 flower-growing companies—equivalent to 224 billion pesos [more than $123 million—SC]—as part of the Salvation Plan to confront the oscillations in the exchange rate. The story makes reference to current agitation in the Bank and in supervisory agencies because there are indications that some of the flower growers consigned their money, including public funds, to foreign accounts before contacting the Banco Agrario about renegotiating their loans.


While the government and the business people discuss the proposals and take measures to prevent continuing losses by the flower growers, the people who have supported the growth of the exports and the success of these sectors and who suffer the true damage are the men and women flower workers, without any government body doing the smallest thing to protect their rights.


In the context of impunity for violations of labor rights and where there is more concern about decreases in the profits of large investors than in protecting the minimal fundamental rights of thousands and thousands of persons, the lack of government protection makes it easier to abuse the workers. And even more in the moment in which, while there might be problems for the producers because of overvaluation, this has been given exaggerated dimensions and has served as an excuse to eliminate the fundamental minimums, sharpen super-exploitation, and continue asking the Colombian government for subsidies and loans that many times they end up not paying back.


The Nanneti or Sunburst Floramérica Group has more than 18 plantations in the Bogotá Savannah, which were acquired in 2008 after a transaction with Dole Fresh Flowers, the former owners, who in 2006 fired all the workers of Splendor Flowers in order to eliminate the independent union that had been formed in that firm a few months before a supposed end of operations which in the end did not happen.


In a document called "Desempeño del sector floricultur años 2006 a 2009" ["Performance of the flower-growing sector from 2006-2009"—SC], a report carried out by the Superintendencia de Sociedades [the government structure that supervises commercial firms—SC], four companies of the Sunburst group figure among the ten most profitable productive units in the period under analysis, with a total of over 136 billion pesos [about $74.77 million—SC] in 2009 in only four of their productive units. It is worth noting that in talking about profits, the Superintendencia is referring to net profits, after having covered the costs of production, including labor costs.


In contrast to these not at all insignificant sums, and to having been a beneficiary of Banco Agro loans, the violation of the human rights of the workers of this consortium is evident. One of their companies, C.I Guacarí, reported how in 2009 they made more than two and a half billion pesos [nearly $1.375—SC], and that their more than two hundred fifty workers are without social security, even though they are deducting an amount that corresponds to the premiums from their wages.


In addition to the blockade of the social security payment, can be added the delay in paying the semi-annual bonus that should have been paid in July, the non-payment of the family subsidy, and the systematic firing of workers with health problems. This situation, which is repeated in Floramérica, Splendor Flowers, Jardines de Colombia and Flores de la Vega, among others, spurred the creation of the union called SINTAGUACARÍ, affiliated with the union called ULTRAFLORES on September 4, 2010.


Upon receiving the notification of the founding of the union, the owners took a series of measures that violated the right of association. In the first place, they fired four workers of the Executive Board of the union and made serious threats against those who had decided to join. They claimed that the organization was illegal and they warned that they were not going to permit it to exist.


One woman worker with more than twelve years of seniority in the firm, who in the beginning of September had not joined the union, was fired together with the group of workers from the Executive Board of the union. It is clear that this firing was a result of their opposition that she expressed to the measures that the company was taking.


Even when the sales goals that the administration had imposed for Mother's Day sales were tripled, they decided that the contracts for the workers would be changed. This measure would end labor contracts and create verbal contracts for piecework, in which goals would be imposed that were practically impossible to meet in order to earn a minimum wage, without the time the worker invested in their labor being taken into account. With the excuse that they had had many losses, they warned that whoever did not accept the conditions could leave the firm.


In the face of the firings and the refusal of the bosses to get caught up with labor credits, SINTRAGUACARÍ declared a strike beginning September 9. Day after day, the workers of Guacarí gathered in a peaceful manner in the company plants to demand their rights. While they were meeting on the 18th of that month they were surprised by more than thirty police officers under the orders of the Police Commandant of Zipaquirá, Mauricio Galán, who attacked them brutally.


Several women were beaten, and some pregnant women inhaled the strong teargas that was launched against them. The bruises caused by the anti-riot rubber bullets can still be seen on some of the workers who participated in the meeting.


After ending the strike and winning the rehiring of the workers of the Executive Board, thanks precisely to this pressure tactic, the union continues to be called illegal by the bosses, who have spread the rumor that the elimination of the casino in which the Sodexo company provided meals was the fault of the union, an organization which according to the owners in a short time would also close down the company. The bosses reached the point of asserting that they might commit terrorist actions against the union.


So the people who are members of Sintraguacarí, in addition to feeling the pressure of the bosses, have to confront that of their fellow workers and some people in the town who have been influenced by the campaign of lies by the employers.


