August 11, 2008


Earlier this afternoon, the Association of Indigenous Authorities of Northern Cauca (ACIN) received the text of a threat by email, which we are attaching below for you to read. This letter of terror, signed by the CEC (Campesinos Embejucados del Cauca, or ‘Furious Peasants of Cauca’), announces that “at approximately 00:00 tonight, you will receive information regarding the murders at the hands of peasants of paHECES [1] and the ex-guerrilla heads of the CRIC, which will be confirmed by phone and a consequences of their disrespect.” In this threat, we are referred to as paHECES, or ‘excrement,’ exposing the racism of the author(s).

The 7-page threat states throughout its hateful and false content the decision to defame the indigenous process and the commencement of a campaign of terror and death. The context in which this letter has been sent is that of the parapolítica [2], with the clear collusion of the Colombian government:

The threats against the indigenous movement made by the President of the Republic, who has ordered the payment of rewards for the arrest of indigenous Senator Jesús Piñacué, who is mentioned in the threat;

The recent confession of the paramilitary member Orlando Villa Zapata, involved in the 1991 massacre in El Nilo [Cauca], that said massacre was planned in the Hacienda La Emperatriz in the presence of the landowners;

The recent spree of murders in Santander de Quilichao [Cauca] of 25 young people in one week and this past weekend’s massacre of ten people in El Tambo.

This letter is the culmination of a sharp increase in threats against indigenous leaders in Northern Cauca. This threat is also based on the unfounded declarations of General Jaime Esguerra, linking functionaries of the indigenous mayor’s office in Toribío with the 6th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The initial reading of this letter obliges us to make a call of MAXIMUM ALERT to Paez leaders and community members in Cauca as well as in the departments of Valle, Tolima, Putumayo and Huila and in the cities of Cali, Popayan and Bogota. All indications lead us to believe that this letter comes from the landowners and paramilitaries in collusion with their counterparts in the government.

We urgently call for national and international solidarity. Concerted actions in solidarity will allow us to uncover the origin of these threats in order to ensure that this criminal action will face justice. The web site of has been blocked, and internet access at the ACIN’s Tejido de Comunicación y Relaciones Externas [Communication and External Relations Network] has been cut off.

This threat was not written by peasants. Its crude yet carefully elaborated language has allowed us to discern this with certainty. We reiterate our solidarity with the Afro-Colombians and peasants with whom we have united in our shared struggle for social justice, freedom and resistance against the power of the landowners, a power that attempts to condemn us to silence and flight from our lands through the use of terror.

We will not fall into the trap of hate that tries to divide us in order to maintain an order of injustice and poverty. For life, peace, and the Freedom of Mother Earth, we defend dignity and unity and call out to collectively reject the hate of these false peasants.

We call upon the National Indigenous and Popular Movement and all the peoples of the Continent to accompany us in these difficult moments in which power cannot learn to accept our historic struggle. WE WILL RESIST!

Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC)
Association of Indigenous Authorities of Northern Cauca (ACIN, Cxab Wala Kiwe)
Cauca, 11 August, 2008


This text will be published [in Spanish] on the websites of the ONIC [National Indigenous Organization of Colombia] and the CRIC [Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca]

Subject: masacres cauca
lunes, 11 agosto, 2008 4:14 PM
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The Blame is on the Criminal paHECES


In recent years, the CRIC has ordered the taking of lands in particular parts of Cauca, lands that we peasants have been obliged to sell against our will. When all we want to do is produce bread, food and jobs, our intentions have been carried out in spite of the worst threats and hostility by organizers and leaders of the CRIC, where they claim that the territory is theirs and that there isn’t enough room for the indians, peasants, and blacks together – that this area belongs to the paHECES. We understand that these threats, intimidation, and occupations are occurring among the poor, in the midst of conditions of poverty, in one of the most violent and conflictive areas of Cauca, such as Caldono, Santander, Piendamo, Cajibio, Jámbalo, Totoro.

Areas inhabited by indians, blacks, mulattos, mestizos, but 99% of those inhabitants are humble human beings, poor, excluded by the system of the state and exploited by big capital, which today has taken this part of the country. We furious peasants not only live alongside state persecution but also the persecution of the CRIC and their councils, who put us, our families, properties and small farms, in a very difficult situation, through which we have always survived.

