If there were arrests, this is not sufficient.

The Colombian government reported making arrests on coca plantations in Santa Rosa del Limón, part of the community council of Vigía de Curbaradó. These arrests may be progress but do not resolve the basic problem of the planting and processing of cocaine. The community is unprotected, and the coca planting and other labs persist in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó…

Ten days after national and international organizations confirmed the existence of coca leaf plots and labs between Bella Flor Remacho, Jiguamiandó and Santa Rosa del Limón, Vigía de Curbaradó, a military operation took place.

Today, Friday, February 24, the Presidential Human Rights Program announced the arrest of 6 persons and the dismantling of the lab that they found there.

Members of the Jiguamiandó and Santa Rosa de El Limón community councils, who live in the Santa Rosa de El Limón Biodiversity Zone, and who have openly opposed the coca leaf plantations and labs, find themselves unprotected by the government, and there is fear that the paramilitaries will retaliate against them. Since April of last year, paramilitaries who identify themselves as “Rastrojos,” who control and protect the coca plots and labs, have traveled near the biodiversity zone.

The paramilitaries are able to operate in this region because of the negligence of the 17th Brigade of the army that has a checkpoint less than 10 kilometers from the place. Supplies and coca processed into cocaine pass through the four military and police checkpoints.
Two days after the landing of a military helicopter, military forces have taken no action against the three, if not more, labs that are in the zone. Nor have they taken action against the plantations located near the Apartadocito Lower Council and the Buena Vista Lower Council, where the paramilitaries under the command of alias “El Mono” are staying.

Without clearing out the illicit crops, confronting the paramilitary structures, and purging the 17th Brigade and Urabá Police of their paramilitary connections, there will be no guarantees for the restitution of the collective territories.

Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz
Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission