Arrest warrants for members of Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones

Wednesday October 27, 2010

Para-business judicial frame-up to arrest 15 or 20 people from the Lower Councils of the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones in Jiguamiandó and Curvaradó and human rights defenders.

Bogotá, DC October 27, 2010

Juan Manuel Santos

Angelino Garzon
Vice President

German Vargas Lleras
Minister of Interior

Angela Maria Holguin
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Juan Camilo Restrepo
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

Fernando Pareja Reinemer
Vice Prosecutor General

Alejandro Ordoñez
Inspector General

Volmar Pérez
National Ombudsman

“A lie would have no sense unless the truth were felt as dangerous.”

Alfred Adler

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

George Orwell

Ref: Para-business judicial frame-up to arrest 15 or 20 people from the Lower Councils of the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones in Jiguamiandó and Curvaradó and human rights defenders.

Our Historical Documentation and Ethical Censure of the judicial frame-up that has been discovered today and implemented by the bad faith occupiers, palm oil and cattle ranchers, with the assistance of institutional sectors and the absence of sound judgment in the Prosecutor’s Office of Medellin. Prosecution is being brought against members of the Lower Councils in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó that live in Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones, other Bajo Atrato basin community leaders and human rights defenders.

Today October 27 in the early morning a highly credible source told our Commission for Justice and Peace about the issuance of between 15 and 20 arrest warrants for members of the Lower Councils of Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó that live in Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones, as responsible for the murders of Manuel Moya Lara, Graciano Blandon and his son, crimes committed by the FARC in December.

According to the source, the arrest warrants were ordered prior to October 22 by a prosecutor in Medellin against Maria Ligia Chaverra, Eustaquio Polo, Guillermo Diaz, brother of murdered community leader Argenito Diaz, in the collective territory of Curvaradó, and against the elected representatives of the Jiguamiandó Upper Council, including Manuel Denis Blandon, Romualdo Salcedo, Melkin Romaña, Medardo Acosta, Edelson Sierra, Heladio Blandon, Martha Ramirez Fidel Cuesta and others.

The source also says that this process plans to involve the black community advocate and priest Armando Valencia, other leaders of the Bajo Atrato basin including members of La Larga community council, and members of our Commission for Justice and Peace.

In September, after a death threat against Danilo Rueda made by two men on motorcycles in the city of Bogota, we also found out about a surveillance plan against lawyers Liliana Avila and William Rueda, and a legal frame-up against Father Alberto Franco, Abilio Pena and Danilo Rueda and member of the Commission for Justice and Peace and the director of the Data Bank Father Javier Giraldo, S.J.
For this judicial set-up, people have been paid to provide false testimony. Some, such as the case of Masuel Romaña, have been captured for refusing to participate in this set-up. Other witnesses have been taken to repeat baseless accusations against members of the Lower Councils and human rights defenders. This has been the methodology in the so-called collection of evidence used to issue the arrest warrants.

According to this early-morning source, the arrest operation would be accompanied by an unprecedented military and police operation, with the participation of the DAS and CTI in the region.

Later, at 9:30 am today, our Commission for Justice and Peace was informed via email that there would be an unusual army operation in the region as part of a strategy to discredit and the judicial frame-up.
The operation would involve entering the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones, and leaving guerrilla publications and even war materials (weapons) in the Zones to portray the communities as participants in guerrilla operations. A similar operation was being evaluated to be carried out in Bogota.

Afterward an information campaign would be carried out in the mass media so that the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones and their members would be maligned as accomplices, and some of them as members, of the guerrillas, together with national and international human rights NGOs.

The intention is to de-legitimize, isolate and criminalize the defense of territory. This calls into question the Provisional Measures and Precautionary Measures of the Inter-American System, and the actions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and hundreds of organizations worldwide, including the Congressional Black Caucus of the United States. And it would also serve to remove obstacles to the FTA and proposed mining operations.