The CRIC’s persecution, and that of the councils of the paHECES, that not only are allowed to work and live but also fill our families and children with uneasiness, terror and confusion because they say that peasants, blacks, mestizos and mulattos are terrorists. They even pursue, harass, and nearly kill each other. They rob food through their [indigenous] guard and councils, which we aren’t even sure of being guerrilla, paramilitaries, or just thieves hired by the CRIC. Their intention is to evict peasants, and the saddest thing is to see how they reject, threaten and kill each other. The paHECES think that Cauca, Valle, Tolima, Huila and Putumayo belong to them; that is what the CRIC (Combo de Revoltosos Incitadores de la CXenofia) does.

Today, we must RISE UP to stop the oppressors, or we will have no future. We are making known the “root of the problem” that threatens us by announcing a path that we have already started, and we call out for everyone to walk that path together to defend ourselves from the CRIC and the paHECES, those who talk about liberating Mother Earth. The concern of the peasants of Valle, Cauca and Huila is that we have to defend ourselves from aggressions and xenophobia, and there are many ways to do that militarily, because we already know who they are, where they are, and what they do.

For us peasants, the scenario in Cauca, Valle and Huila is really desolate. Aside from the abandonment of the state, we have other problems. The ability to organize ourselves to obtain necessities such as access to water services through an aqueduct, which the Indians (especially the paHECES) have messed up for us, is met by the national government under these circumstances. There ought to be a search for a solution, be it public or clandestine, because we won’t put up with this any longer.

In Colombia, we thought that the indians were going to fight for what, at some point, would bring some sort of equilibrium among the population. In recent years, that has been burned by the imposition of the CRIC, which through their actions are the same as the guerrilla in that they have lost any possibility of negotiating humanitarian agreements in favorable conditions for the entire population of the countryside, including those same indians. We can neither accept nor remain on our knees before the aggressions, offensives and miserable policies of the paHECES, who today suffer and confront a serious and grave lack of credibility among the population of Cauca, Colombia and the world.

We already know about their significant allies in the region. Even still, the most certain thing is that the FARC will continue to move forward in diminished capacity and with probable fragmentation among their commanders and fronts, like the CRIC and the paHECES, who prepare their young people militarily in the army in order to hand them over to the FARC.

“We Celebrate the Liberation, and We Don’t Accept the Regime of the CRIC and the paHECES”

It needs to be said clearly: A CRIC-paHECES dictatorship has been founded in Cauca and Valle in Colombia. The CRIC judges, sentences and orders the occupations and evictions of poor peasants. They are as ignorant as the rest of their race. Those same indians will be our allies in the future.

To begin the challenge and condemn those responsible requires nothing more than your word. We aren’t responsible because we’re in Colombia. The charges that the CRIC and the paHECES make to justify the occupation of land are false because we aren’t the ones who own 5,000 hectares, like Uribe Velez does.

But that doesn’t seem to be too important because their reputation has reinforced their illegitimacy. The apparatus of the CRIC and the paHECES Councils has long been used as a weapon against the people of Cauca, particularly against the poor (a great number of whom were made poor since the CRIC was founded), against those who organize, denounce or resist.

The evidence and testimonies are hidden by order of the accused. The witnesses disappear because they are bribed, bought, murdered. The high-level leaders of the CRIC justify civilian claims and lie.

In the middle of all this, we must rise up to see who resists more. If we don’t resist, if we don’t rise up, if they don’t stop us, they will remove us from these lands and the planet through disaster, force, hunger and lies ordered by CRIC functionaries, indigenous guards trained militarily for the war of terror. The illegitimate Councils are installed in power to convert life into profit and to destroy the rest.

They denounce the Grave Situation of War in Northern Cauca, but the terror, corruption, laziness, delinquency, and prostitution is within the CRIC’s own office. All that is done against the peasants is hidden.


WE APPEAL FOR PRUDENCE AND RESPECT FOR THE LIFE OF THE CIVIL POPULATION. What appeal? What prudence? What respect for the LIFE of the poor peasant population of Cauca?

