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Bulletin 23 MOVICE (English)

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Read the June 2010 informative Bulletin

Persecution of MOVICE and its members

Threats against Ingrid Vergara Chávez, member of the MOVICE, chapter Sucre

On June 3 Ingrid Vergara Chávez, in the middle of a call that she realized with her daughter, heard a third person entering the call who said: "Son of a Bitch, I am going to kill you and your family." The person's voice was distorted but she distinguished it as the voice of a man with an antioqueño accent. Ingrid asked her daughter if she heard a voice, but she said she only heard a noise. Ingrid had returned that day from the farm “La Alemania”, where she had accompanied the family of Rogelio Martinez.


Death threats against WOLA, MOVICE and other human rights organizations

The US human rights organization WOLA received a death threatby the Colombian paramilitary group "Black Eagles'. This is the second threat in less than a month, as the NGO warns in a statement. According to the text, an email from the 'Black Eagles' dated June 11 declared as "military targets" members of WOLA and other 70 human rights, including MOVICE and the lawyer's collective José Alvear Restrepo. According to the email "They will be killed without a trace." Link:

Killings of Union Members

So far in 2010 32 unionists have been assassinated, of which seven were union leaders. During 2010 four attacks were registered as well as 56 threats mainly from paramilitary groups. Meanwhile, the government denies the murders. On June 17, at approximately 5:30 am, while Nelson Camacho González from the United Worker's Union (USO) was waiting for the bus that would take him to his work, hitmen on a motorcycle shot him several times, resulting in his death. The assassination shows the systematic character of a series of attacks and threats against leaders and union members that occur in the context of labor disputes that advances the USO with the multinational British Petroleum (BP) in Casanare and the Ecopetrol-Andean pipeline UT-GIT in the departments of Boyaca and Casanare.


On June 19, teacher Ibio Éfren Caicedo was violently taken out of his residence in the village of Cuturú, municipality Caucasia (Antioquía), by armed men who disappeared him, killed him and threw his body in the river Nechí. His body was found on June 22. This year seven teachers have been killed in the department.


Threats by the paramilitary structure “Black Eagles” in Pereira (Risaralda)

In late May of this year a threat against various community leaders, political organizations, community and human rights NGOs and the Technological University of Pereira, began to circulate through e-mails in which the Central Block of the Black Eagles declared several organizations and people as military targets. The email threatens the people and social and political organizations, and declares that these "obstruct the policies of the Colombian government," , “hide behind the mask of human rights organizations” and “support the policies of Chavez and the FARC” among others. The statement further noted: "We know where you live, where you walk and we know you receive governmental aid."


Continuing threats by paramilitary structures in Argelia (Cauca)

On June 6 in the city of Popayan, a 20 year old girl was blackmailed and sexually abused by a paramilitary and later received a call from a cellphone with number 314 701 16 44. The paramilitary told the girl, "we know where you are, we have your phone tapped, you made some calls and said where you were, tomorrow I'll call you" and hung up. On June 7 the paramilitary again called the girl, this time from the number 310 4590040, stating that he needed to go to Buenaventura to talk with the commander to explain that he had nothing to do with the guerrillas. The paramilitary said "tell him what you told me, that you were poor, come with me and talk to the commander, he is pushing me, since I did not kill you." Link:

Abuses by the National Army against the rural population in Caquetá continue
The Single Agro Trade Union Federation – FENSUAGRO – CUT and rural communities in the community of Unión Peneya (municipality of Puerto Gaitán, Caquetá) denounce the abuses they have suffered by troops of the Mobile Brigade 22 Battalion Counter Guerrilla No. 26. On May 28 four young peasants were arrested by members of this battalion. One of the peasants, Alexander Munoz, was told to have been harassing the militaries the day before and was beaten and kicked. The militaries approached his wife Maira Yurany Campo who was also detained and threatened her with cutting off her hands and hair and that they would sexually abuse her. They made her remove her pants and left her in her underwear.

