In the midst of military presence, visible paramilitary presence

Our Historical Documentation and Ethics Censure of the continuation of paramilitary operations within the Curvaradó collective territory, in the midst of the partial return of the 17th brigade regular soldiers’ operations.

President of the Republic of Colombia


Vice President


Minister of the Interior


Minister of Foreign Relations


Minister of Agriculture


Attorney General of the Nation


Inspector General of the Nation


National Ombudsman

Re: In the midst of the open return of the 17th brigade, paramilitary presence continues

How she has turned adulteress the faithful city, so upright! Justice used to lodge within her, but now, murderers… Your princes are rebels and comrades of thieves; each one of them loves a bribe and looks for gifts. The fearless they defend not, and the widow’s plea does not reach them.” Isaiah 1, 21, 23

Historical Documentation and Ethics Censure of the continuation of paramilitary operations within the Curvaradó collective territory, in the midst of the partial return of the 17th brigade regular soldiers’ operations. The soldiers had been absent for 10 days from their control points on the perimeters of the Humanitarian Zones: Caracolí, Caño Manso, Argenito Díaz, Andalucía Caño Claro, Camelias-El Tesoro, during a time in which there are threats of selective assassinations by paramilitaries and two failed attempts to murder members of lower community councils.

The paramilitary operations are being maintained within the Curvaradó collective territory, occupying lower council properties between Camelias and Andalucía Caño Claro. The paramilitaries circulate in the area with rifles and approach lower council members, announcing to them that they will continue their presence in the collective territory.

Some of the paramilitaries go back and forth to Belén de Bajirá on motorcycles; others enter and exit the territory through the military checkpoints on the Curvaradó River without any restrictions, including freely bringing in supplies. In Caracolí, Caño Manso and Llano Rico, where the Humanitarian Zones with these same names are found, along with the Argenito Díaz Humanitarian Zone, the soldiers of the 17th brigade converse with the armed members of the bad-faith occupiers who are cattle-ranching and banana businessmen. Pedro Tordecillas has been recognized as one of the armed men.

We present our Historical Documentation of the foundational facts that give evidence of the State’s responsibility for the absence of effective, preventative protection measures.

* Sunday, April 17 at 7:00pm our Justice and Peace Commission was informed of the presence of regular soldiers from the 17th brigade in the Caño Manso and Caracolí Humanitarian Zones of Curvaradó.
The military presence was reactivated after the insistent pressure of national and international humanitarian organizations, such as human rights entities, who knew about the development of paramilitary operations in Curvaradó and know about the paramilitary plan of selective assassinations of leaders of the land restitution struggle to regain collective territories inhabited in the Humanitarian and Biodiversity Zones.

This renewed military presence is perceived as having changed in its mode of operations, having fewer soldiers and more sporadic visibility or presence compared to their previous operations.

The paramilitary operations continue within the collective territory, like those operations of the armed groups that serve as protection of the bad-faith businessmen occupiers who commit abuses against the local population.

*Monday, April 18 at 5:00pm a member of the military communicated by phone with Enrique Petro, a member of the Andalucía Caño Claro lower council and inhabitant of the Humanitarian Zone. Petro is protected by provisional measures under the Inter-American Court. The military personnel informed Petro that he should go to the Caño Claro Bridge to speak with the commanding Sergeant.

*Monday, April 18 at 4:30pm our Justice and Peace Commission found out about a communication from the International Trader, Banacol, issued on February 4, 2011 in which they affirmed that they were “invited” by the national government and “the upper council of the Afro-Colombian communities from the Curvaradó river basin, in order to support the development of a productive project.” The project, affirms the International Trader, seeks to assist, technically support, and boost the marketing of plantains in the international market. The communication declares that they were “advised to plant three hundred hectares of crops” and that “they continue to support the process initiated by the Upper Council” -[[Banacol, Cultivating Wellbeing, February 4, 2011,

Haz clic para acceder a respuesta-banacol-sobre-alegaciones-en-curvarado-4-feb-2011.pdf

Obtained April 19, 2011 at 6:41pm.]]

In their communication, Banacol, joins the smear campaign against the national and international organizations that accompany the community councils of Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó [2] ,[[22- Ver Obtained April 19, 2011 at 5:27pm.]] calling the statements related to the invasion of Curvaradó “malicious and false rumors that were made public by national and international leftist media; and with these statements different organizations seek to impede the progress of the communities in order to continue their channeling of funds abroad.

The communication then talks about the existence of an Upper Council that allegedly has rejected the public statements about the invasion, as it states: “we stress that in the face of these denunciations, that were made public in the months of November and December of 2010, the communities of Curvaradó and the Upper Council have spoken out rejecting them”, a clear reference to the statements of Germán Marmolejo.

*Tuesday, April 19 at 10:30am our Justice and Peace Commission was informed that twenty paramilitaries were moving between the collective territories of the lower community council “No Hay Como Dios” and the Camelias Humanitarian Zone, after supplying themselves with food.

Two days before, one of the paramilitaries had gone by motorcycle from a paramilitary occupied site to Belén de Bajirá. The paramilitary took off his uniform and weapons, mounted the motorcycle, went to Belén de Bajirá and withdrew money. Hours later he returned and rejoined the other paramilitaries.

Four paramilitaries approached lower community council members in the vicinity of Bocas del Caño Claro. The paramilitaries indicated that they were on exploration assignments, reconnoitering the field because “reinforcements would arrive, about sixty men, within the next few hours.” The armed actors carried AK 47s and M16s, and wore non-pixilated military uniforms.

The paramilitaries said that they would be in the territory. “We came to stay; this land is meant for progress.” They announced that they would not only be in Brisas de Curvaradó or Belén de Bajirá. “We will be here in the territory , and the 17th brigade knows this. The land is meant for development, not to walk on like beggars of the NGO’s.

*Tuesday, April 19 at 12:05pm Enrique Petro, member of the lower council and inhabitant of the Andalucía Caño Claro Humanitarian Zone, went to the Caño Claro Bridge to fulfill the agreed-to meeting with the 17th brigade sergeant. The military personnel said that they were in the area for the inhabitants’ protection, but that they could not stay in front of his property because they do not have enough soldiers to do so. The regular soldier said that because of this their circulation of the area would be sporadic and, in case of emergency, he should call by telephone to ask for their help.

Enrique Petro said that previously they were able to be on the perimeter of their community with more permanency, but that since they left the area to allow the passage of paramilitaries, they now are unable to return to full vigilance . Petro said: “I don’t know if you were all together with them [the paramilitaries] on April 10th. I was going to Bajirá and saw that there was military presence in the settlement constructed by the invaders. In the tower (1,500 meters away) there were paramilitaries. I don’t know if you all were together, but I know you left so that the paramilitaries could enter. I only saw you all [the military] again yesterday afternoon, and all day today I haven’t seen you. If as you said, when there is an emergency, I call you when someone is going to kill me, you will not even find my footprint when you come to help me.

The military soldier insisted that they could not do anything more because they were so few. Petro sustained his argument that if this were the case, then he would inform the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The military soldier then restated his position and said that he would send soldiers more often to check on how he is doing. Finally, the soldier asked: “Are you saying that we are working together with the paramilitaries?” And Petro responded: “Well, if you left the area in order for them to enter, what else could we think…?” The soldier did not respond.

Our Ethics Censure of the development of military and psychological strategies used against the members of the lower councils that inhabit the Humanitarian and Biodiversity Zones in the midst of the paramilitary operations. The fear and terror generate a climate of helplessness which then has the effect of disarticulating the rightful demands of collective land restitution of the properties usurped by palm, banana and cattle-ranching businessmen. The presence of paramilitaries within the collective territory is a clear expression of the failure of the preventative measures and is an expression of the paramilitaries’ power.

Our Ethics Censure of the selective assassinations plan, designed by paramilitaries, the businessmen’s armed protection groups. The public security forces have carried out no effective confrontations or deconstructions of these armed paramilitary structures.

Our Ethics Censure of the absence of effective governmental measures to fully comply with the May 2010 Constitutional Court Order, which orders a freeze of all transactions “relating to the agro-industrial or mining use, possession, holding, ownership or exploitation of properties protected by collective land titles of the Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó river basins(…) These transactions operate under the presumption of illegality(…)” Banacol’s pronouncement is a clear expression of the use of formality to support agribusiness, the development of legal mechanisms to sustain illegality, and is evidence of private power taking precedence over public authority.

The references to statements made by the Upper Council of Curvaradó, are allusions to the statements of Germán Marmolejo, who acts as though he is legal representative of the Upper Council of Curvaradó, although he is not. By doing so, Marmolejo is ignoring the Constitutional Court Order, which ended all pretense of legal representation of the river basin, resulting in the Uribe administration’s failure to deliver the lands this representative.

Our Ethics Censure of the absence of effective measures to evict the bad-faith occupiers that are illegally occupying the Tuberquia family’s Biodiversity Zone, ignoring the authority of the lower community council and the decision of the Carmen del Darién Municipal Inspector. This bad-faith operation, is approved and promoted by the paramilitaries and some of the participants have said it is connected with companies like Banacol. At the same time, the palm and cattle-ranching business operations in Cetino, Caracolí, Caño Manso and Llano Rico (area of the Humanitarian Zone Argenito Díaz), continue without any measures having been taken to enforce the Constitutional Court Orders.

With deep concern,

Inter-Ecclesiatic Commission of Justice and Peace