The below-signed organisations reject the threats and persecution which is being levelled against diverse organisations all over Colombia, in particular organisations which are part of the Minga of Social and Communitarian Resistence.
Today, October 22nd 2009, a threat arrived by fax to the offices of the trade union central CUT Valle. Signed by the ‘Black Eagles New Generation’ paramilitary group, the threat declares the following organisations as military objectives:
PROCESO DE COMUNIDADES NEGRAS PCN (Black Communities Process),
LA TOMA COMMUNITY COUNCIL,
INDIGENOUS CABILDO AUTHORITY CERRO TIJERAS.
The following leaders were also named as military objective:
LICIFREY ARARA- mining leader from Suarez municipality, Cauca department;
EDWAR VILLEGAS- member of the CUT Valle Human Rights Team;
JOSE GOYES- member of the Political Commission of the Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC);
DIEGO ESCOBAR- Member of CUT Valle Executive Committee;
PLUTARCO- Member of human rights association Siglo XXI in Buenos Aires municipality, Cauca; and
MERALDINO CABICHE- member of Suarez municipal council who has been the victim of multiple threats in the past week.
The threat seems to have been sent from a fax machine in Santander de Quilichao municipality, Cauca department, in an internet café called ‘Terra Punto com’.
Details: The fax arrived to the CUT Valle fax machine (number 3901498) at 12.33pm today, titled ‘THE GOVERNMENT CONTINUES COMPLYING WITH THE AGREEMENTS AND COMMITMENTS’.
The text reads as follows:
“You are defenders of the guerrilla, requesting land to plant coca to strengthen the indians and the guerrilla. You don’t understand the efforts of the President of the Republic Alvaro Uribe, who with the help of Familias en Accion (Families in Action), Forest Keepers (Guardabosques) and Democratic Security (all 3 are policies of the Uribe government)- a group of men and women concerned with improving the country. We have decided that it is necessary to begin again the fight against thos who camouflage themselves in social organisations such as CUT Valle, Nomadesc, Human Rights defenders, NGOs, enemies of our democracy.
Those bureaucrats don’t let Cauca progress, they don’t allow the entry of multinationals which bring benefits to the communities of SUAREZ, MORALES and BUENOS AIRES. Some of these organisations have made agreements with owners of mining deeds requesting the eviction of communities in mining zones in return for money, such as in La Toma community. We have documents to prove this.
Today we have decided to declare these son of a bitch bureaucrats as military objectives: human rights defenders, Nomadesc, CUT Valle, PCN, La Toma Community Council, Cerro Tijeras, Licifredy, Eduar Villegas, Jose Goyes, Diego Escobar, Recheche, Plutarco, Counciller Meraldino. Signed Aguilas Negras Nueva Generacion (Black Eagles New Generation).”
It is important to highlight that the organisations and individuals mentioned in the threat have been working together in defence of the rights of the communities of Suarez, Morales and Buenos Aires municipalities in Cauca department for several years.
In particular, they have denounced the Colombian state’s non-compliance with agreements signed with the indigenous, afro-Colombian and campesino communities in the area in 1986 (and ratified in 2006).
They have also denounced the harmful presence of the multinational companies Union Fenosa (Spain), AngloGold Ashanti (South Africa) and Smurfitt Carton de Colombia (Ireland). Harrassment of Aida Quilcue continues At approximately 7.45am on October 21st, four men who in a 5 door vehicle were seen to be monitoring the house of AIDA QUILCUE, ex-Chief Counciller of the Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC).
The car’s registration plate was recorded, but when the details were taken to the police to ask them to run a check on the vehicle, the reply was that this registration doesn’t exist. At approximately 12pm on October 16th, when AIDA QUILCUE was in the mobilisation of the Minga of Social and Communitarian Resistance in the outside the Cali Municipal Administation Centre, she was followed by two men.
When the men were apprehended by indigenous guards and members of the CUT Valle Human Rights Team, they stated that they didn’t have identification (in Colombia it is obligatory to carry identification at all times). The men were handed over to the police, but the authorities have yet to clarify the men’s identity, where they come from, and why they were following AIDA QUILCUE.
Threat to Jose Goyes The same day, at approximately 1pm, member of the CRIC Political Commission and Ex-Governor of Honduras indigenous reserve JOSE GOYES received a call from a man who said, ‘Am I speaking with Jose Goyes?’, Goyes replied, ‘Yes, with him’, ‘Son of a bitch, we’ve been looking for you for days, but before we shoot you we’re going to give it to you in the face you you faggot, then we’re going to finish you off with lead’.
We are deeply concerned by the serious incidents involving threats, harassment, persecution, eviction and murder which have been occurring all over the country. Such events have increased drastically over the past few months.
We want to highlight that the country’s human rights crisis is intensifying as we enter the pre-electoral period, and when the social sectors all across the country have staged mass demonstrations in the Minga of Communitarian and Social Resistance, manifesting their inconformity with the current government’s policies.
The Minga has been able to show the serious human rights violations which are being committed all over the country.
We call on all of you to speak out as soon as possible, and demand a clear response from the Colombian state, in order to prevent an attack against any member of the threatened organisations.
If you are in Britain, you can direct your correspondence to the Colombian embassy at email@example.com. [also firstname.lastname@example.org ]
ASOCIACION PARA LA INVESTIGACION Y ACCION SOCIAL NOMADESC
CAMPAÑA PROHIBIDO OLVIDAR
PROCESO DE COMUNIDADES NEGRAS PCN
CENTRAL UNITARIA DE TRABAJADORES CUT – VALLE
CORPORACION JURIDICA UTOPIA
SINTRAUNICOL VALLE DEL CAUCA
ASOCIACIÓN PARA EL DESARROLLO SOCIAL INTEGRAL ECATE
RED DE HERMANDAD Y SOLIDARIDAD – COLOMBIA
Translation courtesy of Colombia Solidarity Campaign, UK