Original Source: Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
[Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN volunteer translator.]
The complaints we have filed and our clamors for relief are continuing, without the government demonstrating any concern at all about the ferocious actions of the paramilitaries. They are an armed force that acts in complete coordination with the control points set up by the armed forces. The paramilitaries insist that we submit to them, with the threat that they will kill us all. We will not submit to them, and once again we demand that the government take responsibility for all of the horrors that they have inflicted. President Santos has been informed in minute detail of all of these horrors and he has refused to act. The paramilitary bases continue intact and are protected by the armed forces. We will continue to make a formal record for all time. We are sure that people of conscience will continue to walk with us in moral resistance to so much infamy.
We hereby record the following facts:
* On Monday, November 14, 2011, around 6:00 p.m., thirty (30) paramilitaries arrived at the town of La Esperanza, carrying rifles and wearing civilian clothes. They invaded homes, including the homes of families belonging to our Peace Community. Once again they repeated their message: those who will not submit to them and work with them will have to leave or they will be killed. They will be acting soon and acting fiercely.
* On Friday, November 18, 2011, around 4:00 p.m., the paramilitaries returned to the town of La Esperanza, this time wearing camouflage and carrying rifles. They said they would be beginning to act more ferociously.
* On Saturday, November 19 and Sunday, November 20, 2011, all day long, the paramilitaries were all around the roads nearby and leading to the towns of La Esperanza, Rodoxali and El Porvenir. They set up checkpoints and they stole food that people were carrying. They said taking food into houses was prohibited, that a food blockade had been decreed, and that anybody who failed to carry out the new rule would be killed.
* On Tuesday, November 22, 2011, starting around 5:00 a.m. and until 9:00 a.m., there was combat between the paramilitaries and the guerrillas in the towns of La Esperanza and Playa Larga, placing all of the civilian population in the line of fire. Some of the families were able to escape in the midst of the combat, thus saving their lives. This proves once again that the paramilitaries, who continue to operate in tight conformity with the Army, are attempting to use the civilian population as a SHIELD. This constitutes a WAR CRIME. Only a week ago we complained of similar actions and here they are repeated once again.
The families of La Esperanza, like those of Rodoxali, El Porvenir and the nearby towns are at extremely high risk. Some families want to leave. That is why we are making an urgent call for the central government to intervene. We demand the cessation of paramilitary actions, which are just camouflaged actions of the government. The Peace Community will stay firmly rooted in its locations, and it will not submit to any kind of dictates by these criminals who are shielded by the government.
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
November 26, 2011
(This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.)
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