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Bulletin 13 MOVICE (English)

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Read the August 2009 Bulletin informative.

Persecution of MOVICE and its members

Murdered unionist of the National Union of Workers in Food Industry (SINALTRAINAL for it's Spanish acronym)

On August 21st, unknown arrived at the house of Gustavo Gomez, employee of Nestlé Foods la Rosa SA and member of SINALTRAINAL in the municipality of Dosquebradas (Riseralda), knocked on his door and when Gustavo Gomez opened, shot him 10 times. Gustavo Gomez was brought to the clinic Comfamiliar where he died hours later. Gustavo Gomez, had been a member of the Board of SINALTRAINAL Section Dosquebradas from 1997 to 2000. (…) This crime comes at a time when Sinaltrainal has submitted a list of demands to Nestlé PurinaPetCare SA in Colombia. Twelve employees of Nestlé, members of SINALTRAINAL have been killed in Colombia, with the majority of the cases in a state of total impunity.1

UIS student tortured by ESMAD and unjustly detained
On August 26, Daniel Alexander Rueda Otero, a 24-year-old student from the Universidad Industrial de Santander UIS, was aprehended by members of the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad – ESMAD. The student was caught within the facilities of the UIS and was beaten on the head with the truncheon of the policeman Luis Carlos Quiroz Figueroa, after which he lost consciousness temporarily. The apprehension of Daniel Alexander occurred during a day of protest developed by the UIS students demanding the resignation of the rector of the UIS, Jaime Alberto Camacho Pico, who in May 2009 was known to have had a telephone conversation with a paramilitary leader, Felix, promissing him to deliver a list with names of students, teachers and workers to apply a "plan gun." In the evening of August 27 hearings were held to legalize the aprehension, bring up charges and request its preventive detention. The hearing took place in the hospital basement because of the health status of Daniel Alexander. The legal defense called for the illegality of the arrest due to acts of torture, these being ignored by the Constitutional court and by the judicial control, who became an accuser more, approving the procedures used by the ESMAD. The final charges against Daniel Alexander were terrorism, aggravated bodily injury and aggravated damage of another's property, imposing deprivation of liberty and his transfer to the Modelo prison in Bucaramanga as soon as he recovers from his injuries.2

Arbitrary detentions in the municipality of Cantagallo (Bolivar)
On the 1
st of August in the village of La Isla No Hay Como Dios (municipality of Cantagallo), Mrs. Ana Luz Campo was beaten and arbitrarily detained by members of the Colombian Marine. Her family and residents of the village do not know her whereabouts uptil now. The Marine forces have repeatedly raided the village, while accompanied by masked men who have beaten the village population.3 In the village of San Lorenzo the farmers Antonio Bernabé Paraguas and Luz Marina Ramírez Carvajal were arrested on the alleged crime of rebellion. These arrests, together with that of Ana Luz Campo, were made under a court order given by the municipal judge of Simiti (Bolivar), in a joint operation by military units of the Nueva Granada Battalion, DAS agents, the Marine, and Sijin units (judicial police) of San Pablo (Bolívar).4

Threats against the Association of Victims of Extrajudicial executions in the Atlantico Deparment

Since the Association of Families United for a Single Pain (AFUSODO for its Spanish acronym) has been created by family members who have been victims of extrajudicial killings in the Atlantico department, it has been persecuted, especially its president Martha Diaz Ospina, who has been threatened and harassed in more than five occasions. On the 2nd of August, Martha Diaz received via email a pamphlet repeating the death threats against her and AFUSODO.5 A recent report by the Human Rights Unit of the General Attorney indicates that of the 1160 cases of extrajudicial executions it is researching and which include 1881 victims, including including 58 under-age, 312 were reported between January and July this year.6

Threats and attacks against human rights defenders in Riseralda
On the 31
st of July a threat signed by the Black Eagles – Eje Cafetero, was send to several email accounts. The email declares William Brown, Chairman of the Permanent Committee in Defense of Human Rights (CPDH) in Risaralda, Mauricius Cubides of the Human Rights collective “Domingo Taborda" and Yesid Beltran, Director of the Early Warning System of the National Ombudsman in the Eje Cafetero region as "military targets".7 The 5th of August aboard of a vehicle type white van, several individuals attempted to murder mister Cubides and mister Beltran. Both had to seek refuge to protect their lives.