The more than 100 members of Sintraguacarí and the rest of the workers are hopeful that this coming October 30 the company will catch up on all the labor credits. At the same time they are moving ahead with consciousness-raising campaigns among their co-workers and persons who work in other companies of the Nenneti Group who are going through the same situation.


While the government commiserates with the owners for the lowering of their profits, it seems that the latter are taking advantage of the situation—already favorable—to eliminate all of the workers' rights and to continue obtaining favors from the government as if, in the words of the flower industry organization UNTRAFLORES, "you would need money to treat another human being without despotism."


Based on what we have said, we invite social organizations and persons interested in the defense of human rights to exhort the Colombian government to carry out its duty of protecting workers' rights and to take actions directed at stopping the super-exploitative conditions in flower growing, which keep hundreds of inhabitants of the savannah of Bogotá sick and in poverty.


This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.

Between Aggression and Lying


(Translated by Rich Henighan, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN's Volunteer Editor)

The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó wishes to lay bear ceaselessly before the country and the world the violations of its rights, carried out by the direct and indirect agents of the State in the last weeks.


During all these years, the reckless means through which the state has sought to annihilate us have been evident. All their criminal actions, which still have total impunity, reveal the corruption of Justice showing its perversion in which the executioner is portrayed as the victim and the victim, the executioner. This strategy is designed to distort the truth before the world and prop up the gallows they have built for us.


We bear witness to the latest facts:


On Friday, July 23, 2010 around 2PM paramilitary groups entered the settlement of Alto Joaquin, belonging to our Peace Community, and told the families anew that they had to abandon their fields. They said that now they no longer belonged to their owners, but rather to the paramilitaries and those who submitted themselves to them. On that same date a communication from the Ministry of Mines and Energy was delivered to several families.  In this message was a warning that they were going to raise the water levels behind the Urrá Dam, and that because of this the families ought to leave the area; that if they did not, the Ministry would not be responsible for what might happen. These facts reveal a tight coordination between the Government and the Paramilitaries.


On Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at around 3:00 PM in the Policarpa and Viente de Enero neighborhoods of Apartadó, the paramilitaries met with the inhabitants. They told them that it was forbidden to go up towards San José, that they had a list of persons to assassinate from both the hamlet of San José and the Peace Community.


On Sunday, July 25 at 9:00AM, Monday July 26 at 2:00PM and Friday July 30 at 2:00PM the Police-- acting in an illegal way and ignoring the judgments of the Constitutional Court-- made stops with lists of names of members of the Community at the exit from Apartodó heading to San José.


On Monday August 2, 2010 around 2:00PM members of the Community of Peace in the     neighborhood of La Unión proceeded to cover up the trenches that the Army had made in the middle of the territory of the Community when they knocked down the signaling fences in the open spaces of the Peace Community. An hour after the community's work to rebuild what the Army had destroyed, when the Community was taking documentary photos, the soldiers who were there alleged that the Army's works were to protect the Community, and that they were there only carrying out orders. When asked by the people if they thought that the Community's protection included stealing their lands and digging trenches in the open spaces there, the soldiers began to insult the members of the Community and assert that the Community was a problem and as a result they didn't much care for such a guerrilla-loving place. When asked their names and ranks, they jokingly gave ones different than those on their name-tags.

On Wednesday August 4 and Friday August 6, 2010 in the early hours of the morning communication media reported that Col. Germán Rojas had issued a complaint, used in cases of calumny, injuries or threats of death against his troops, against a youth named Tuberquia for having insulted and threatened his troops.


On Thursday August 5, The Public Defender questioned members of the Army about the irregularities committed against the community on Monday August 2 in the vicinity of La Union. The response of the Army was that its troops were not there and that no problem existed.


Lying and the distortion of facts are still routine practices in the Army and our Community of Peace has been victimized over many years by them. Col. Germán Rojas, the commander of the Voltígeros Batallion of the 17th Brigade boasted about working with persons linked to the paramilitaries and about forcing people to help him exterminate us. Now he's lying again, aided –as he knows—by allied judicial tribunals that only keep the affair silent and allow total impunity. Nevertheless, we know that one day a higher justice will appeal the crimes of those persons who have systematically

disregarded and trampled our human rights and will judge them guilty of crimes against humanity.


The planned actions of the Government, which now, in their audacity, doesn't even hide its relations with the paramilitaries, are clearly crimes against humanity. We have been giving evidence for thirteen years before national and international tribunals about these crimes. The paramilitaries speak of wiping us out and act with total arrogance and impunity, not even hiding their desire to seize our lands and then to hand them over to businessmen who are planning megaprojects.


