Asociación Campesina del Catatumbo
:: Norte de Santander, Colombia ::
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IPO Declares Solidarity With Those Arrested In Catatumbo
International Peace Observatory / Friday 12 February 2010 / Español / italiano

The International Peace Observatory declares profound indignation to national as well as international organizations for the mass detentions suffered by the peasant community of Catatumbo, North of Santander, on the 6th and 7th of February of 2010. Army agents detained 12 people from the regions of Teorama and Convencion.

The people detained are Diosmel Galvis Vergel, Roimar Carrascal, José de Dios Benítez, Edilson Márquez, Gabriel Quientero, police inspector, Aleida Angarita, ex president of the Junta de Acción Comunal (Community organization) de San Pablo, Jesus Antonio Quintero Salazar, José Alberto Quintero Salazar, Olinto Salazar Pabón, Diorgen Acosta, Héctor Saúl Carrascal, Neyder Carrascal. They are all members of the community and workers in the region. They are accused of rebellion, terrorism, and intent to commit crimes against the state.

According to the community, the agents from the Fiscalia (District attorney’s Office), CTI, Dijin, and nacional Army were accompanied by informants, reinserted guerrillas, who accuse the community leaders of being auxiliaries of the insurgency. Unfortunately, in Colombia, what is known as False Positives, is a commonly used way to silence those who fight for justice as well as to create fear and uncertainty in forgotten and abandoned areas of the country.

As an organization of international accompaniment that has accompanied the peasant communities of Catatumbo for the past 5 years, we declare our support and solidarity to those who have been detained and their families and the Peasant Association of Catatumbo (ASCAMCAT) that has defended the Humanitarian Refugee Camp during the last 10 months. The event is denouncing extra-judicial assassinations, indiscriminate fumigations, eradication which has not been planned with the community, the persistence of paramilitary groups in the region, lack of social investment by the government in the area (health, education, water, etc), and other problems.

The objective of IPO is to continue observing the condition of human rights in the area of Catatumbo and deliver a message of solidarity and calm to the community by accompanying the Verification Mission on February 12-15. We demand the the Colombian government rapidly clarify the judicial situation and accusations against the people who have been arrested and that their right be respected during their arrest.