archivos de los protestos globales

Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002
Colombia: paramilitaries moving towards river in Pacific

More than 400 paramilitaries are currently moving towards the Pacific coast of
Colombia, a zone inhabited by many autonomous black communities, and also
indigenous and farmers communities.

Only a few weeks ago, before Christmas an announced massacre  could be avoided
partly due to international pressure made on the Colombia State. But let's not forget
that in April 2001 a paramilitary incursion in the Naya river lead to one of the a brutal
massacres of hundreds of people and the displacement of thousands.
Here's the last communiqué sent by the national co-ordination team of the PCN, Black
Communities Process.


Bogotá, February 12th 2002-02-13

Vice-presidency of the Republic
Office of the High Commission for Human Rights of the United Nations
Defensoria del Pueblo

Ref: Situation Naya-Yurumangui

We have been informed today of the movement by land of nearly 400 paramilitaries
who it seems come from the zone Calima-Darién. They crossed the sites known as
Los Tubos- San Cipriano-Aguaclara. These paramilitaries have been seen by the
inhabitants of the zone and say that they already reached the Hydroelectric station of
the Abchicaya river. In the same way, paramilitaries in the urban zone of Buenaventura
are being concentrated to be sent to the river Nayas and Yurumangui. The order given
is to enter in these rivers with “blood and fire” and get rid of the guerilla.

We have also been informed that the paramilitary points have been intensified in the
riverbanks of Zabaletas, Llano Bajo, San Marcos on the Anchicaya river.

The paramilitaries control in the case of Buenaventura all the accesses to the rural
zone. The route they are following is the one of Calima-Darién, crossing the carretera
Nueva route, entering in the rivers Anchicaya, Raposo, Cajambre, Yurumangui and

Hoping you will take the necessary measures to avoid this announced massacre and
displacement of black, indigenous and farmers communities that live in this area.


Black Communities Process (PCN)
national co-ordination team


this was the letter used in December


Several black communities in the pacific coast of Colombia are being
killed and displaced by paramilitaries in this very moment, in an
operation which will continue in the next days and weeks. This is
happening in the same region where between 100 and 300 people were
massacred last Easter, with the complicity and cooperation of the
Colombian army, which is happening again this time. The objective is to
make room for transnational investment in a region where black and
indigenous communities have preserved the highest density in biodiversity
of the world, strategic oil reserves and projected interoceanic transport
megaprojects for international trade.

Below you will find an edited version of the letter that the
Colombia-Canada Solidarity Campaign has sent to the Canadian minister of
foreign affaires, already adapted to be used as model for European groups.
There is also a letter to Pastrana (in Spanish only), sent in another
message. Obviously, non-European groups are also strongly encouraged to
write to your minister, you will have to get rid of the parts that are
specific to Europe.

We know that this sort of lobbying is not the usual form of action
discussed in these lists, but in this very urgent case it is a matter of
life or death; there are no guarantees that it will work, but it is better
than doing nothing. However, actions in (front of) Colombian embassies
and/or companies involved in business with Colombia are surely more

IMPORTANT: There are some words that STILL have to be inserted in the
letter for it to make sense, referred to in the letter [IN SQUARE BRACKETS
AND CAPITALS] - please look for them and replace them before sending the
letter. It would be very good if you would make other changes in the
letter, take it just as a suggestion.

If you send a letter to your minister and Colombian embassy, please send a
short message to the following addresses in order to let us know:,,,

The Process of Black Communities and the Colombia-Canada Solidarity
Campaign are discussing about forming an international brigade to spend
Christmas with the black communities, the preliminary call will be sent

On 17-18 May there will be a summit of heads of state from the EU and
Latin America in Madrid (not just because Spain has the presidency of the
EU in the first half of 2002, but also because Spanish TNCs are
re-colonising Latin America at an amazing speed), and there will be
mobilisations against it. Stay tuned.

If you are interested in the campaign against militarism and
paramilitarism of People's Global Action (which is still taking shape),
subscribe to the list by sending a message to
<> with the word subscribe in the BODY of the
text (not in the subject line).

Salud, Sergio



Minister of Foreign Affairs
Government of [YOUR COUNTRY]

Re: Call for action to halt the impending massacre in Pacific Coast region
of Colombia.

Dear Minister

We are writing, as citizens of [YOUR COUNTRY], to express our grave
concern about the intensifying violence that is being directed against
grassroots social movements and their communities in Colombia. This letter
is prompted by our sense of urgency concerning an impending massacre on
Colombia's Pacific coast. This letter is also our concern about our
governments' official position and consequent actions towards the
Colombian government in a context where systematic terror has become a
deliberate strategy used to silence legitimate civil social movements and
organizations and their communities in Colombia. In the words of Alfredo
Molano Bravo, Colombian sociologist and journalist living in exile, the
model is simple: "all symptoms of inconformity are liquidated through
terror and communities are submitted by the rule of obedience to the
victor."  We are aware of Europe's [AND/OR YOUR COUNTRY'S] significant and
expanding trade interests in Colombia and feel it is imperative that [THE
EUROPEAN UNION'S / YOUR COUNTRY'S] relationship with Colombia -expressed
both through official government policy and private investment- pay
careful attention to ethical and humanitarian demands, given that Colombia
is a society afflicted by the worst human rights crisis in its continent.
When crimes against humanity are being committed, extreme and exceptional
measures need to be taken to avoid negligence or complicity with the
perpetrators. "Business as usual" cannot be the assumption upon which
[EUROPEAN / YOUR COUNTRY'S] policy towards Colombia is based.

Many international delegations visited Colombia during the year 2001. All
of the civil Colombian movements meeting with diverse European and
International delegations had the same message to share: there is a
systematic dirty war - a campaign of extermination - directed against
civil social movements and their communities in Colombia.

