Argenito Diaz

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Today, a year after his assassination, Argenito Díaz is in the collective memory, as part of the epic struggle for the people’s dignity. Today, Argenito Díaz is the name of a Humanitarian Zone in which the remaining members of the community council of Llano Rico resist the new para-business attacks.

A year ago, on the 13th of January in 2010, on the highway that goes from Pavarandó to Llano Rico, less than five minutes from the police station, Argenito Díaz was forced off the public service vehicle in which he and eight other people were traveling. Once he was on the ground, a man pulled out his handgun and shot Argenito. The armed man then ordered the driver of the vehicle to continue on his route.

Argenito, the father of nine children and an activist for land rights was assassinated as part of a silencing strategy in the face of the massive usurpation of collective territories in the Curvaradó river basin, carried out by the businessmen William López, Ramiro Quintero with extensive cattle ranching, and the Zúñiga Caballero family with the Palmura company, proprietor of Extractora Bajirá, Inc.

The criminal proceedings for Argenito’s murder was opened in Quibdó under the file #051726000328201080010, Prosecutors Office #1 for Humanitarian Affairs, Quibdó. In December, this process was transferred to the city of Medellín to the Prosecutors Office #35 Human Rights Unit. The process is in the preliminary investigative stage, until now without suspects for who perpetrated the crime, despite the evidence that can still be collected in Curvaradó.

Today, Argenito’s brother Guillermo, who assumed and now encourages the resistance spirit of his brother, is the target of persecution from the same criminal structure that assassinated Argenito. The judicial inaction is an integral factor that has enabled the establishment of the para-business state of affairs in the Curvaradó territory. In this midst of this paramilitary state, and confronting it, Argenito’s memory is the utopia that continues.

Bogotá D.C. January 17, 2011

Interchurch Commission of Justice and Peace