Amnesty International released an urgent action:

Wave of threats and repression in Quindío
On the 10
th of August Alirio Garcia, national treasurer of the National Federation of Agricultural Workers (FENSUAGRO), Gustavo Rodriguez Pinzon, Member of the Human Rights Association “Demetrio Prieto” and Sandra Restrepo, a student leader at the University of Quindio were arrested. On the 12th of August Luis Miguel Mendoza Pava, a student at Uniquindío and representative to the Academic Council and chairman of the Federation of University Students (FEU) was also arrested.8

New massacre of members of the Awa indigenous community9
On the 26
th of August, in the settlement of Rosario, municipality of Tumaco (Nariño) a new massacre was commited, leaving 12 people dead of the Awa community. According to information of the Awa Authority UNIPA, "men dressed in military clothing, without any distinctives and masked, fired indiscriminately at the house of a Awa family. In this macabre act about eight members of the Awa community were killed. According to information 3 children of one, eight and ten years were killed. Tulia Mrs. Garcia and her two children were also killed. This woman had been a witness of the death of her husband, Gonzalo Rodriguez, on the 23rd May 2009, allegedly killed by the army. This new crime occurs in the context of high military presence and the Marine Battalion Tumaco belonging to the newly formed Brigade 23 with a high presence of paramilitary groups as well, such as the “Rastrojos”. These paramilitary structures move around freely on the road between Junin and Tumaco, although this is a highly militarized area. At the same time there are "counternarcotics" operations in the region carried out by American contractors and marines operating in the area without any control.

Declared as military objectives members of the subcommittee of the Municipality of Girón (Santander) of the Agrarian Association of Santander (ASOGRAS)

On the 28th of July through telephone threats Felix Ortiz Amaya, (Chairman of the Subdirectiva Girón), Mabel Garcia Mantilla (Vice-Chairman) and Juliana Andrea García Carrillo (Secretary) were declared military targets by an alleged ilegal armed groups that operates in the municipality. Since 2004 ASOGRAS has been the victim of constant threats, persecution and assasinations by alleged emerging paramilitary groups operating in the department of Santander and Magdalena Medio, especially in the town of Sabana de Torres. These same groups also have threated members of the Departmental Executive Committee of the Association. ASOGRAS is calling for the first Verification Mission on Human Rights Violations in Sabana de Torres (Santander) on the 25th, 26th, 27th and 29th of September.10 Contact:

Humanitarian, economic and social crisis in the territory of the western mountain range of Nariño
Communities living in the Territory of the Mayor Village Council for Integral Development of Black Communities of the Western Mountain Range of Nariño, COPDICONC are facing one of the most difficult periods in recent years, as a result of an increase of the social and armed conflict. In the last month in the region 84 people have been killed and today it is the epicenter of forced eradication of illicit crops, without any proposed alternative livelihood for communities. The humanitarian crisis has led to new displacements and is threatening to culminate in a mass exodus of the population who resists in a situation of confinement and starvation.11

Youth, the main victims of violence in Medellin
On the 24th of August, residents of the neighborhood Eduardo Santos of the 13th Comuna in Medellín, witnessed the murder of one of their young cultural leaders: Hector Enrique Pacheco. While this situation is tragic and painful, it has become common both in the 13th Comuna and in other areas of the city, where during the first seven months of 2009 the number of homicides of 2008 has been surpassed, reaching an average of seven murders a day.12 At the same time, the Municipal Committee of Human Rights in Medellin, rejects the curfew declared by the municipality authorities and the increased militarization of the city, stating that these are violating human rights.13


Activities of MOVICE and it's members


Day of Dignity and Galery for Memory in Saravena (Arauca)
On the 4
th and 5th of August the 5th anniversary of the Massacre of Caño Seco (Saravena – Arauca), was celebrated. The massacre had been committed by the XVIII Brigade of the National Army on the 5th of August 2004, in which were killed the three unionists Hector Alirio Martinez, Leonel Goyonoche and Jorge Prieto Chamucero. The commemoration was organized by the Social Organizations of Arauca, the Foundation for Human Rights "Joel Sierra" and MOVICE.

III Seminar in memory of Gustavo Marulanda in Medellín (Antioquia)
The seminar was conducted between the 6
th and 13th of August in the University of Antioquia and called for by the University Human Rights Committee "Gustavo Marulanda”. These days were born out of the desire to contribute to the recovery of historical memory, particularly of events, actions and demands that occur around the actions of the university community, like the speeches, policies and crimes that affect them. In this way the university sector, which is changing subjects every couple of years, obtains tools to identify and build a political vision of its past and history.

Preparatory National Meeting on Land and Territories by MOVICE
The preparatory meeting was realized on the 6
th, 7th and 8th of August in Bogota with 150 participants representing 113 organizations of victims of displacement, women, Afro-descendants, indigenous, peasant and human rights defenders. The participants gathered to discuss the experiences and initiatives in communities around the human right to land and territory and the recovery and protection of the territories. Read the final statement:

International Seminar on forced disappearances in Latin America
The seminar was realized between the 11th and 12th of August in Medellín. This seminar brought together academic, civil, governmental and nongovernmental organizations to dialogue and reflect on forced disappearances in Latin America and Colombia and identify mechanisms used in other countries to prevent, investigate and sanction this crime against humanity. The seminar was organized by the University of Antioquia, the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes, the Corporación Jurídica Libertad, Corporación Voces Ciudadanas and the Human Rights Collective CODHESEL.

Regional Human Rights Forum Central Region (Bogota, Cundinamarca and Boyacá)

The forum was held between the 14th and the 15th of August at the Autonomous University in Bogota with the objective to to analyze the situation of human rights violation and violations of international humanitarian law in the central region. The forum was called for by the CPDH, Human Rights Committee of the Local Ombudsman from the District of Bogota, Soacha Human Rights Committee, National Mutual Aid Association (ANDAS), Colombian Association of University Students (ACEU), National Association of Secondary Students (ANDES), National Association of Hospitals and Clinics Workers (ANTHOC), MOVICE, Confederation of Workers (CUT) Bogota, Districtal Coordinator for Youth Unity and the Yurupari Corporation.

More information:

Regional Forum on Human Rights and Peace in the Nariño and Putumayo region

The forum was held between the 25th and 26th of August with the aim of building spaces of visibility, awareness, memory, peace alternatives and joint strategies against the social and armed conflict and its consequences in the departments of Nariño and Putumayo. The regional forum was called for by the Nariño teachers union SIMANA, Confederation of Workers CUT, CPDH Nariño, Development and Peace Foundation FUNDEPAZ, Departmental Planning Council, the Movement for the Popular Constitution, the Colombian Communist Party (PCC), Communist Youth (JUCO), Student Collective " Josefina Obando, "Movement for the Defense of People's Rights (MODEP), Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA), Polo de Rosa.

More information:

The South of the Bolivar Department united in defense of its territory

From the 16th of August the different communities from the South of Bolivar reunited in the Arenal municipality in the VI Assamblee of the Agro-Mining Communities of the South of Bolivar. The assamblee counted with more than 400 representatives of various social organizations from 12 municipalities in the region. During three days of exchanging ideas and experiences, the partipants reflected on the problems of their region, emphasizing the human rights situation, the robbery of land and territory and state investments through the local and national government. The Assembly took the decision to declare itself in permanent Assembly, staying in the town until the government sends a high-level commission to provide solutions to the problems discussed.14

Symbolic act: Do the right thing until finding them

On the 28th of August in Medellin a human chain and a symbolic act for the international day of the disappeared prisoner took place. The activity was organized by the MOVICE Chapter Antioquia and Codhesel.

The last friday of the Month the MOVICE Chapter Valle is mobilizing

The 28th of August an activity was organized in memory of the victims of State Crimes in the Loma de la Cruz, Cali (Valle del Cauca).


Victim's rights

Andres Gil, leader of the ACVC out of prison
On the 31st of August, Andres Gil got free after nearly two years in prison. Outside of the prison there were 30 friends and colleagues waiting for him. Andres is the last of six leaders of the ACVC who has regained his freedom in a fake judicial process created by the Calibio Battalion, the DAS and the General Attorney. 15

Twenty peasant leaders and 18 children arrived in Bogotá to demand freedom for their relatives detained