In the series of frame-ups, the bad faith occupants in the company “The Tukeka,” an Argote family property, were seen handing groceries to re-populaters in La Larga collective territory. According to the information, they placed signs with the title “Land Reclamation Zone” and when questioned they lied, saying that the Commission for Justice and Peace was supporting and accompanying them, providing legal support and food.

Again our Historic Documentation reiterates that since October 2008 we have shared for your knowledge, the development of a strategy of defamation, of false accusations and judicial frame-ups. Several people and entities are again found to be involved in this operation, including General Del Rio, former Interior Minister Fernando Londoño Hoyos, Maria Fernanda apparently Cabal, Adan Quinto, Jaime Beitar, German Marmolejo, Fernando Vargas, with the support of UnoAmerica, Avanti Raggazzi, La Diaspora del Atrato and the dissemination of false news in Cable Noticias, Apartado Estereo de Caracol, and columns published in the newspaper El Tiempo and El Colombiano, by columnists like Jose Obdulio Gaviria and Jaime Panesso.

A similar situation occurred in 2003, which included the participation of General Jorge Enrique Mora Rangel, protector of General (R) Rito Alejo del Rio, with the participation of the company “Maderas del Darien – Pizano SA”, a beneficiary of paramilitary activity, and attorney Johana Cabezas, who supplied false information to the DAS’s G3 for their offensive and illegal operations.

The social and media campaign to discredit and this strategy of legal frame-ups intend to ensure the impunity of the military and business people who have benefited from or have participated in the paramilitary groups, as former commanders of the paramilitaries have confessed. Their strategy criminalizes the victims, pursuing and terrorizing them, to ensure their freedom and protect businesses on lands they violently usurped and stole.

Thus, there is the goal of enabling the development and implementation of palm and banana agribusiness, extensive cattle ranching, mining operations and infrastructure projects such as highways and electric grid integration. This goal is pursued by silencing and criminalizing with false accusations the leaders of the black, indigenous and mestizo communities that demand the restitution of collective lands and demand the respect and support for their quality of life initiatives.

Our Historical Documentation and Ethical Censure of the absence of effective measures to provide security and protection to community leaders and human rights defenders in the Bajo Atrato basin and our organization that have legally demanded, using all legal and constitutional actions, the restitution of lands that were violently stolen by paramilitary groups and business people.

Our Ethical Censure then, given the efforts to rebuild the Rule of Law in the region of the Bajo Atrato, of today’s information on this judicial set-up, by applying pressure, by paying off witnesses and the use of the prosecutor’ office in Medellin, the criminal operations are imposed in perverse ways. Now not only is force being used, but also the manipulation of the law to support their impunity and their projected businesses in the Bajo Atrato. Ambition and the accumulation of capital prevail over human life, as Afro-Colombians, indigenous and mestizos are seen as waste if they are not operating in accordance to the economic interests that are being imposed in the region. To this end, all means are justified because there is no type of minimum ethical standards or laws that are recognized and respected.

We censure the new approach to human rights violations that limits, constrains and precludes the freedom to legally act, thus preventing the return and restitution of community land. Defamation and smear campaigns are combined, court cases begin with false accusations and paid false witnesses, so that after imprisoning community leaders and national human rights defenders, the land will be given away to continue illegal palm oil businesses, extensive livestock ranches, and banana crops, and with these businesses, money laundering.

Today it is evident that the criminal power remains undiminished despite the many efforts and the recognition of paramilitary commanders, some extradited, of how this criminal strategy is implemented in the Bajo Atrato. The strategy combined weapons, death threats, corruption and the defamation strategy with paid false witnesses used to initiate unfair judicial proceedings.

From December 2009 to date (October 2010) there have been three crimes committed against community leaders, the number of threats against the inhabitants of the Humanitarian Zones and the Commission for Justice and Peace have multiplied, the food crops of the communities continue to be destroyed by business sectors that violently and illegally occupied the land in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó to continue agribusiness palm plantations, cattle ranching and banana crops.

