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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 04:25 PM
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.Peace community claims govt ignores threats
.Peace community claims govt ignores threats
Monday, 04 April 2011 13:09
Hannah Aronowitz

The San Jose de Apartado Peace Community has reported continued indifference by government officials over the persecution of its members by paramilitaries.

According to the community, which was established in 1997 in an attempt to resist being drawn into Colombia's armed conflict, the continued aggression on behalf of paramilitaries is tolerated by local law enforcement and largely ignored by other state institutions.

The peace community reports that on March 23, paramilitaries entered their community threatening one member with guns that if they did not leave, the paramilitaries would carry out assassinations. The report claims that this was something they "already had planned with public forces to clean out the area and exterminate the community."

On April 1, fighting broke out between the paramilitaries and guerrillas in the village of Altas Arenas resulting in the death of several paramilitaries, according to inhabitants of the area. As community members and other civilians found themselves in danger in the midst of the fighting, several went to the Regional Ombudsman's Office to request assistance, to which he responded that he could do nothing. Allegedly, the ombudsman told the petitioners to stop bothering him, and then disconnected the phone.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 05:05 PM
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1. Reminder of the last fatal visit to the Peace Community:
Edited on Mon Apr-04-11 05:06 PM by Judi Lynn
The tragic crime against these unarmed people was described in a testimony in a Colombia court room by a participant whose C.O. claimed they had to kill the children who would grow up to become FARCs if left alive.

Massacre in Colombian Peace Community
Once again, the trail of blood leads to the SOA:
SOA graduate commands accused brigade

On February 21-22, 2005, eight members of the San Jose de Apartado Peace Community in Uraba, Colombia -including three young children, were brutally massacred. Witnesses identified the killers as members of the Colombian military, and peace community members saw the army's 17th and 11th Brigades in the area around the time of the murders.

Among those killed was Luis Eduardo Guerra, an internationally recognized peace activist and a co-founder of the Peace Community. In November 2002, Luis travelled from Colombia to Fort Benning, Georgia to speak out against the School of the Americas and to give a first hand testimony about the brutal impact that SOA training and US foreign policy have on the dire situation in Colombia.

General Hector Jaime Fandino Rincon is the commander of the 17th Brigade of the Colombian army. Like Luis Eduardo, Fandino Rincon also travelled to the School of the Americas -- not to speak out for justice and peace like Luis, but to attend the "Small-Unit Infantry Tactics" course in order to become "familiar with small-unit operational concepts and principles at the squad and platoon level, receive training in planning and conducting small-unit tactical operations." Fandino Rincon is a 1976 graduate of the notorious School of the Americas. In December of 2004 he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General.

Since the massacre, the Colombian administration of Alvaro Uribe has done little to investigate the murders. No investigation into the military or the 17th or 11th Brigade has begun. All the focus now of the government agencies intervening in the situation is to force the community members to testify at risk of their lives' instead of focusing on the military that was in the area at the time of the murders.


Translated from Semana, a large Colombian newspaper:
Why Did They Kill the Children?

The following day, on February 21st, Guerra finally decided to go out to his fields with
his 17-year-old partner, Bellanira, and his 11 year-old son, Deiner, who rode on the back
of a mule, and his half-brother, Daro. Shortly after they left, around 8:00am, a group of
soldiers emerged from the bushes and stopped them. From the start, Daro feared the
worst. He noticed that the soldiers were acting strangely. He had the feeling, which
turned out to be accurate, that there were paramilitaries with the soldiers.

When he noticed that all the attention of the soldiers was focused on Luis Eduardo, he slipped behind the mule and ran into the bushes. Shortly thereafter he heard cries of pain and fear, but no gunshots. They killed them with clubs and machetes. They decapitated them. And although Gordillo says he does not know anything about those first deaths, investigators believe that it was a mix of his military troops and paramilitaries who were there. Four hours away in Resbalosa, around noon, the same scene repeated itself, but this time with even more cruelty. According to various testimonies, including that of Captain Gordillo, the paramilitaries, under the command of 44, went about 500 meters ahead of the soldiers.

They arrived at the home of Alfonso Bolvar, another prominent leader of the Peace Community, while the family was eating lunch. A firefight began with Alejandro Prez, a man proven by the district attorney to be a FARC guerilla, and he ran a few meters before falling down, his body riddled with bullets. The paramilitaries set off various explosives outside of the house and watched as five men ran out. It was Bolvar and his workers. What happened next is indescribable.

I saw a dead woman on the floor all of a sudden it was reported to the Commanders that there were some children inside the house the commanders were asked what should be done with these children and they concluded that they would pose a threat in the future, that they would grow up and become guerillas for that reason they ordered them to be silently executed at that moment the childrens father appeared with a farming tool in his hand the children all yelled papa! he told them that nothing was going to happen and begged the commanders not to kill the children then he kneeled down with his hands on the back of his head the children ran toward him this was when the father, now aware of what was going to happen, told the boy that they were going to go on a long trip and that they might not return the girl went to pack some clothes for the boy in a small bag and brought it to him waving goodbye with her hand

Testimony snippet from the trial:
Colombia: Massacres by US Backed Death Squad Government Exposed, Again
topic posted Tue, April 1, 2008
Translation By: Colombia Human Rights Committee (Washington)
March 27, 2008
Arrest warrants issued for 15 members of the military for San Jos de Apartad massacre
Translation By: Colombia Human Rights Committee (Washington)

The decision was provoked by the testimony of Jorge Luis Salgado, a former paramilitary who accused the soldiers of assassinating, in association with the AUC, the three children and eight adults.

"The children were under the bed. The girl was very nice, 5 or 6 years old, and the little boy was also a curious little one.... We proposed to the commanders to leave them in a neighboring home, but they said that they were a threat, that they would become guerrillas in the future.... 'Cobra' grabbed the girl by the hair and ran the machete through her throat," Salgado, a native of Carepa (Antioquia), told the authorities last January 30.

The massacre in the peace community occurred on February 21, 2005. That day, the mutilated and decapitated bodies were left in the middle of the jungle and in have-covered graves.

All the victims were members of a group that declared itself neutral in the Colombian armed conflict, and who had been zealously requesting special protection.

MARCH 28 2008 09:32h
Colombia Soldiers Face Arrest for Machete Massacre

Former paramilitary Jorge Luis Salgado described the long-suspected role played by the army in the massacre.

In testimony published on Thursday, he described the long-suspected role played by the army in the massacre.

"The children were under the bed. The girl, about five or six years old, was very nice and the boy was smart as well," Salgado told government prosecutors.

"We suggested to the army officers that we leave the kids at a house nearby, but they said they were a threat, that they would turn into guerrillas in the future," Salgado said.

He then told how one of the officers, known as 'Cobra', took the girl by the hair and cut her throat with a machete.More:

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