The military operations of Plan Colombia, Plan Patriota and Plan Victoria have mainly affected the civilian population, who has been stigmatized as "supporting terrorists”. Hundreds of peasants have been murdered in cold blood by Colombia's army and were later presented as guerrillas killed in combat. Hundreds of farmers are disappeared, tortured and displaced from their lands. Among those affected by this war against civilians are hundreds of farmers who have been arbitrarily detained, living in subhuman conditions in several prisons in Bogota and Caqueta. These detainees didn't have the right to a due process, don't receive medical care, their hearings have been postponed, the legal terms expire, but the detainees are not released. For this reason a Commission from Remolinos del Caguan composed of 20 adults and 18 children arrived at Bogotá, to ask the Human Rights Unit of the Prosecutor, the Attorney General, the Ombudsman and the UN's to receive them. They demand the freedom of their parents and family members and that these may return to their farms and resume their agricultural work.16

Recommendations on Colombia to the Czech and Swedish presidencies of the European Union
European and international organizations for Human Rights, development agencies, solidarity groups and church organizations have signed a series of recommendations aiming at contributing to building and strengthening democracy, rule of law and peace with social justice in Colombia. Read recommendations:

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its concern over intelligence operations on Commission activities17
According to the information received by the Commission, a Special Strategic Intelligence Group (“G3”) within Colombia’s Administrative Security Department (DAS) was created to monitor activities tied to the litigation of cases at the international level. The G3 allegedly carried out an intelligence operation against an IACHR visit to the city of Valledupar in 2005, led by then Commissioner and Rapporteur for Colombia Susana Villarán. According to the DAS file, the objective of this operation was “to identify the cases being studied by the Rapporteur and the testimony presented by nongovernmental organizations, as well as the lobbying these organizations are doing to pressure for a condemnation of the State.” These intelligence activities violate the State’s commitment to respect the privileges and immunities of representatives of the Organization of American States (OAS) and to comply in good faith with the aim and purpose of the American Convention on Human Rights and other treaties of the inter-American system. These operations also seriously affect the work of human rights defenders in Colombia. The Commission has repeatedly expressed concern about the situation of defenders in that country, especially about accusations made by high-level officials that the defenders belong to guerrilla movements, and the use of intelligence mechanisms to monitor their activities.

Read full statement:

On the International Day of Indigenous Peoples the Office in Colombia of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations expresses its deeply concern on the critical situation in Colombia for indigenous people. 18

In the first six months of 2009, compared with 2008, the murders of indigenous by armed actors doubled, according to official figures. This means that in the first six months of 2009 over two thirds of the homicides of protected persons in Colombia were committed against indigenous people. (…) Moreover, the Office has received information that the security forces on several occasions failed to consult with indigenous authorities on entering their territories and sometimes have used indigenous to conduct intelligence work leading to a risk of retaliation against them by illegal armed groups. (…) "We recognize that there has been some progress. But the gap between the legal framework, relevant public policies and the reality experienced by indigenous peoples is still very large, too large. Many of the state promises and commitments with indigenous peoples remain unfulfilled and the internal armed conflict has further aggravated the situation of indigenous peoples in the last decade, "said Christian Salazar, representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations.


Religious and Grassroots Leaders Urge Clinton to Suspend Military Base Talks with Colombia

Over one hundred religious, national, community organizations and leaders and academics today called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to “suspend negotiations for expanded U.S. military access or operations in Colombia.” (…)“It is rational for regional leaders to see the installation of several U.S. military sites in Colombia as a potential threat to their security,” the groups said, because of U.S. support for trans-border attacks from Colombia, reported violations of the expiring base agreement with Ecuador, a Pentagon statement that it seeks access for “contingency operations” in the region, and the painful history of U.S. military intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean.“To broaden relationships with South America and value respect for human rights, the United States should not create a fortress in Colombia in concert with the region’s worst rights violators, the Colombian military,” the letter said.


The army goes into the streets in raids to take the youth to war19
The military authorities, ignoring all constitutional provisions and rights contained in international treaties, continue to deprive young people of their freedom with the objective to send them to war. It has become a common practice of the army in the neighborhoods of the northeastern, northwestern sectors and even in the Central Western sector of Medellín, to realize raids and aprehend young people, who are walking to their work, studies or are simply inhabiting the public space, so these can render their military service. Link public complaint made on August 5 in Medellín:

