The presence of more than 40 paramilitary men from “Aguilas Negras” inside the Curvaradó collective territory shows the lack of guarantees for the property restitution of the Afro-descendant communities.
More than 10 thousand hectares of collective properties were stolen, beginning in 1996, with massacres, displacements, crimes against humanity, and environmental destruction. Through the criminal strategy in collusion with then General Rito Alejo del Rio, occupations were imposed on the land with the development of agro-industries including palm, bananas, and large-scale cattle-ranching.
Although in response to oral and written denunciations to national authorities, the 17th Brigade has disregarded this presence, it is an undeniable fact that this group moves within the territory of Afro-descendant communities, camping in various places without any reaction.
While the army withdraws from the area, the mobile operations of the paramilitaries around the Humanitarian Zones of Caracolí, Camelias-El Tesoro, and Caño Claro-Andalucía, are going on undisturbed and with absolute cynicism.
The paramilitaries were camped from last Thursday until yesterday, Monday, in the place known as “No hay como Dios” [“There’s nothing like God”]. There they announced that they will not leave the collective territory. They invited the Afro-Colombians to participate in planting coca. They said they are going to stay so that the land will be restored for the purpose of achieving development. They accuse the NGOs and the members of the lower councils that inhabit the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones of being bad-faith occupiers.
The paramilitaries assert that the denunciations are useless since the 17th Brigade and the businessmen know everything they do, that they created them, they support them, and they back them. In some communications, the paramilitaries talk about “The Patron” [La Patrona] and ask her for 5 million pesos in support to take care of their needs.
Some weeks ago, businessmen from La Tuteka, involved in large-scale cattle ranching, announced that they had created their own armed group. A few days later, the businessmen-supported paramilitaries established a plan of selective assassinations of the people demanding restitution, avoiding above all that the move would be evident or that the public security forces could be blamed or held responsible.
Before Holy Week, there were unsuccessful attempts to murder Santander Nisperuza and Miguel Mercado, and Enrique Petro was followed. On the list of persons to kill were the leaders of the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones: Maria Chaverra, Manuel Blandon, Eustaquio Polo, Enrique Petro, Santander Nisperuza, Liria Rosa Garcia, Raul Salas, Ledys Tuiran, Alfonso Saya, and Guillermo Diaz, among others.
These paramilitary operations happened after the visit of Agriculture Minister Juan Camilo Restrepo and Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras to the Camelias Humanitarian Zone, to define the methodology for the restitution and fulfillment of the Constitutional Court Order of May 2010.
More information in the Documentation and Ethical Censure
Bogota, D.C. April 26, 2011
Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz
Interchurch Commission for Justice and Peace