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While they protect palm extraction, the “demobilized” ‘AGUILAS NEGRAS’ THREATEN ENRIQUE PETRO AND HIS FAMILY WITH MURDER

Since April 2006, the Humanitarian Zone of Caño Claro in Curvaradó, Chocó, has been situated on the land of Enrique Petro, member of the Community Council of Curvaradó, in the midst of African Palm plantations.

Summary of recent events
On Saturday March 17th at 6:30pm, Enrique Petro and his entire family were threatened by paramilitary groups operating under the name of ‘Aguilas Negras’. The threat by telephone took place mere days after the destruction of the Ethical Commission Memorial Monument and the fences which physically demarcate the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones (see I 80). While these actions against the Afro-descendant and mestizo communities were happening, the “ex” or “demobilized” (paramilitaries) operating with small firearms and communication radios, illegally occupied parcels of land collectively and individually titled within Curvaradó. Enrique Petro witnessed the crime against Afro Colombian leader Orlando Valencia that occurred in October 2005. For more than 46 years, Enrique Petro has legally possessed and resided on 130 hectares of land within the Collective Territory of Curvaradó. His lands were appropriated by the paramilitary and sown with palm by the Urapalma company, following his forced displacement, the murder of one of his sons and an attempted assassination. Due to a court ruling, 30 hectares of his land were not sown with palm, which since April 2006 have constituted a Humanitarian Zone, mechanism to protect the lives of its inhabitants.

To FRANCISCO SANTOS and FERNANDO ARAUJO, Vice-President of the Republic and Minister of Foreign Relations; CARLOS HOLGUIN SARDI, ANDRES FELIPE ARIAS and JUAN LOZANO, Ministers of the Interior, Agriculture and the Environment, for the adoption of immediate protection measures for the life and the personal integrity of ENRIQUE PETRO, his family and the inhabitants of Curvaradó: -A. Confrontation of the paramilitary structures found in Belén de Bajirá, Mutatá, Brisas, Andalucía and Caño Claro; -B. Impeachment of the State agents within Brigade 17 of the Police of Urabá and the modification of the institutional structures that operate in complicity with the newly denominated criminal structures; -C. An immediate halt to the sowing and extraction of palm and its transportation to Mutatá, by administrative and police measures from the Ministers of Agriculture, the Interior and the Environment; -D. Restitution of all individual and collective properties to their legitimate owners in Curvaradó.