Since September 2008, the entrepreneurs themselves have sponsored a false representation using an Afro-Colombian who is not recognized as their elected leader by the majority of the communities. Through this fraudulent representative, they tried to hand over the lands, but not to the legal and legitimate owners, rather to the criminal beneficiary companies.

Our Ethical Censure of the murky legal operation, which could have been avoided if the legal proceedings against the palm, livestock, and banana company owners had been effectively advanced in good judgment and due process, because many of them are the very people who are supporting and financing the judicial set-up.

Unfortunately, what is called justice unfairly falls hardest on the weakest, whose only opportunities are words, words of truth, because they are the people who don’t have the ability to pay or buy, because they act with conscience. This is a conscience that the eroded Rule of Law does not support, does not want, and excludes, because the value of truth is the power of money and corruption.

For this reason, the investigations that protect the victims and seek to restore their rights are going nowhere. For example, the DAS’s illegal operations against the communities and our Commission for Justice and Peace fall within this macabre and illegal record. Those illegal operations were used to mount the campaigns, overseas surveillance and judicial set-ups. Nothing, including those operations, has been effectively investigated. In October 2008, Rito Alejo del Rio and Fernando Londoño’s strategy was made known and in terms of criminal investigations nothing happened. People have been paid and have been pressured to give false testimony and nothing has happened, such as the case of Masuel Romaña.

The stage of government linkages has allowed the paramilitary, para-business and mafia structures to be rearranged and implement this perverse strategy, using court cases in the Prosecutor General’s Office in Medellin.

Given the evil, the perversity, we still continue to demand, in accordance with Article 23 of the National Constitution and in accordance with their institutional responsibilities:

1. The immediate adoption of concrete measures to protect the legal and legitimate spaces of human rights defenders and the leaders and members of Lower Councils that live in Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones which have demanded truth, justice, reparation, and land restitution in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó and who continue to be persecuted.

2. Full respect of the right to due process, presumption of innocence, right to defense and judicial independence for the leaders and members of the Lower Councils that live in the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones in the Jiguamiandó and Curvaradó river basins and for the human rights defenders that accompany them.

3. Action by the Prosecutor General’s Office to request of the Prosecutor that is conducting the investigation on the supporting evidence and existing law for arrest warrants against each of the accused community leaders and human rights defenders of our Commission for Justice and Peace, to make public each and every piece of evidence used in the process, the research being undertaken and the mechanisms used for the collection of evidence.

4. That the Prosecutor General’s Office immediately order that the investigation be carried out by the Human Rights Unit of Bogota and that effective measures be adopted to protect those who have been pressured to give false statements against the prosecuted leaders and human rights defenders.

5. The Prosecutor General’s Office give updates on the concrete progress that has been made in the investigation of the uncovered plan to discredit and prosecute which was orchestrated by General Rito Alejo del Rio Rojas and former Minister Londoño Hoyos, and what were their motives and objectives and what relationship did they have with the actions of German Marmolejo, Adan Quinto, Jaime Veitar, Maria Fernanda (unknown last name), Maria Fernanda Cabal, Jose Obdulio Gaviria and the members of UnoAmerica, Avanti Raggazzi, La Diaspora del Atrato and Accion Nacionalista.

6. That the Administrative Department of Security (DAS) and other governmental intelligence agencies give to the communities and to the Commission for Justice and Peace all the information that was illegally collected about them, and that they empty out their intelligence archives that they used to mount defamation campaigns and frame-ups.

7. That the Ministry of Interior and Justice provide detailed information to the Constitutional Court on each and every action that it has been taking to fulfill the Court Order of May 18, 2010. This should include what steps it has taken to guarantee the participation of all the members of the Lower Councils, including those who live in Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones, and the steps it has taken to carry out the census of the inhabitants in a transparent and impartial manner.

With profound indignation,

Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace