Communities demanding the return of their lands are left unprotected in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó

According to military sources, a FARC guerrilla attack against Brigade 17 troops brought about the decision to lift perimeter security patrols provided to the Humanitarian Zones in Curvaradó.

The alleged armed attack occurred in Jiguamiandó, without clear legal or factual certainty of the event. This pretext has been used as an excuse to cease perimeter patrol operations, which leaves the population vulnerable to paramilitary actions.

Last week, a plan was discovered that is designed to selectively murder leaders of the lower councils that are demanding the return of the collective territories that were violently cleared of their traditional owners by paramilitaries and oil palm businesses and cattle ranchers.
Today, we found out that the bad-faith land occupiers have celebrated General Giraldo’s decision to withdraw the troops. They state that the decision shows who is in charge of the region, and that the lands will not be turned over [to the communities who traditionally lived there]. “We give the orders here.”

Also, we heard about celebratory meetings between the business owners that have benefited from paramilitary activities and the paramilitaries themselves.

Today the members of the lower community councils have been left to the mercy of the paramilitaries and business owners that designed a plan for murderous attacks that look like accidents, to avoid having the Public Forces and their own structures accused by courts as the responsible parties.

The leaders seeking restitution of collective lands, and living in Humanitarian and Biodiversity Zones have stated that if President Santos does not directly take action on the matter, the paramilitary-state will continue deciding the destiny of Carmen del Darién and the Bajo Atrato. In these conditions, there are clear failures that undermine the signing of the FTA with the United States, they stated.

For more information: Constancia

Bogotá, D.C April 10, 2011

Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz