Paramilitaries assert that they will not leave Curvaradó

Paramilitaries announce their permanent presence in Curvaradó to assure that the restitution comes with the agribusinesses of coca, palm, bananas, and cattle ranching.

Bogotá, D.C. April 26, 2011


President of the Republic of Colombia


Interior Minister


Minister of Foreign Affairs


Agriculture Minister


National Prosecutor General


National Inspector General


National Ombudsman


Manager of INCODER


Comptroller General of the Republic


Minister of the Environment, Housing, and Territorial Development

“All their captors hold them fast and refuse to let them go. Strong is their avenger…. He will defend their cause with success….” Jeremiah 50, 33-34
Our fourth Historical Documentation and Ethical Censure in the last 15 days of the ongoing paramilitary operations within the collective territories, completely undisturbed and with absolute cynicism, announcing that they are intent on achieving a restitution that protects the interests of the bad-faith occupiers who are in the businesses of palm, banana, and extensive cattle ranching, and conducive to the planting of coca.

The paramilitary operations, as they themselves have said, are carried out with the knowledge of the 17th Brigade, without any reaction, and they count on the support of the businessmen and the management of the person known as “Patrona” [“the Boss”]. From Wednesday of last week until today, Tuesday, at this moment, they have been situated in a camp located between the population centers of El Firme and No Hay como Dios [There’s nothing like God] a one-hour walk from the Humanitarian Zones of Caracolí, Camelias-El Tesoro, and Caño Claro-Andalucía.

The paramilitaries have circulated before or after the withdrawal of 17th Brigade regular soldiers, between Camelias-El Tesoro, Brisas de Curvaradó, Caño Claro-Andalucía, and Caracolí with rifles and pistols, wearing pixilated uniforms.

They announced that they will not leave the territory and that it does no good to denounce them because everything is known by the 17th Brigade and the businessmen who support them. They have invited the inhabitants to plant coca and to join the business development with palm, cattle and banana. “We will not leave here,” and “We are paying attention to the development of the census,” “The land is for progress and development,” and “not for the poverty produced by the NGOs and the inhabitants of the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones,” whom they accuse of being bad-faith occupiers.

Since the paramilitary operations became known on April 8, there have been no effective operations to provide protection to the life and integrity of the Afro-Colombians of the lower councils who live in the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones of Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó.
We present to you our Historical Documentation of these grave basic facts:
Wednesday, April 20, about 9:30 a.m. Pedro Tordecillas, along with José Luis Homero and Narciso Díaz, intimidated the inhabitants of the Caño Manso Humanitarian Zone.

Tordecillas, Homero, and Díaz, who work with the bad-faith occupier, Colonel ® Luis Felipe Molano, member of ACORE, stole and transported with a tractor more than 10 stacks of lumber of Jerónimo Reales and Emiro Usuga, members of the lower council.

The stolen material was driven past where the soldiers of the 17th Brigade are stationed. This new crime was reported immediately to the national government.

Tordecillas is recognized as participating in paramilitary operations and is part of an armed group of bad-faith occupiers that constitute the haciendas, Villa Alejandra 1 and Villa Alejandra 2.

Homero and Díaz are administrators for the bad-faith occupiers and have repeatedly threatened the members of the lower council who have demanded property restitution.

In the afternoon, our Justice and Peace Commission in Bogotá was informed that the persons who act under the orders of Colonel ® Luis Felipe Molano and use force to sustain the illegal occupation of the communal territories of Caño Manso and Pedeguita, are Edwin and/or Armando Gómez Garzón, known as “El Secretario,” José Neyis, Samir Homero, José Luis Homero, Pedro Tordecillas, and Norberto Narvaez.

According to the source, they are authorized to threaten, construct false accusations, plan murders, and destroy the subsistence crops of the members of the lower council and protect the cattle of the businessman.
The same day, the soldiers who were stationed at Caño Manso withdrew from the place and as of today have not returned.

Wednesday, April 20, about 11:00 a.m. our Justice and Peace Commission found out that on April 6, Yerly Flórez and Cristóbal Segura Palacios of CODECHOCO, “environmental authority,” accompanied by Antonio Lopera, a bad-faith occupant, arrived in the collective territory of Jiguamiandó at the place known as Zapayal, in the property of a lower council member of Brasito, Jiguamiandó.

The functionary argued that the property belongs to the bad-faith occupier, Antonio Lopera, despite Resolution 2159 of 2007 of INCODER, and demanded that the lower council member stop cutting lumber for domestic use. The functionary specified that it is outside of INCODER’s jurisdiction to make decisions on disputes about property rights.

Thursday, April 21, about mid-day, our Justice and Peace Commission was informed that in the collective properties of Curvaradó, in the community “No Hay Como Dios,” about 30 paramilitaries set up a camp.
This place is equidistant from the Humanitarian Zones of Caño Claro-Andalucía, El Tesoro, and Caracolí, less than one hour by foot from each place.

The armed men, with rifles and pistols, radios for communication and pixilated clothing, maintained that they were looking for people to plant coca. They maintained that progress had arrived with this crop, palm, plantains, bananas, and cattle ranching. “We are here and we aren’t going to leave. We want development.”

Saturday, April 23, about 8:30 a.m., José Buitrago, an administrator of the property occupied in bad-faith by the cattle-ranching Argote family of the “La Tuteka” company, while on the property of a member of the lower council of Caracolí, made a death threat against Orlando Nieto, a member of the lower council living in the Caracolí Humanitarian Zone. Buitrago chased him with a machete and said that whenever he was in Belén de Bajirá he would disappear him. This action was a reaction to the demand by the lower council member that he stop destroying the corn and subsistence crops.

