22 September 2011
COLOMBIA URGENT ACTION: Call on Colombian government to stop
paramilitary tour of terror in Southern Bolivar
“Complaints have been persistent, warning about the
increased presence of paramilitaries in the majority of municipalities in the
south of Bolivar. More than forty
murders, massacres, and forced displacements in the municipalities and outlying
areas of Tiquisio and Montecristo, hamlets of Malena, centre Quebrada, Tagual,
Pinch, Tenche and other nearby cities have been brought to the attention of the
national and departmental (state) governments. Local communities have mobilized to demand the protection of
the national government. The
government has done nothing to prevent these things.”
FEDERACIÓN AGROMINERA DEL SUR DE BOLÍVAR
Graffiti appears in
The undersigned organizations wish to denounce before the
national and international community the serious events that continue to occur
against communities in Southern Bolívar.
The Colombian government has yet to take strong action to end this
On September 15, 2011, inhabitants of the township of Mina
Caribe, Morales woke up to discover graffiti on their school saying, “Out
you informants, we do not want here!”
The graffiti was signed with the letters AUC [The acronym for the
supposedly demobilized United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia]. The local people also testified they saw
military boot prints around the school.
Likewise, reports received from the communities show that
since 15 September 2011, on the road leading from the townships of Mina Caribe
to San Luquitas, a group of armed men have been observed who have no
identification to indicate to which organization they belong. Private and public transportation has
been suspended due to fear of the armed men in the territory.
We have been warned of the risk to the lives of several
agricultural and [artisanal] mining leaders of southern Bolivar, especially the
treasurer of the Agro-mining Federation, Mr. Miguel Anaya Hoyos. There are rumours being intentionally
spread in the local population indicating that Miguel Anaya is to be killed.
In the mining area there is a strong military presence,
consisting of several military units, such as the Batallón de Selva No. 48
which has a base located a fifteen minute walk from the village of San Pedro
Frio, and which permanently patrols the whole area, including the townships of
San Luquitas and Mina Caribe. They
are also known to patrol with demobilized [paramilitaries] and masked armed
RECENT CONTEXTUAL BACKGROUND
On 17 August 2011, dozens of heavily armed men in uniform
who identified themselves as the Black Eagle paramilitary group, entered Casa
de Zinc, a rural area of Monte Cristo, where they detained, tortured and killed
three people and left a fourth person wounded. The Mechanized Infantry Battalion No. 4 General Antonio
Nariño, assigned to the Second Brigade of the Army, based in Malambo, Atlantic
Department, was nearby the site when these events took place.
During the massacre, the paramilitaries threatened to retake
control of south Bolivar and commit crimes in other towns and hamlets.
The situation is alarming, because so far in 2011, more than
forty murders have been committed; threats against and harassment of community
organizations and their leaders have also increased. Paramilitary presence is increasing in important sectors
where these armed men openly exercise military, economic, and social control.
The activities of insurgents [guerrillas] in the region are
further aggravating the situation of the communities. On 28 August 2011, there was a loud
explosion in the township of San Pedro Frio, part of Santa Rosa del Sur
township, along the path that leads to the village from Mina Chelín. Although there were no victims, a house
was slightly damaged. The FARC
claimed responsibility, announcing that this explosion was the first in a
series of terrible events to come.
Bulldozers continue their devastating pace, causing serious
and irreversible environmental, economic and social damage that is slowly
destroying the territory. [This
description refers to illegal mining done with heavy machinery.]
Faced with this serious situation, between 1 and 9 of
September, residents of the Southern Bolivar Department held protest actions in
the town of Arenal to demand that the national government immediately convene
the Southern Bolivar Roundtable for Dialogue. Representatives of the national government, who promised to
come, were expected, but once again, they failed to arrive. The people gathered to meet with them
were the victims of harassment by police, army, and paramilitaries.
For the reasons outlined above we demand that the national
- Immediately convene the Southern Bolivar
Roundtable for Dialogue.
- Stop and prevent paramilitary advances in the
Southern Bolivar region
- Protect the lives and physical integrity of the
people of Southern Bolivar.
- Immediately comply with the Precautionary
Measures granted by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission on behalf of the
leaders and members of the Southern Bolivar Agricultural-Mining Federation.
- Investigate any and all public officials and members
of the Armed Forces who, because of their actions and inaction, have allowed
paramilitary groups to enter the region and continue to commit crimes against
the local population.
FEDERACIÓN AGROMINERA DEL SUR DE BOLÍVAR – FEDEAGROMISBOL
COMISIÓN DE INTERLOCUCIÓN DEL SUR DE BOLÍVAR
COORDINADOR NACIONAL AGRARIO – CNA
RED DE HERMANDAD Y SOLIDARIDAD – COLOMBIA
CAMPAÑA NACIONAL E INTERNACIONAL CONTRA EL DESPOJO
Copy and paste the Spanish text of the message below into an
In the “To:” field, include the following email addresses:
- President Juan Manuel Santos:
- Vice president, Angelino Garzón: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fiscalía General, Viviane Morales:
- Procurador General, Alejandro Ordoñez:
- Ministerio of the Interior, German Vargas: email@example.com
In the “Cc:” field, include your embassy if you
are a Canadian or U.S. citizen
U.S. Ambassador to Colombia: AmbassadorB@state.gov
Canadian Ambassador to Colombia:
WHAT THE BELOW MESSAGE
IN SPANISH SAYS:
Subject: Protection needed for the people of Southern
To Whom It May
My name is ____(name)____ and I am from __(country)__. I am writing because I am deeply
concerned about the safety and well being of the people of Southern Bolivar. There have been over forty
assassinations in 2011 in the region, as well as increased paramilitary
I ask the Colombian government to convene immediately the
Southern Bolivar Roundtable for Dialogue and respond to the concerns of the
communities. Also, I request the
immediate compliance with the Precautionary Measures granted by the
Inter-American Human Rights Commission. I urge all authorities to respect the autonomy, dignity, and
human rights of the Colombian people and to investigate the recent violence in
the region and paramilitary advances.
MESSAGE IN SPANISH (FOR E-MAILING)
Asunto: Violencia en Sur de Bolívar
Yo soy ___(tu nombre)___ de ___(tu país)__. Estoy
escribiendo porque estoy muy preocupado/a por la seguridad y bienestar de la
gente de Sur de Bolívar. Más de 40 asesinatos en la región en el año 2011.
También, ha aumentado la presencia de paramilitares.
Pido al gobierno colombiano convocar de manera inmediata la
Mesa de Interlocución del sur de Bolívar y responder a las preocupaciones de
las comunidades. También ruego todas autoridades respetar la autonomía,
dignidad, y los derechos humanos de la población colombiana e investigar
inmediatamente la violencia reciente en la región.