EARLY WARNING IN CATATUMBO: PARAMLITARY THREATS
BEFORE THE OMBUDSMAN, LEGAL CAPACITIES, ATTORNEY GENEREAL OF THE NATION, PUBLIC
PROSECUTOR OF THE NATION, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR AND
JUSTICE, MINISTRY OF DEFENSE, THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF NORTE DE SANTANDER, THE
MAYOR OF TIBÚ, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS, INERNATIONAL
BODIES, NATIONAL AND REGIONAL OFFICES IN COLOMBIA OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH
COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL COMITÉ OF THE RED CROSS, INTERNATIONAL
OBSERVORS, EMBASSIES, COOPERATION AGENCIES, AND THE MEDIA
Cúcuta-Norte de Santander, February 27, 2011
Written by Capitulo Norte Santandar
(Translated by Janelle Nodhturft, CSN, Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, a CSN Volunteer
The region of Cataumbo-Norte de Santander in Colombia has been brutally hit by a paramilitary
incursion, leaving in its wake a total of more than 10,000 civilian peasants assassinated and massacred,
130,000 forcibly displaced, along with 800 disappearances. These acts were committed at the hands of
paramilitary structures that were reported as dismantled through the demobilization process.
However, social organizations and human rights groups present in this region have demonstrated and
refuted the fact that the structures of paramiliarism disappeared with the demobilization and that to
the contrary, paramilitary groups continue to generate terror through death threats and threats of
extermination. They now operate under the names Águilas Negras (Black Eagles), Rastrojos, Comando
Escorpión (Scorpion Command), etc.
GIVEN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE DENOUNCE THE FOLLOWING:
_On Thursday February 17, 2011, approximately 50 uniformed individuals, heavily armed, came to Las
Veredas el Rancho and to Quebrada el Cancho located in the Guamalito section of the municipality of El
Carmen-Norte. In front of the populations of these towns they identified themselves as paramilitaries.
_At 3 p.m. on February 20th 2011, along the road that connects Las Veredas el Rancho and Quebrada el
Cancho, men with firearms that identified themselves as paramilitaries approached a peasant who lives
in this zone and robbed $800 from him.
_On the night of February 20th 2011, pamphlets were thrown along the stretch of road known as
SOCUBADO in the municipality of Tibú-Norte de Santander. The pamphlets presented an "ultimatum" to
the local peasants, implicitly accused them of being "drug sellers, whores, misers, rapists, drug addicts,
fake guerrilla fighters, and informants" and stated that "social cleansing is necessary…." It was signed
by "The Scorpion Command and the townspeople."
- On Monday Feburary 21st these same pamphlets were thrown all along the township of la Gabarra in
the municipality of Tibú Norte de Santander.
These incidences have created terror and uncertainty in the community. In response we call for the
CALL TO AUTHORITIES
We call on the relevant authorities to intervene immediately to investigate, sanction and dismantle in a
real, effective way the paramilitary groups in the Catatumbo region.
CALL TO ACTION
We call on regional, national and international human right organizations to demonstrate and
denounce this grave situation and the risk the civilian population faces. We must assure that the
death, devastation, and displacement the region has suffered for the past 11 years at the hands of the
paramilitaires, who operate in a context of impunity, doesn't repeat itself.
Asociación Campesina del Catatumbo-ASCAMCAT
Movimiento Nacional de Victimas de Crímenes de Estado Capitulo Norte de Santander-MOVICE
Coordinación Colombia Europa Estados Unidos Nodo Nororiental-CCEEU
Corporación Colectivo de Abogados Luis Carlos Pérez
Coordinación de Organizaciones Agrarias y Populares de Colombia-CONAP
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