Recent Threats in the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó

Jan 10, 2024 | News

Stubborn Persistence of the Supposedly Overcome Regime

By the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
En Español

Once again we raise our voice to all corners of the world to bring to the attention of humanity and of history the facts that permanently threaten the population of our area and of our Peace Community.

Another year begins, and while we hoped to find new ways of life and peace in our territories, what we are in fact facing is the opposite. The message that has been spread in the population is that of a “regime supposedly overcome”, but it is this same regime that in a few days so far this year 2024 continues to control, implementing rules, infiltrating the communities, gathering by force the civilian population, threatening and killing; yet the government continues to be blind and deaf.

The facts of which we place on record are as follows.
● On Saturday, December 2, 2023, during daylight hours, a group of camouflaged paramilitaries was seen traveling along the river in the Mulatos village.
● On Sunday, December 3, 2023, our Peace Community was informed that in the villages of El Mariano, Buenos Aires and La Linda, among others, the army would be patrolling at night and we could not know what they were looking for in these villages, because it was certainly not the paramilitary groups since they are still in control and calm, without anyone bothering them.
● On Tuesday, December 5, 2023, according to residents of the area, the paramilitaries are building houses for territorial control in the villages of San José de Apartadó. One of them that all travelers have been able to perceive is being built in the point known as CHONTALITO.
● On Friday, December 8, 2023, in the afternoon hours, a group of paramilitaries in camouflage uniforms was seen at the point known as “La Cañada de Pulgarín” in the Mulatos village.
● On Tuesday, December 12, 2023, during daylight hours, our Peace Community was informed by people who are forced to live with paramilitaries in the area about a new decision that they have heard. This decision is to eliminate two members of the Internal Council of our Community, one of them our Legal Representative and the other the coordinator of our settlement in the village of La Resbalosa. It must be taken into account that a large part of the territory of La Resbalosa belongs to the municipality of Tierralta, Córdoba, a place where very recently a close coordination between the army and the paramilitaries was discovered during violent attacks against peasant communities. These events have been publicly known nationally and internationally and whose strategy of joint action has continued to be denounced by rural communities in the department of Córdoba. Our Community also cannot forget the attack at the end of December 2017, when 5 paramilitaries arrived on motorcycles and armed with the decision to eliminate our legal representative GERMAN GRACIANO and JOSE ROVIRO LOPEZ among other members of the Internal Council, the latter two currently with high death threats. However, two of these paramilitaries were retained by members of our community and handed over to a high government delegate, while the others fled, returning to the hamlet of San Jose where they lived and continue to live amicably with the security forces. We must remember that in that episode, the collaboration of the public force and the entire judicial apparatus with the paramilitaries was absolutely evident and that even now the so-called “justice” has not investigated the case, releasing those retained by the Community a few hours later, with full freedom of action.
● On Tuesday, December 12, 2023, we learned of the death of young Eimer Emilio Gómez David, who had disappeared a few days earlier and was later found dead with signs of cruel torture. Gómez David, a native of San José, had been a member of our Peace Community as well as his family, who some time ago had already withdrawn from our process. Our Peace Community radically condemns the fact that such brutal and inhumane practices, typical of peoples without the most elementary human sensibility, are still in force in our territory. We extend our deepest condolences to their families.
● From December 18 to 21, 2023, our Peace Community carried out a humanitarian tour through several villages of San José de Apartadó, among them Mulatos and Resbalosa, publicly rejecting the death threats against the inhabitants of the region and against members of our internal council. During the tour we were able to verify the strong presence and territorial control of the paramilitaries in the area, as well as the different constructions of paramilitary houses, such as; the site better known as CHONTALITO, where the paramilitaries have control center with permanent presence of paramilitaries since 2018, likewise the control centers in the former property of Emilio Chanci, Billete Verde and the mansion in the Mulatos village, control center next to the Resbalosa
School. It is quite unbelievable that they have reached such a point of brazenness of the tenacious persistence of the supposedly overcome regime, the paramilitaries have stifled the possibility of surviving as a civilian population autonomously.
● On Friday, December 22, 2023, during the daytime, information reached our Community in which the paramilitaries were threatening several women in the village of La Union, allegedly because they had friendships with members of the demining Brigade 6, which was in the village.
● On Thursday, January 04, 2024, our Peace Community was urgently requested by OVIDIO TORRES AREIZA and his family, seeking protection from imminent death threats from the paramilitaries. Our Community could not forget that, when in June 2006 Ovidio was on probation to enter our Community, he made an agreement with the army and the paramilitaries to steal the Community’s computer, as he did on June 30, 2006, coordinating with the paramilitaries OVIDIO CARDONA BORJA and ELKIN TUBERQUIA, to deliver the device to the army, an institution that according to these same witnesses “was disappointed” because they did not find anything of interest for their purposes, which consisted of discovering some type of relationship with the guerrilla. Although Ovidio acknowledges having been a paramilitary militant for several years, he claims to have withdrawn, refusing to return in the face of repeated pressures, which, according to him, may be the cause of the current death sentence. According to his version, the decision to kill him has been firm and they have even persecuted his
eldest son, holding him and torturing him so that he will tell them the whereabouts of his father, putting at high risk also the lives of his younger children. Our Community, following one of its basic principles, which is the defense of the life of any human being, even if it is contrary to our thinking, agreed to protect him until he reached a safe area and to ask humanitarian entities for the necessary resources to get him out of the high-risk area, as it was done.
● On Saturday, January 6, 2024, in the morning hours, recognized paramilitaries such as; alias Javier Resorte (Nelson Montoya), alias el viejo (Adolfo Guzmán) alias el negro or William, among others, gathered the inhabitants and visitors of the village of la Unión of the Corregimiento de San José de Apartadó, in the town center of said village. There, they forced all the attendees to hand over their cell phones while the meeting was taking place. The order of the paramilitaries is that no one can be outside the communal action boards, which reveals that the communal board has been consolidating as a control mechanism of paramilitarism, in addition to imposing the way in which the civilian population must behave, otherwise each one assumes the consequences. In this meeting, taking on powers that belong to the judiciary, they tried to settle land conflicts by giving confusing and contradictory instructions. This meeting took place despite the fact that there was a military presence in the area, confirming the now routine practice of camouflaging relations between the military and paramilitaries.
● On Monday, January 8, 2024, a group of heavily armed military personnel arrived very early in the town of La Unión in the village of San José de Apartadó, supposedly searching the civilian population for information about the paramilitaries. The military and the police know where these paramilitaries are because they live with them. Thus, involving the civilian population in a violent conflict in which they have no part. Our Peace Community openly condemns any action that attempts against the life or integrity of any human being, and it will be the responsibility of the National Government for what may happen to members of our Community and inhabitants of the area. Paramilitarism remains free and tolerated.

As a Peace Community we reaffirm our ethical and moral principles to continue building spaces of life in the midst of death.

We thank all the people who continue to support us with their moral strength from different corners of the world.

Peace Community of San José de Apartadó