WE HAVE EMBRACED LIFE AND WE WILL NOT GIVE IN TO THE
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, a CSN volunteer translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, a
CSN Volunteer Editor.)
Since we reported the murder of Bernardo on March 23, there have been continual
attacks. They are trying to kill us off. The attack by the paramilitaries with the very
evident complicity of the armed forces just demonstrates their strategy of destruction of
our way of life. We are making a record of these events in an ethical manner, so that
some day humanity will bring all the government's impunity and brazenness to justice, a
government that tries to pose as a mere spectator.
* On April 4, 2011, at 8 a.m., paramilitaries gathered in the town of Murmullo. They told
the people that they would have to do work for them any time they were ordered to do so.
They said that anyone who didn't would have to pay a fine of 50,000 pesos (about $28)
for the first offense and if they refused a second time they would be killed. Besides that,
they said they were going to station armed paramilitaries in civilian clothes in all of the
towns. They would have radios and they would be ordered to watch the actions of every
individual and report it if any stranger entered the town. Finally, they said that no one
would be allowed to be part of the Peace Community. Anybody who did would be killed
and they would begin to kill the leaders of that community, whose names they already
had on their list. After making these statements they ordered the people to work on the
road. The paramilitaries walked brazenly and undisturbed in Batata right in front of the
armed forces who are stationed there, just as they do in Nueva Antioquia.
* On April 4, 2011, at 3 p.m., Uber Areiza, a member of our community and Alcides
Usuga who was with him, were stopped by Army troops in the town of Las Nieves. They
were going to work in the town of La Esperanza. The soldiers told them to get off the
horses they were riding and show them the things they were carrying. They refused and
the soldiers immediately brought two men wearing masks and left the two alone with
them. The two masked men attacked them, throwing them off their horses and scattering
their things. They pushed machetes up against their throats, telling them they would cut
their throats if they ever saw them again. Then they let them go.
* On April 5, 2011, around 9 p.m., Sr. Jesús López was killed by masked men using
machetes. He had just left a religious service in San José and he was going home when
he was attacked. He was still alive when he got there and people in the community tried
to help him but it was hopeless and he died in a few minutes.
* Between April 3 and April 6, 2011, in the town of Mulatos, signs were posted on walls,
houses and trees. The signs say that the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia are
coming to kill us. People have also seen evidence that there are troops of armed men
lurking around, but not going where they can be seen.
There has been an accumulation of attacks against the life and the integrity of our
community and against the farmers who live in the area. They are trying to impose the
orders of the paramilitaries. In spite of the fear and the anxiety that they have spread, we
will not give in. Our response in favor of life in our community is stronger than ever.
We believe in the peace of our daily lives, in totally peaceful actions opposing any armed
actor. All of these attacks are just trying to destroy our principles. But their murderous
efforts are useless in the face of the absolute decision we have made in favor of human
PEACE COMMUNITY OF SAN JOSÉ DE APARTADÓ
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