July 1, 2008

The Uribe Government and Democratic Security Advance with Guns and Machetes in Northern Cauca, Colombia

Written by The Association of Indigenous Authorities of Northern Cauca (ACIN),
Originally published in NASA-ACIN, July 1, 2008
Translated by Micheal O Tuathail for La Chiva

As the traditional indigenous authority of Northern Cauca, the council of the Association of Indigenous Authorities of Northern Cauca (ACIN) REPORTS to and ALERTS the national and international community that members of the public forces – police, army and ESMAD [Colombia’s version of a SWAT team] – have attacked 80 indigenous people with bullets and machetes after finding them at the Las PirĂ¡mides farm, located in the municipality of Santander de Quilichao, while engaged in the Ritual of the Liberation of Mother Earth.

In a serious act of contempt for human rights, soldiers unleashed their hate on the community, which was in the act of pacifically Liberating Mother Earth, wounding two indigenous men with bullets and machetes. One of the wounded is MARINO CAMAYO, a well-respected and widely known indigenous leader, serving as governor of the Las Delicias reserve, ex-councillor of the Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC), ex-coordinator of the ACIN’s health program and ex-mayoral candidate in Buenos Aires, Cauca. After having been captured, insulted and beaten, he is currently in Francisco de Paula Hospital in Santander de Quilichao being treated for severe blows to his body, wounds to his face and head from being clubbed and kicked, and machete gashes in his right knee.

Leaving him gravely wounded was not enough for the aggressors: they have since begun the process of pressing charges against him for demanding the right to land. Similarly, ALBEIRO CAMAYO, coordinator of the Indigenous Guard, is at the same hospital receiving treatment for a bullet wound to his left leg.

In response to these violent events, we reject the Uribe government’s ‘Democratic Security Policy’ and the carrying out of Phase II of Plan Colombia, which converts indigenous territories into a theatre of operations where the public forces execute the orders of their higher-ups and attack the defenseless civil population, violating human rights and international humanitarian law.

We call upon human rights defenders, humanitarian organizations, NGOs and the international community to accompany us by clarifying these facts and demand that the government’s impunity for acts like these – so evidently directed against the civil and indigenous population – cease to continue. We also ask that they remain alert in response to the actions of the public forces against the community’s legitimate processes, such as the Ritual of the Liberation of Mother Earth.

Santander de Quilichao, Cauca, Colombia, July 1, 2008.

Tejido of Communication and External Relations for Life and Truth
Association of Indigenous Authorities of Northern Cauca - ACIN
Telefax: 0928 - 290958 - 293999
Email: acincauca@yahoo.es
Web: www.nasaacin.org
Santander de Quilichao, Cauca - Colombia

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