1. Now we are going to report the news. At approximately 00:00 tonight, you will receive information regarding the murders at the hands of peasants of paHECES and the ex-guerrilla heads of the CRIC, which will be confirmed by phone and consequences of their disrespect.

2. Don’t be surprised when the CRIC and paHECES are found dead and a significant number of your members have disappeared. We know that, in Colombia, you hardly pass one million people.

We want Popayan, Cali and Bogota Free of Indians because that is where their lair and greatest concentration of leaders are.

3. Your lairs will be surrounded by our members of intelligence as well as other paHECES. That is, your own people are giving us information so that we can defend ourselves. We have our equipment and logistics prepared.

3. As you do to us, you will also have the chance see how good it feels to stay awake at night and experience uncertainty.

5. Your Tejido de Comunicación y Relaciones Externas para la Verdad y la Vida [the ACIN’s Comunication and External Relations Network for Truth and Life] is a synonym for paHECES.

We must advance a process of military occupation and extermination against the heads of the CRIC and paHECES of Cauca, because they attack us with false and criminal declarations. Those who are infiltrated by armed groups (QUINTIN) are part of the sects that pressure through disrespectful plans oriented to evict and hand over land to the councils.

We have no alternative but to defend life and call upon humanity so that our tranquility and desire to live not be extinguished. We also have rights, not just the indians. The criminals of eviction and death are you … the CRIC paHECES who do and undo, order evictions, lie, and kill to accumulate. You deserve to be punished by our justice because we, too, deserve life and tranquility.

The accusations of the Commander of the National Army’s Third Brigade, General Jaime Esguerra, through the media “assure through documents in his possession that there exists a nexus between functionaries of the mayor’s office of Toribio and the 6th Front of the FARC.” When the river makes a sound, it is because there are stones.

What are the CRIC and paHECES demanding? The right to life, dignity and peace coexistence, while they don’t leave the peasants to live in peace?

They say that, with False and Serious Accusations [the Uribe government] Wants to Exterminate Processes of Resistance. We peasants will also resist the abuses of the CRIC and paHECES.

1) The government gives them money so they can do bad things. With their farces of community processes, they only project Envy Plans [3]. They are called that because, on the path of self-determination, they are meant to dominate and scare the idiots.

2) The government gives them money to rent their communities. They spend that money in Popayan, organizing misdeeds and justifying the civic movement, carrying out diagnostics, planning clear short-, medium-, and long-term policies of division and land thievery from peasants and blacks. In the same way, they waste the transfers from the Nation, in assemblies where the people and delegates from the townships of Cauca are invited to eat and get drunk on the dime of the rest of the ignorant indians.

3) They want governments to believe that the functionaries of the CRIC are suitable people elected through public assemblies and accountable to community assemblies in accordance with traditions and customs. This is false because they are a bunch of rats who live off of these processes (Alcibíades).

4) The CRIC and the PaHECES talk about transparent processes with community oversight at assemblies, and because of this process have received national and international recognition. This is a lie, because they sell the land just as readily as they sell us peasants, yet they want to make others outside the country believe that they have done so much. Considering how much money they have received, where is the development?

5) The indigenous organization has, on several occasions, made it publicly known that they do not agree with an armed solution to the conflict; given this, they have assumed a critical and constructive position in defense of life through humanitarian mechanisms, putting them at odds with those who seek a military solution. If so, then why do they pursue us, discriminate against us, and threaten us poor peasants?

6) The anti-indian peasants request that National and International human rights organizations remain vigilant before the accusations of the CRIC and the peHECES, who for years have been disrupting our tranquility.

The municipalities and their peasant populations in Cauca, Valle, Tolima and Huila have been affected by the violence generated by the Indigenous conflict. Violent events have caused the death of innocents and destabilized peace and peaceful coexistence with the peasants and Black populations. Faced with these acts against humanity committed against peasants, we call out for national and international solidarity, to human rights organizations and international law, for mediation so that the civil population and the actors in the conflict will no longer be affected by the indians.

Peasants of Cauca (Colombia), we reject the Indians’ privatization of our natural resources, “the only chance of survival for poor peasants.”