Members of human rights organizations in the Valle del Cauca department receive death threats

On June 14 the following text message was received at the phone on a member from the CPDH: "… the audience will be a guerrillas audience, once again we have evidence that you are constructing the ideological process of the FARC. Death to NOMADESC, FCSPP, CPDH, ECATE. CUT. You won't be saved. X1Y …" This threat was received during the Ethnic and Social Public Hearing, which took place in Santander de Quilichao during June 14 and 15. The hearing's objective is to denounce the continuing violations of Human Rights and analyze the impact of the social and armed conflict on the region, such as the human rights violations committed by the security forces and paramilitary groups against indigenous and social sectors in the Cauca and Valle del Cauca.


On June 27 human rights defender and member of the CSPP Valle Cristina Castro Goméz received a text message from the same cellphone in which the same organizations are threatened as well as their family members. The threat is signed by a group that calls itself “New Generation”.


Illegal raid and theft from computer of CPDH lawyer

On June 1, the home of human rights defender and lawyer of the CPDH, Yuveli Muñoz was raided by three men and a woman who, after assaulting and intimidating the residents of the house only took the laptop of the lawyer, despite the visible presence of money and other valuables. On the illegal raid, according to information from witnesses, one of the subjects called another "Colonel", a situation, which may prove the alleged involvement of officials of the Colombian intelligence agencies, which in the past have realized similar raids against political and human rights defenders.


National Army attacks against oil workers

On June 2, 2010, in midday hours troops of the National Army of Colombia, heavily armed, entered the Britsh Petroleum facilities in Tauramena, location where workers affiliated to the USO have been advancing a peaceful protest against British Petroleum. This treatment to a group of workers is a clear attitude of excessive force, giving law enforcement treatment to a labor dispute.


MOVICE's Activities

Sixth People's Hearing in Catatumbo

On the 10, 11 and 12 of June in the municipality of Tarra the Peasant Association of Catatumbo (Ascamcat) held it's Sixth People's Hearing, addressing the following topics: Humanitarian Crises and Human Rights, Land and Territory, Natural Resources and Illicit Crops/Peasant Economy. Link:

Forum in Defense of Water in the Upper Ariari

On the 12 and 13 of June in the village of Puerto Esperanza municipality of El Castillo – Meta out of concern for the difficult human rights situation in this region, coupled with the concern over the adverse circumstances generated by macroeconomical proyects by transnational companies, the forum wanted to generate a dialogue, agreements and generate possible collective solutions. The forum was convoked by the Independent Farm Workers Union Meta – SINTRAGRIM, the Association of Workers and Farm Workers of Upper Ariari-ATCARI, Civilian Community of Life and Peace – CIVIPAZ, Association for the Displaced of El Castillo ASODESCA and community action boards from the Upper Ariari. Link:

Triathlon for the life of “El Darien”

Between the 14th and 25th of June, the triathlon for the life of “El Darien” took place, departing from Medellin by bicycle on the 14th and culminating in a peregrination to the border of Panama (point known as Palo de Letras). The triathlon's objective was to denounce the impacts and consequences of the Panamerican Highway in the lower Atrato Choco (Darien). The Triathlon is convoked by the Network of Alternatives against impunity and market globalization, Communities of Self-Determination, Life and Dignity of Cacarica (CAVIDA) Juin Phubbur, MOVICE and the Intereclesial Commission for Justice and Peace. Link:

Victim's rights

First sentence against high rank military in the case of the Palace of Justice
The sentence of Judge Miss Estela Jara, of the third Special Court of Bogota, condemned retired Colonel Luis Alfonso Plazas Vega to 30 years of imprisonment in a common prison common. The sentence has an important historical significance, since it is the first after more than fifty years of impunity, in which state crimes in Colombia have been condemned within Colombia. This sentence is the result of the persistence and endurance of families, some of them, almost anonymous, who against all odds have been demanding truth, justice and reparation for their missing loved ones who had been extra-judicially executed.
The sentence is an important step in the criminal and legal recognition of historical truth for the families of the disappeared, extrajudicial executed and tortured during the seizure of the Palace of Justice. Read the sentence against retired Colonel Plaza Vega here:

Relatives of the disappeared from the Palace of Justice, applauded the sentence and recognized it as of historical importance, but also declared that there are others responsible, who have not been prosecuted and rejected the statements of President Uribe, which discredited the ruling by Judge Estela Jara.