Former colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega spent his first night at La Picota Prison
The former colonel was an intern at the Military Hospital for two weeks, claiming psychiatric disorders and stress caused by the continuing trial against him for the disappearance of 11 people during the siege of the Palace of Justice in 1985.
The decision to transfer him to prison (Plazas Vega had been under security measure in a military garrison) was adopted by the judge handling his case, Stella Jara, after the former colonel had argued that he could not attend the trial because their safety was not assured. Jara said that in the hands of the Penitentiary Institute INPEC Plaza Vega can attend the trial, since the members of the INPEC are well trained for these kind of judicial processes.20 The judge claimed that hours after ordering the transfer of Colonel Plazas from the School of Infantry to the Penitentiary La Picota, Colonel Plazas’ lawyer said that this decision "provoked the National Army to be on top of her”. The judge also denounced that the national intelligence police, Sijin, has compiled an "intelligence report", which seeks to relate her to people prosecuted for drug trafficking.21

Trial on militaries for their responsability in the massacre of members of the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado
On August 24 the trial against 10 soldiers for the massacre of 8 people in the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado (Antioquia) began in the city of Medellin, before the Second Specialized Court of Antioquia. The soldiers, at the time of the events, were active members of the Velez Battalion of the 17th Brigade of the Army based in Carepa (Antioquia). In handing down an indictment against these soldiers, the Attorney General's Office told how the victims had been subjected, "by force, then tortured, then executed and finally, in true acts of cruelty, cut up to be hidden in a ditch.” In this context, agresions against the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado have increased in recent days. Three people have been killed and fake judicial processes are being prepared by the 17
th Brigade against leaders of the community and people who have been accompanying the community.22 Recent statements by the paramilitary leader Ever Velosa García, alias HH, revealed that he had paid false witnesses to cover up the AUC and bring up the FARC as responsible for the massacre of eight people committed in February 2005 in the Peace Community. The testimonies were used by the Army's XVII Brigade, based in Carepa, Antioquia. (…) The former paramilitary leader said that he had given the money personally to the then Colonel Ivan Duque Nestor Lopez, commander of the battalion Bejarano Muñoz so he could pay for the witnesses.23


1 “Asesinado trabajador de Nestlé-Comestibles La Roca” SINALTRAINAL 24/08/09

2 “Estudiante de la UIS torturado por el ESMAD y privado injustamente de su libertad” CSPP Santander 02/09/2009

3 “Acción Urgente N. 0002200 “Asociación de Víctimas del Magdalena Medio y el MOVICE 08/09

4 “Detenidos tres campesinos en Cantagallo” ACVC 06/08/09

5 Fundación Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos Seccional Atlántico 04/08/09

6 “Fiscalía investiga 312 nuevos casos de falsos positivos “ Revista Cambio 20/08/09

7 “Nuevas Amenazas Paramilitares contra defensores del Eje Cafetero” CPDH 03/08/09

8 “Oleada de amenazas y represión en el Quindio” CPDH 19/08/09

9 Comité Permanente de Defensa de los DDHH 26/08/09

10 “Declaran objetivo militar a dirigentes campesinos de Girón-Santander” Comité Ejecutivo Departamental ASOGRAS 04/08/09

11 COPDICONC, Asociación NOMADESC, Campaña Prohibido Olvidar, Corporación Jurídica Utopía, SINTRAUNICOL Valle del Cauca y Nacional, Asociación para el Desarrollo Social Integral ECATE, Fundación Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos, Red de Hermandad y Solidaridad – Colombia, Corporación Sembrar.

12 Corporación Jurídica Libertad 27/08/09

14 VI Asamblea de Comunidades Agromineras del Sur de Bolívar, Municipio Arenal 18/08/09

15“En libertad Andrés Gil, dirigente de la ACVC, encarcelado por el régimen casi dos años” ACVC 02/09/2009

16CPDH 29/08/09

17 CIDH 13/08/09

18 OACNUDH 06/08/09

19 Red Juvenil de Medellín 11/08/09

20 El Espectador 21/08/09

21 “Hostigamientos y Seguimientos a la juez que adelanta el juicio contra el coronel Plazas Vega” DH Colombia 06/08/2009

22 Asociación Nomadesc, Campaña Prohibido Olvidar, Colectivo de Derechos Humanos, Semillas de Libertad – CODEHSEL, Corporación Jurídica Libertad, Corporación Jurídica Utopía, Corporación Sembrar y MOVICE Capítulo Antioquia

23“HH pagó para acusar a las Farc de masacre de San José de Apartado en 2005” Verdad Abierta 04/08/09