Their perspective has been tragically ratified by the events that have
followed the international delegation's return to Europe and elsewhere:

· Sept.-Nov. 2001: At least 50 labour leaders have been assassinated since
September 2001 (totalling 143 killings in the course of 2001). · Nov. 8,
2001: Carlos Giovanni Blanco, second year medical student at Colombia's
National University, was shot dead by anti-riot police at a student
protest against the US and British war on Afghanistan. · Nov.10, 2001:
Paramilitaries demolish one of the Women's Centres of the Women's Popular
Organization (OFP in Spanish) in the northern oil city of Barrancabermeja.
· Nov. 19, 2001: Paramilitaries massacre 12 indigenous people and peasants
in the Southwestern region of Cauca, Colombia. · Nov. 24, 2001:
Paramilitaries inaugurate the National Indigenous Congress by
assassinating 4 indigenous leaders. There have been at least 16
assassinations of indigenous leaders from Northern Cauca since September
2001. · Sept.13, Oct.11, Nov. 21 and Nov, 26, 2001: High school girls
Cundinamarca and Silberia Espinosa Secondary Schools protesting the
privatization of their schools and the right to education have been
attacked, assaulted, tear gassed, water-cannoned and detained by police. ·
Nov. 29, 2001: Paramilitaries massacred 12 people in the village of
Montebello, Antioquia, centre-north of Colombia. · Dec. 5, 2001: Regional
president of the National Oil Worker's union (USO in Spanish), Aury Sará
Marrugo, kidnapped by paramilitaries on November 30, was found
assassinated near Maríalabaja, in Bolivar province, northern Colombia. ·
According to the most recent studies, eight families are forcibly
displaced every hour.

The purpose of this letter is to bring to your attention and request your
prompt intervention, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, to address the
Colombian government and demand its immediate action to prevent the
imminent massacre of communities and popular leaders on the Naya,
Cajambre, Yurumanguí and Raposo rivers in Colombia's Pacific coast.  The
paramilitary groups present in the region have announced that they will
'celebrate Christmas' murdering the unarmed Afro-Colombian, Indigenous and
peasant communities who live along those rivers, in order to take control
of their biodiversity-rich lands.

We remind you that the Naya River was the sight of the infamous Easter
Week Massacre of 2001 in which approximately 100 Indigenous, Afrocolombian
and peasant inhabitants were killed.  This massacre took place despite
previous warning by the inhabitants to the Colombian government months
before. There were warnings from the other side of the ocean too: the
threats to the black communities in the Pacific coast of Colombia was
discussed at the European Parliament on the 14th of December, resulting in
a letter to the President of Colombian signed by 22 Members of the
European Parliament (MEPs) and a written question by MEP Laura González
which, according to the European Commission, was forwarded to the
Colombian government.  However, nothing was done to prevent the massacre,
done 25 minutes away from troops of the Colombian Navy.

After carrying out this massacre, the paramilitaries belonging to the
United Self Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) announced their incursion
into the neighbouring Yurumanguí River, a threat denounced by the
Yurumanguí inhabitants to the local and national authorities.  Two weeks
later the AUC entered the fishing village of El Firme on the Yurumanguí
massacring 7 peasants and permanently displacing the entire community.
This happened one day before the Table of Donors, meeting in Bruxelles,
approved 300 million Euros in support of the Colombian Government.  An
action that makes our governments de facto responsible for the atrocities
committed.  The protest letters sent by several MEPs, including Joan Colom
Naval, vicepresident of the European Parliament and Joaquim Miranda,
president of the Development Commission have not let to any substantial
change in the policy of slow but systematic displacement and extermination
of indigenous, black and peasant communities of Colombia.

The civilian inhabitants of the municipalities of Timba, Suarez and Buenos
Aires on the Naya River have reported that there now are about 300
paramilitaries in the area. This raises fears of a paramilitary incursion
in these municipalities, especially in the areas of Alto and Bajo Naya and
on the shores of the Yurumanguí. Paramilitaries in this region have been
consistently alleged to have strong ties with the Colombian army,
specifically the III Brigade.  There are already preliminary reports of
killings in the Naya river, still to be confirmed.

We expect our government to acknowledge the existing evidence, to
challenge the Colombian government for its complicity and negligence and
to develop the necessary international leadership and measures to
effectively oppose the genocide being carried out to serve national and
international legal and illegal interests. In consequence we request that
the [YOUR COUNTRY'S] and other European Governments:

1. Develop and implement the necessary mechanisms to closely monitor the
comprehensive and systemic character of human rights abuses against
popular movements and their leaders in Colombia and put appropriate and
efficient pressure on the Colombian Government to protect popular
movements in general, and the people of the Naya, Cajambre, Yurumanguí and
Raposo rivers in particular, in the face of a very real and imminent
threat of massacre;

2. Take concrete action pressure the Colombian government to bring to
justice the terrorist perpetrators of the above mentioned crimes along
with those who fund and support them, in a way such that compliance
carries real consequences for all those responsible;

3. Openly and publicly scrutinize European investment in Colombia,
particularly in sectors and areas affected by armed actors. The validity
and efficiency of this process depends on the involvement of legitimate,
objective and well-informed parties in Europe and Colombia, credible
independent researchers, human rights organizations and affected
communities and organizations.

Finally, beyond your written response to this letter, we would like to
request the opportunity to meet with you and with your staff, at your
earliest convenience, in order to present the issues and requests posed in
this letter, listen to your perspective, exchange views and carry on with
the implementation of measures to stop the extermination of rural
communities in Colombia.


The Colombian Embassy in [YOUR COUNTRY]
The [YOUR COUNTRY'S] Embassy in Colombia

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