There is more to Colombia than the FARC guerrillas and the government of president Uribe, even though those are what the foreign media gives most space and attention to. We are talking about the other reality, that of other Colombians; in this case, the peasants of Cauca, Valle, Huila and Tolima.

The CRIC and paHECES go around saying outside the country that they defend the self-determination of their territories through non-violent resistance and are bound by a pact with indians, peasants, afro-colombians and trade unionists to work on a popular agenda that will bring about the realization of their objectives and resolve the serious problems of the indigenous communities, those communities that continue to be dispossessed from their lands and means for living. This is a lie because they seize our lands and force us to sell them.

Given the structural problems faced by peasant and black Colombians, we take up, on the one hand, our right to make known the other reality of the country; other the other hand, we call out for solidarity from outside. The presence of the FARC, while serious, is not the root of Colombia’s problems. There are hunger and the privatization of natural resources by the Indians that deny us water and land, all of which is coordinated by former guerrillas.

We do not agree with the guerrillas’ politics or with kidnappings. We do not agree that they should deprive people of their freedom or disturb the peaceful existence of our peasant children. We also need to eat, drink water, but we don’t want this to be used by others to bring forward the entirety of the problems faced by Colombian peasants.

We can assure that the indigenous communities are a part of an “integral plan of aggression,” and that the privatization of resources, land and water, has only been brought about in favor of the entry of their ethnocentric and xenophobic interests. All this in order to take control of and exploit the natural resources of Huila, Valle and Cauca, precisely where we peasants, blacks and urban poor live and subsist from our peasant-based economy. We also accuse the CRIC and the paHECES of sowing terror on our small properties.

Displacement is not only carried out by the guerrilla but also the indigenous, especially the CRIC and paHECES, who force us to move to the cities without work. When we return to our burned farms, they tell us we are “no longer the owners of the land.” We don’t understand their policies.

The CRIC, peHECES and their Coucils demand their self-government and proclaim the defense of life and territory, but they don’t respect us; therefore, we must find other ways to live.

We also “know who else” acts and hates and at the same time seeks justice and the revelation of truth. The organizers at the highest levels of the CRIC lack respect. They sentence us to repression in the name of respect, peaceful co-existence, resistance, while they have the same interests as the government.


We peasants are peaceful people. It shocks us when the CRIC and paHECES kill each other in Silvia, yet we see that they don’t even respect each other. We are emphatic in declaring that the only real solution is for them to reform their actions or we will act under our own criterion of Security, which we are financing ourselves. It is the only way to do away with this terrorism. For us, they are the greatest threat to peace. In the past, without the CRIC, there was peace and never disagreements.

Senator Piñacue only speaks for them in his speeches, where he says that the paHECES are the motor, believe in the law, and speak of patience and heroic strength. Meanwhile, the small peasants are terrorized by them. Speaking of adversities and threats, the tragedy that he talks about was created by the CRIC in 1991. They say they are tired, tired of doing nothing, sweating from not doing anything. They say that they fight for territory. Does that mean all of Cauca? All of Colombia? All of America? This is a stupid discourse, because the intention of Piñacue is to eliminate the peasants and Blacks and for the Indians to kill each other. Yet, in the Congress, he says the opposite.

We have no other choice but to protest through these means, defend our lives and call for humanity to not allow the peace in our lands to be ruined. We peasants and blacks are also everyone’s responsibility. The miserable criminals of the CRIC created this destruction, and they must pay with their lives because it is they who order the actions of eviction, lie, and kill to “accumulate.” They deserve to be punished by justice.



Translator's notes

Please note that all bold text and grammatical inaccuracies in this translation are as per the original source text.

[1] a racist slur. Instead of 'Paez', another name the indigenous Nasa go by, the author(s) use the word 'paHECES'. ‘Heces’, in Spanish, means ‘stool’ or 'human excrement'.

[2] Parapolitica refers to the scandal in which Colombian politicians have been shown to have proven links to right-wing paramilitary death squads. See:

[3] A play on the ‘Life Plans’ for which the indigenous of Northern Cauca in particular are famous, have won numerous awards and gained much international recognition.

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