During the morning, a group of 20 paramilitaries passed near the Caracolí Humanitarian Zone in the direction of the village of Brisas de Curvaradó. One hour before this, at 7:00 a.m., inhabitants observed troops of the 17th Brigade passing through the same place.

The witnesses affirmed that the paramilitaries passing by identified themselves as such and maintained that they were seeking people to work with them in coca, palm, plantain, banana, and cattle ranching.
Sunday, April 24, in the morning, a movement of about 20 paramilitaries with rifles and pixilated trousers was observed on the road that connects the property of Brisas de Curvaradó and Caracolí.

Monday, April 25, about 9:00 a.m. our Justice and Peace Commission was informed that the paramilitaries broke padlocks and robbed the houses, removing the subsistence goods that they found in the places for planting of the Afro- Mestizos.

The paramilitaries consumed the food and some of the crops between Thursday, April 21 and Monday, April 25.

The armed men maintained that on the day when the Interior Ministry’s census takes places in fulfillment of the Constitutional Court Order, they would be in hiding, but they also warned that they [the paramilitaries] would not leave the collective territory.

They repeated that the denunciations do no good, since “we count on the support of the 17th Brigade, we are one and the same, and our purpose is that development be elevated and not done with crumbs that just produce poor people.”

To the people whose subsistence goods they sacked, they said that they would pay because they have money for that: “We are going to pay you. We are here because of the money that our bosses pay us. We are here to get back the lands that at this moment are in the power of the NGO and the Humanitarian zones and Biodiversity zones. That’s why we want to talk with you.” In the radio communications of the paramilitaries, conversations were heard in which they said: “Tell the boss to send me five million pesos.”

Tuesday, April 26, about 7:30 a.m., two United States citizens and seven
members of the lower council who live in the Caño Manso Humanitarian Zone confirmed the destruction of two hectares of rice belonging to Francisco Perez, a member of the lower council. Since the afternoon of the previous day, witnesses observed how cattle were driven toward the field of destroyed rice by cowboys of the bad-faith occupiers in the service of Colonel ® Luis Felipe Molano of ACORE.

More than 30 armed men were seen consuming psychotropic drugs, some wearing pixilated uniforms and others not pixilated, carrying AK and R15 rifles, M16 machine guns, pistols, and communication radios.

About 5:30 p.m., it became known through a highly reliable source, that a participant in paramilitary actions, Pedro Tordecillas, announced to men belonging to paramilitary structures in Belen de Bajirá the decision to enter the Humanitarian Zones and “take out those who most fuck with the land issue,” to assassinate them. The source referred to members of the Humanitarian Zones, Enrique Petro, María Ligia Chaverra, Manuel Denis Blandon, Guillermo Díaz, Ledys Tuiran, Alfonso Saya, Uriel, Hugo y Adriana Tuberquia, Liria Rosa García, Eustaquio Polo, Santander Nisperusa and others whom the source was not able to specify.

This announcement is accompanied by motorcycle trips that a known paramilitary called “El Perro” [The Dog] who passes himself off as a yuca buyer, has been making this past week around the Humanitarian Zones of Camelias, Caracolí, Andalucía and the planted fields of the members of these lower councils.

About 6:00 p.m., after being made aware of the situation of the permanent paramilitary presence in “No Hay Como Dios” in the place called “El Firme,” and the new announcement about assassinating the people reclaiming the land, the administration received a response from the army that there are no paramilitaries in the zone, that the soldiers there are guerrillas. They said that they can’t go to “No Hay Como Dios” to fight them because the soldiers in the area have orders to control the perimeters of the Humanitarian Zones, and besides that, there are mine fields. Nevertheless they would go there to verify the situation.

Our Ethical Censure of the absence of transparency in the operations of the 17th Brigade and the Urabá Police. Their omissions are clearly converted into what is known as commission by omission. The responsibility for these criminal operations is evident, when they justify their inaction with the supposed installation of anti-personnel mines, when the Afro-Colombian population travel as usual and the paramilitaries themselves walk on the public roads with no kind of problem.

There is no justification for the evident omission of their duty and constitutional responsibility to defend the lives and integrity of Colombians, and not only of the bad-faith occupiers and businessmen.

Our Ethical Censure of the acts of functionaries of CODECHOCÓ against what is right and against their responsibilities, who fail to act against the environmental damage created by business operations, bad-faith occupiers and beneficiaries of paramilitarism. If they do intervene, they ignore the decisions of INCODER and the Agriculture Ministry, and demand that the traditional inhabitants cease their traditional customs of domestic use of the forest.

Our Ethical Censure of the judicial slowness in systematically and completely investigating those responsible and the business beneficiaries of the paramilitaries, which permits them to fashion new mechanisms to commit crimes, form armed groups, damage subsistence goods of the Afro-Colombians, and manufacture new systems of selective assassinations. The impunity is a clear component in the perpetration of new risk factors that impede the rightful restitution of the collective properties.

With deep concern, and in hope for your response to the continuous petitions, brought before you in these last weeks, demanding truth and the restitution of the collective properties, and which so far have no concrete response.
Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia Paz

Interchurch Commission for justice an pace Commission

The Colombian Retired Officers Association from the Military Forces