The perpetrators of human rights abuses should not be protected from justice
The Colombian government should not protect military commanders from prosecution for human rights violations committed by them, said Amnesty International on June 11. President Alvaro Uribe and the high military command demanded on June 10
th that the armed forces should be protected from prosecution in civilian courts, in a reaction to the sentence imposed on retired Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega.

The Interamerican
Commission on Human Rights has asked the government to take steps to protect the life of judge Maria Stella Jara Gutierrez and her son. At the same time the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights said that the Colombian state can not confer procedural benefits such as reduced sentences and detention in military facilities in favor of state agents involved in committing human rights violations. The multilateral high court stated that the granting of these privileges can lead to impunity, even in the case of the so-called principle of opportunity, which guarantees the termination of criminal proceedings against the accused, in return for information leading to the elucidation of the investigations. Link:

The general attorney arrested Congressman José María Conde Romero for his alleged links with paramilitaries.
Conde Romero is under investigation after Edward Cobos Tellez, alias "Diego Vecino," stated during a public hearing that the paramilitaries did have several links with the Congressman. In fact, following the statements of "Diego Vecino" against Conde and other congressmen, the Supreme Court refused his extradition to the United States, until the full truth is known. Conde Romero of the political party “Democratic Colombia”, was linked to paramilitary groups by Jairo Castillo Peralta, alias 'Pitirry', key witness in several parapolitical processes, and who has taken refuge in Canada. Alias 'Pitirry' said Conde Romero met with the head of the paramilitary structures in Sucre and made alliances for political benefits. The Congressman will be investigated by the Supreme Court of Justice.


The Metropolitan Human Rights Committee of Medellin expresses its solidarity with prosecuted human rights activists and require due process guarantees
The Committee expressed its support to Human Rights Activist, Winston Pamplona Gallego, member of the Foundation Sumapaz and the MOVICE Chapter Antioquía, who was arrested on June 10, 2009 after appearing voluntarily before the authorities in proceedings conducted by the Prosecutor's Office 74 attached to the IV Brigade Army. Winston Gallego Pamplona obtained parole for expiration of terms on 22 May 2010, although the judicial process against him and other human rights defenders in Medellín continues.


The Government issued decree that set rules for extradition
The Government issued a decree on extradition of nationals processed within the framework of Justice and Peace, issued on June 25 by the Ministry of Interior and Justice. The most visible implication of the 2288 Act is the delay of an extradiction for a year, which can "be extended according to the judgement of the Government", in the case of demobilized who are effectively contributing to the principles of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non repetition. In Article 2 of the decree, the executive added that there will be no place "to delay the extradition" in cases in which the "required" is not complying with these principles or is guilty of criminal conduct after demobilization. It is precisely at this point, more precisely in the paragraph of that article, where the controversy lies, "noting that the power to grant or not extradition is in the hands of the national government.”


In three cases of extrajudicial executions in Soacha formal investigations have not been opened
Two and half years after the extrajudicial killings of 16 young people from Soacha, in three of the cases a formal investigation has not been opened.
This was reported by the report “Soacha: the tip of the iceberg”, presented by the Foundation for Education and Development (Fedesa), one of the organizations accompanying the family members of the victims. Link:

Report of the Spanish parliamentarian mission to Colombia
The visit of Spanish parliamentarians between the 23 and 30 of January were framed in a very precise context: the negotiation of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Colombia, coinciding with the semester during which the Spanish government held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the celebration in Madrid in the month of May of the Summit of Heads of State of Latin America and the European Union.