They are arrogantly affirming again the logic of death, despoilment, and rape. They are disregarding all normal legal and ethical norms. However, they are mistaken if they believe we will give ground on our principles, on our defense of our lands and of the natural world. We firmly believe in life and because of this we nonviolently resist them. Death and the lies wielded by the direct and indirect agents of the State besiege us, always seeking our destruction. But Life will out over all those strategies of death and of extermination; this is the Hope that fills us, making real, henceforth, the triumph of Life over Death.


Based in this Hope, we reject with all our strength: militarization, the robbery of our territory, the despoiling of our lands and our dignity, and the placing of trenches in the middle of our homes as if we were guerrillas. We stand before all those who live this Hope, who oppose themselves to this logic of death. We stand and seek your support and solidarity to prevent the robbery of our lands and our displacement, extermination and permanent humiliation.


-The Community of Peace of San José de Apartadó    August 6, 2010

This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Father of the three children murdered in Arauca asks that the whole truth be told

Sent by Humanidad Vigente

(Translated by Emily Hansen, CSN's Assistant Program Director)


Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 22:44


"To the military forces I say that I will neither forgive nor forget, and that we demand justice, because the massacre of my three children was not committed by just one military man. This crime was committed by several men," stated José Álvaro Torres in a letter written by him addressed to the public.


Letter of a father reclaiming justice


In my name and in the name of my family, I welcome the advancement of the investigations and I hope that they will be carried out through the final consequences and until the whole truth is known. I would like to clarify that this document was written by my own hand and that I asked the favor of a friend of mine to transcribe it to computer so that this letter could be sent to all of the spoken and written methods of communication and to public institutions.


I ask the Prosecutor General's Office, President Juan Manuel Santos and the Armed Forces to completely clarify the acts committed and to find all of those responsible for the crime and to punish them with the full weight of the law. To the national and departmental government I ask that the witnesses, the communities and the people who with so much bravery have denounced these horrendous acts be kept safe. Our demand is that this case not be met with impunity and that these acts never repeat themselves.


To the National Inspector General's office I ask that the investigations move forward more quickly with a disciplinary character, taking into account that the perpetrators are members of the Armed Forces. With respect to the pardon, I want to make it public, in my name and in the name of my family, that until the whole truth is known and effective justice has been realized, until the details of the crime committed have been made very clear and until those physically and intellectually involved with this horrendous act against my three children have been named, there will be no pardon. 


To the military forces I say that I will neither forgive nor forget, and that we demand justice, because the massacre of my three children was not committed by just one military man. This crime was committed by several men. If the crime was committed by just one man, then why are seven backpacks covered with blood, saliva and semen? Criminal Raúl Muñoz confessed that he sexually used the two girls, the thirteen-year-old and my daughter, but claims that they accepted his advances.  I ask the men at the Prosecutor General's office and the military men if they therefore think that my daughter also accepted her murder and that of her two younger brothers, who were my beloved children.


The statements made by an Army general that appeared in a newspaper that foreign organizations are controlling and manipulating me so that I will denounce and dirty the name of the Army are false. Wouldn't it be that with this murder committed by various military men that they themselves have sullied the name of the Army?


Finally, with immense pain in my soul and a scar that will never leave me, I thank the community of the rural area of Caño Temblador where I used to live, the nearby rural areas, the human rights organizations, the means of communication, public figures and the people who have expressed their solidarity with me and my family and who have helped me to denounce this tragedy that I have experienced and that I continue to live.


Thank you.


José Álvaro Torres

Father of the three murdered children

Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 23:08


This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010


(Translated by Susan Tritten, a CSN volunteer translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN's Volunteer Editor)

MOVICE denounces to Colombia and the world the harassment to which members of ASORVIM are exposed and we express  our concern about the dangerous position of its president, Lilia Pena.


On Saturday, October 9, 2010, at 7:40 a.m., some unidentified men were hanging around in front of the office of ASORVIMM in Barrancabermeja (Magdalena Medio).  At 7:50 a.m., two of these men stopped and stood in the doorway of the office, where they saw a member of ASORVIMM.  She became aware of the presence of the two at the door and went to assist them.  Nevertheless, the two men only observed the inside of the office and then went back outside in front of the office. They stayed there watching to see who entered and left the office. Later, a young couple arrived who spoke with the two men and shook hands with them.  Afterwards they sat down on the tree trunk in front of the office and the two men left.  At that moment Lilia arrived to attend an event that was taking place in the office and it was obvious that the strangers were openly watching her.  The strangers then questioned people at neighboring businesses and at the event in the ASORVIMM office.  ASORVIMM members called the Police at 112, but were unable to speak with them.


On different occasions there have been attempts to enter the ASORVIMM office and surveillance by unidentified persons in a pickup truck with dark windows or on motorcycles.  The last time was on June 10, 2010. Two men arrived on a motorcycle without license plates and watched as an ASORVIMM committee was getting ready to leave on a bus for Bogota.

