COLOMBIA: Security concerns facing lawyer for South Bolivar miners, and Garzal, Nueva Esperanza, and Las Pavas communities


23 April 2011
COLOMBIA: Security concerns facing lawyer for South Bolivar
miners, and Garzal, Nueva Esperanza, and Las Pavas communities

CPT Colombia is praying for Zoraida Hernandez, a member of
the Corporation Sembrar, a social organization in Bogota.  On 14 April 2011, two men entered her
home at a time when she was with her family.  Zoraida accompanies the Federation of South Bolivar
Agrominera as a lawyer to defend the territory against the entry of
multinational mining companies in the Serrania de San Lucas.  She is also spokesperson for several
national initiatives.

 The visit by a judge to the communities of Garzal and Nueva
Esperanza planned for 14 April has been postponed.  The 320 families from the communities are claiming the right
to remain on the land they have worked for over forty years.  After the judge did not show up for the
visual inspection—an inspection that would have served the interests of only individuals
linked to paramilitary groups and drug trafficking—a delegation of ministers,
members of church organizations, CPT, and the legal representative for the
communities, went to Simití to visit the judge to express their concerns for
Garzal and Nueva Esperanza.

The community of Las Pavas continues to occupy their land
that they returned to on 4 April 2011. 
They have begun planting crops, building shelters, and digging wells.  The community was featured in a half
hour spot on a news station on Sunday [see link in Spanish here.]

  Despite growing
national and international attention, those from the Las Pavas community who
have returned to their lands still face great risk.  A few men, claiming to be from the Prosecutor General’s office,
showed up and took pictures, but refused to give their identification.  They claimed they were gathering information
to bring charges against the community. 
A small aircraft flew low over the land a few days after the return.  CPT’s delegation of Colombian nationals
is currently accompanying the community.


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