Read the report realized after the visit:

June 26 International Day of the United Nations in support of victims of torture
The Colombian Coalition Against Torture and the World Organization against Torture reiterated its rejection of the widespread and systematic practice of this crime recorded in Colombia, and gave a message of solidarity to the people and communities who have been a victim of violations of their personal integrity and/or have suffered physical and psychological impacts resulting from this practice that affects both their family and social environment. In the context of this commemoration, both organizations reiterated their concern with respect to the grave situation of torture in Colombia.

Luciano was murdered for being a trade unionist and human rights defender.
On June 18, 2010, in the city of Valledupar, two officials of the DAS were arrested as co-authors in the murder of Luciano Enrique Romero Molina, a member of Sinaltrainal and the CSPP. Arrested were detective Jose Antonio Riaño Noriega and the head of the DAS unit attached to the Gaula of the National Army, Nolberto Sotomayor González who had been both identified by several paramilitaries convicted of the crime of the human rights defender. In addition to these statements, paramilitary leader Gustavo Adolfo Guevara Cantillo, alias "101", declared that these two DAS agents had previous knowledge of the murder. The arrest evidences once again that the murder of Luciano has been a state crime. Link:

Much worse than Watergate
A new report by the United States Office on Colombia (USOC), the Latin American Affairs Working Group (LAWG) , the Center for International Policy (CIP) and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) reveals that the DAS-scandal in Colombia, is e
ven more alarming than it had initially reported. Presidential intelligence agency, DAS, not only led espionage, but also employed the use of dirty tricks and death threats against several major players in Colombia's democracy. The report shows that these operations did not focus on alleged terrorists, but on people who carry out legitimate and democratic activities, including: the Supreme Court and judges of the Constitutional Court, presidential candidates, journalists, editors, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, United Nations, as well as human rights defenders in Colombia, the United States and Europe.


Afro-descendant Community Council from the Naya River win the Constitutional Court ruling in their favor
A ruling of the Constitutional Court confirmed the ruling by the state council of April 16, 2009 which in turn confirmed the decision handed down on November 25, 2008 by the Administrative Tribunal of Cauca. The ruling orders the INCODER to resolve the collective title application submitted by the Afro-descendant Community Council of the Lower Naya River on December 23, 1999, on lands that are not objects of legal debate. At the same time the ruling orders the INCODER to resolve in a term of no more than 15 days after the extinction of dominion, to apply collective titling to the Community Council of the Lower Naya River on Afro-descendant with respect to lands that were in a legal debate with the University of Cauca. Link:

Sentence in the assassination of Manuel Cepeda Vargas and pronouncement Uribe
On June 23 The Interamerican Court of Human Rights in a landmark decision established the international responsibility of the Colombian state for the execution of political leader, communicator and last elected senator of the Patriotic Union (UP) and the Colombian Communist Party (PCC), Manuel Cepeda Vargas. It is the first ruling of the Court on the murder of an opposition leader in Colombia, which also addresses the extermination of the Patriotic Union. The ruling in this sense is a contribution to the construction of the memory and historical clarification of the commission of state crimes in Colombia. The words of forgiveness made by president Uribe after the ruling were not accepted by the family of Manuel Cepeda Vargas. Uribe declared that "You can not beg international justice to demand the State to ask for forgiveness, and at the same time forward false allegations, proceed with hatred and unfairly mistreat countrymen and the honor of the governments," "I do not understand how you can demand apologies in the name of hate." The “Manuel Cepeda Vargas Foundation” stated on June 28 in a public communique, that Uribe's words constituted a new torture for victims, did not recognize the terms of the inter-American court's sentence, did not recognize state responsibility for the crime and defamed Manuel Cepeda Vargas family.