Paramilitaries continue destroying us with the full acquiescence of the government
/ Saturday 3 December 2011
San José de Apartadó se declaró comunidad de paz el 23 de marzo de 1997. Aproximadamente 500 campesinos, pertenecientes a 17 veredas, decidieron organizarse para sacar la guerra de su territorio, para no colaborar con ningún actor armado, para llevar adelante un proceso de neutralidad respecto del conflicto.
Our reports and alerts follow one after the other without any part of the State showing any concern for the intense actions of the paramilitaries, who act as an armed group in full coordination with the State security forces. The paramilitaries insist that we submit to them under the threat that they will destroy us. We will not submit, and once again we recognize the government as fully responsible for the horrors that they are subjecting us to. President Santos has been informed of all of these horrors in great detail and he refuses to act. The paramilitary bases are still intact and protected by the State security forces. We continue to publish reports for the historical record and we are sure that people of conscience continue with us in moral resistance to so much disgrace.
We report the following events:
On Monday, November 14, 2011, around 6:00pm, 30 paramilitaries arrived in the rural district of La Esperanza with long guns and in civilian clothing. They entered people’s homes, including homes belonging to families that are part of our Peace Community. Once again they repeated their message: those who do not submit to them and work with them will have to leave or die; from now on they will act more forcefully.
On Friday, November 18, 2011, around 4pm, the paramilitaries entered the rural district of La Esperanza once again, this time in camouflage and carrying long guns. They repeated that they would start acting more forcefully.
On Saturday November 19 and Sunday November 20, 2011, the paramilitaries were present on the paths around the rural districts of La Esperanza, Rodoxalí and El Porvenir. They set up checkpoints and stole the food that people were carrying, saying that no one was allowed to bring food to the houses; they had decreed a food blockade and anyone who disobeyed these orders would be killed.
On Tuesday, November 22, 2011, around 5:00am and until 9:00am, there were battles between the paramilitaries and the guerrillas in the rural districts of La Esperanza and Playa Larga, and the civilian population was stuck in the middle. Several families had to flee in the middle of the battle to save their lives. Once again we see evidence of how the paramilitaries, who continue to act in close coordination with the Army, try to use the civilian population as a SHIELD, which is a WAR CRIME. Only a week ago we denounced similar events and once again they are repeated.
The families of La Esperanza, Rodoxalí, El Porvenir and surrounding districts are at great risk. Several families are at risk of becoming forcibly displaced. Therefore we we make an urgent call for pressure on the central government demanding an end to paramilitary action, which is really camouflaged State action. The Peace Community will stand strong on its land and will not submit under any circumstances to the rule of these criminals who are supported by the State.
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
November 26, 2011