Published in la Piedra No 5,
In Colombia, the criminalization of social and popular sectors that oppose the current regime is a national disgrace. Since the 60s, every successive government has used the judiciary arm as a powerful tool to punish dissidents and rebels who fight the hideous repressive status quo imposed upon the Colombian people by the secular oligarchy of this country.
It is worth looking over the last 50 years of history to understand how the judicial system has been used to repress the Colombian people. In the 70s, under Turbay Ayala’s regime, the anti-terrorist laws were applied, without scruples, to criminalize all social and popular sectors.
He used the ‘State of Emergency’, which allowed him to declare the effervescent social struggles of the time illegal. This laid the ground for the infamous massive arrests of union leaders, insurgents and revolutionary leaders, who were brought before military tribunals of the notorious verbal war councils, in flagrant violation of the right to legal counsel and due process.
In the 90s, the notorious ‘Regional Justice’, otherwise known as the faceless justice, was applied through law 40. This law allowed enforcers to ruthlessly convict social and popular leaders, merely fighting for their fundamental rights, on bogus charges, frame-ups and with anonymous accusers. This law increased the sentencing to 60 years of imprisonment. There were other laws to follow; among them, law 733 stands out. It split the application of justice into two categories with the first being for summary crimes. The other category was for supposed crimes related to the internal conflict and dubbed ‘special justice,’ which was exactly like the ‘regional justice’ with the same corrupt judges.
This new legal model eliminated the administrative recourses and appeals for reducing sentences, and thus left prisoners confined in maximum-security prisons for the entire sentence. Moreover, the history of judicial repression has created laws that have been beneficial to the system itself, in regards to friends and associates of the establishment. In the 90s, the criminal drug-trafficker, Pablo Escobar, built a mansion-prison to his liking (La Catedral Itagui) as part of a settlement with his business partners in government. From his mansion, the Capo committed the most horrendous crimes. When it was revealed that he was going to be caught, he fled without anyone capturing him.
The two-tiered application of ‘justice’ continues today. Dissidents of this system of war and exploitation are relentlessly and ruthlessly punished. They get up to 60 years imprisonment, and are buried alive in the dungeons of maximum security built by the American Federal Bureau of prisons (in clear interference of our domestic affairs).
Today the judicial repression is integral. It is applied in a variety of ways. Uribe’s paramilitary model has created rehabilitation zones where massive arrests are used as an arm to destabilize the social movement. Also, rebels are being extradited to North American imperial courts as a way to destroy social, popular, insurgent and revolutionary fighters, in an attempt to force us to surrender; a goal they will never achieve because our dignity and rebellion goes beyond all consequences.
Dubiously named Justice and Peace, law 975 was established in order to condemn friends of the Uribe government. This law was to enable a strategic re-arrangement of counter-insurgency policies much like the current so-called “democratic security” regime, and the false paramilitary demobilization.
The supposed demobilized paramilitary soldiers are treated like ‘patriotic heroes’ for their loyal service to politicians, landowners, powerful ranches, and multinationals like Chiquita Brands and Drumond. These criminals of the Colombian Army, have managed to negotiate a very profitable severance package, as they cleared the way for business through the butchery of thousands of campesinos, union leaders, and dissidents.
With help from the paramilitaries, the Uribe clan has more lands then ever, and the multinationals control all the resources in the country, forging ahead with pillage and exploitation. The government has helped them to legalize their fortunes with the blood of the people. Today, the Itagui Mansión (Antioquia) is their vacation spot with all the luxuries paid for by their associate, Nariño, head of the house, as well as other mentors of the Colombian oligarchy. There is a clear distinction between these criminals, and the dissidents who oppose the government and who are part of the social and popular sectors.
They shamelessly apply the full weight of the law against us, the freedom fighters. We, the political prisoners, will not back down. We continue to fight alongside the people for fundamental rights and equality before the law. We persevere in breaking down the walls of silence that surround us with our declarations and denunciations.
Political Prisoners’ Collective
Palo Gordo Prison, Girón (S.S.)