New protection tactics for palm oil and logging company interests. Death threats, attacks, paramilitary re-engineering.
New attacks and death threats; the destruction of boundary signs; the development of mechanisms of consent and deception; company use of Armed Forces actions to misinform and slander; public accusations without any basis in meetings with State presence: these actions against the Afro-Colombian communities of Curvaradó and Pedeguita have occurred over the last fortnight, along with slanders against international and national accompaniers, international solidarity groups (in particular against US churches), and State human rights institutions.
Behind all of this there lies the hidden desire to protect the economic interests of the palm oil and logging companies, to prepare the ground in order to hide crimes against humanity, environmental destruction, illegal appropriation of land, and to stigmatize the concept of Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones, confirming once and for all that the State of Law, of Rights, is in fact Against Rights.
On Monday 28th August, members of the Communal Council of Pedeguita were subject to death threats and maltreatment at the hands of paramilitaries who claim to be the owners of the Collective Territory, and to have negotiated over the forest resources with Maderas del Darién (a subsidiary of Pizano S.A.). On the 20th and 24th August, and on the 5th and 6th September, offers were made by TERESA CASTAÑO GIL (apparently a relative of the CASTAÑO GIL brothers), in the midst of a number of known paramilitaries in the office of PALMAS DE CURVARADO, to ENRIQUE PETRO, to protect the illegal crop of Palm Oil trees.
Equally, on the 1st September a Derecho de Petición made by JAIME SIERRA, a palm oil businessman, came to light. The Derecho de Petición contains false accusations against national and international human rights organisations, humanitarian organisations and solidarity organisations, and seem to have implied the use of monitoring and deception, in particular against PASC of Canada and US church organisations and religious congregations. This development comes alongside a meeting called via the “Banana Stereo” radio station, which took place on 3rd September. In
this meeting, members of the Communal Councils of Jiguamiandó were slandered, accused of having been manipulated by the FARC guerrilla. International accompaniers and our own Justice and Peace Commission were accused of appropriating Communal Councils’ land. Armed “civilians”, part of the paramilitary strategy, were present in the meeting.
At the same time, over the period of these last weeks, the Biodiversity Zones’ boundary signs have been destroyed by individuals linked to the business sector.
Cynicism, shamelessness, or as the old Colombian saying goes, behind the thief, the clown. That would be one way of summing up the meaning of company and paramilitary-strategy-related actions in Curvaradó, and those which continue unfolding at present in border area Collective Territories like
Pedeguita, also, in the Lower Atrato region. The facts make plain the non-recognition of the rights of Afro-Colombians and peasants, victims of crimes
against humanity, of the illegal appropriation of their land and of environmental destruction caused by military and paramilitary operations. The facts
prove that paramilitary strategies continue to operate for the company protection of palm oil crops, and that a model of forced restitution and reconciliation against the spirit of LAW is intended to be put in place.
Peace is spoken of while war is re-engineered, searching for agreements is spoken of not to reinstate victims’ rights but rather to deny them, with the
protection of the palm oil business. Respecting the law is spoken of to accuse the victims, and the national and international accompaniers, of occupying and invading land. The victims are the aggressors, the usurpers are the usurped. The vulnerability of the communities which affirm their rights to life and territory via the Humanitarian Zones, the Reserve Zones where a Life Project is being constructed, is to be found in the institutional and para-institutional frames of logic.
Intereclesiastical Justice and Peace Commission