On May 26, 2010, various organizations in Barrancabermeja, ASORVIMM among them, received a threat over the internet from the address
<mailto:bloquelimpieza@hotmail.com> <mailto:bloquelimpieza@hotmail.com> . The message read:  "Since there are guerrillas in Barrancabermeja in all those organizations that call themselves displaced persons, human rights defenders, unions, NGOs and SOBs who think they're untouchable, we will exterminate whoever opposes the development and security of the country.   You are very mistaken; we won't back down.  We won't permit you to continue spreading these notions that will only live in history. We are going to end your radio and television programs and whatever f...ing workshops you come up with.  Dogs, SOBs, you are going to be sorry you were ever born.  We will not rest; we will exterminate you.  Traitors to the fatherland; get out or die."

On December 22, 2009, Lilia Pena Silva received death threats by telephone.  Lilia Pena has been receiving threats since 1998, when her partner and the father of her 4 children was assassinated and she began her work in defense of human rights.


That the Colombian state take the measures necessary to protect the life and physical well being of Lilia Pena and the members of ASORVIMM;

That the prosecutor's office investigate promptly and effectively the events reported above in order to find and prosecute those responsible.


OCTOBER 12, 2010

Link: http://www.movimientodevictimas.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=722&Itemid=1 <http://www.movimientodevictimas.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=722&amp;Itemid=1>  

This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.

Three years of impunity in case of a girl wounded by the Army

Written by Humanidad Vigente

(Translated by Chuck Summers, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN's Volunteer Editor)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 3:27PM

The incident occurred in 2007 in the village of the Philippines in Arauca.

Adriana Paola Sánchez Arciniegas, a young citizen of Arauca, struggles to overcome injuries caused by soldiers who fired indiscriminately into her home. Her family and her community call for truth, justice and restitution. 

At 19, Adriana Paola Sánchez Arciniegasdoes does not have the same physical, psychomotor and vibrant capabilities of other people her age. She has difficulty articulating certain words, she cannot walk with dexterity and shows paralysis on the right side of her head.

Adriana's symptoms may be congenital, but she was not born this way. Her physical and mental health were affected on the evening of September 26, 2007, in the village of the Phillipines in the municipality of Tame (Arauca), when soldiers shot at her home, causing these serious injuries. At that time, she was 16 and was in the fifth grade.


Army exposes the population using it as a human shield

Members of the Mobile Brigade No. 5 of the National Army who were developing "Operation Scorpion", spent two days as refugees in the home of the Sanchez family, violating the principle of distinction of international humanitarian right, using the civil population as a human shield.

Adriana was in her modest house in the village of Philippines with her younger brothers preparing for the celebration of the "secret friend." Suddenly, a loud explosion sounded in the house next to theirs, so irresponsibly soldiers began shooting indiscriminately, and as they were in the Sanchez home, they wounded Adriana and her siblings.

Ana Melba, Adriana's mother, recalls with sadness the events as "the army arrived at 1 p,m, on September 25, positioned themselves at our house and settled in there. At 6 p.m. the power went out in the village, and at 7 p.m. I went to buy some chocolates for the children to assemble the gifts for the Day of Love and Friendship. We heard a bang and we were scared. The whole community was scared. The girl was hurt, very bloody, they performed first aid, and I was told to take her to the doctor because she was very hurt. The bomb created a lot of chaos. What happened to my daughter was caused by shots from the army, that was the September 26, 2007 and it has not been possible to verify the facts. "

Three years after this tragic incident, Adriana Paola Arciniegas Sánchez, a happy adolescent, who liked to play with her siblings, who helped with chores around the house, who stood out academically in school and excelled in physical education, according to her relatives and neighbors, must now undergo permanent surgical procedures, psychological therapy, speech therapy and physiotherapy to mitigate the impacts of what happened.

The overcoming excitement of Adriana Paola remains firm and her desire to succeed grow day by day, because she wants to continue her secondary education – she is already in the ninth grade – in order to go to college. Despite this, her mother and siblings miss her joyfulness and vitality.

Given the courage of Adriana, her family and community ask for justice. They call on the authorities to advance the criminal and disciplinary investigation, conduct an inspection at the scene of the incident and demand that the militaries who participated in the military operation be connected to the crime.

Likewise, Current Humanity claims the memory of what happened and asks the relevant state agencies under the ratification of the United Nations Convention on Disability, to establish each and every one of the protective actions and guarantee the establishment of the mentioned international instrument, to vindicate the rights of truth, justice and restitution that Adriana Paola and her family demand.

Last Updated Tuesday, October 12, 2010 2:49




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