Over Easter break, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) organized a national delegation for Colombians to travel to the northeastern region of the department of Antioquia. The delegation was organized by CPT and by a grassroots organization under the acronym of CAHUCOPANA (Corporation for Humanitarian Action for Peace and Coexistence in Northeastern Antioquia). These two organizations seek to raise awareness about the realities of the armed conflict as well as to defend the human rights of communities who live in the armed conflict zone.
As members of the delegation, we represented the cities of Bogota, Ibague, and Cali.
“We appreciate all the efforts of the various organizations who have supported us in this case and request their continued accompaniment for the prompt release of Carlos who is currently still being detained in Palogordo prison.” -CAHUCOPANA
Update [3pm]: Mr. Juan Guillermo Rojo, Carlos Morales’ security guard and driver has been released from custody.
Yesterday Carlos Morales, human rights defender and dear friend from CAHUCOPANA, finally got a court hearing in Barrancabermeja after spending over eight months in jail.
The following is the public declaration issued by Cahucopana in regards to the persecution of Calos Usaga.
Persecution against Carlos Usaga, member of the Board of Directors of Cahucopana
The Corporation for Humanitarian Action, Cohabitation, and Peace in Northeast Antioquia – CAHUCOPANA, denounces the persecution and intimidation of Carlos Alfredo Palacios Usuga, member of the Board of Directors of CAHUCOPANA. The incident, carried out by unidentified men, took place in the municipality of Remedios, department of Antioquia.
On March 2 of this year, Carlos Palacios was running errands in the urban centers of the municipalities of Segovia and Remedios, preparing later to travel to the rural sectors of these municipalities.
In October 2015 two CPTers traveled with our partners CAHUCOPANA across the Northeast region of Antioquia on a nine day tour, immersing ourselves CAHUCOPANA’s rigorous daily schedule of workshops, meetings, and lots of travel. The ‘Northeast’, as they refer to it, is a region rich in resources and biodiversity where rolling hills of untouched jungle give way to small communities etched into the landscape, often only accessible by mule or on foot. Unfortunately the region also has a history of displacement and human rights abuses as a result of a lack of state involvement. One of CAHUCOPANA’s initiatives in response to this abandonment is the fomentation of women’s activism in the region, by the name of Women’s Humanitarian Action Committees.
On April 9th thousands of Colombians participated in marches for peace in major cities across Colombia1. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), along with our local partners, participated in the one in Bogotá and the one in Medellin. In addition to these two marches many of our local partners from Barrancabermeja and Guayabo also participated in the march in Bucaramanga, Santander.
The date of the march, April 9th, is significant because it commemorates the day in which Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, a populist leader and Liberal Party candidate was assassinated (April 9th, 1948). Gaitán had previously been the mayor of Bogota and at the time of his assassination seemed poised to win the presidential elections, based on his platform of non-violent solutions to the conflict in Colombia.
There’s a gender movement going on. More and more often, in our Colombian context, the terms gender equality,...
CPT Accompaniment of CAHUCOPANA
Later this week, CPT Colombia will be accompanying CAHUCOPANA to a gathering of the First Regional Meeting of Women of Northeast Antioquia “In defence of the territory and dignity” in Dos Quebradas. As CAHUCOPANA prepares for the upcoming workshop, their members have received threats and harassment from masked men, armed and wearing uniforms with no identification, presumed to be the Colombian military.
The following denouncement describes the harassment against Carlos Alfredo Palacio Usuga of CAHUCOPANA and Noemí Durango Pérez of the regional Women’s Team for Humanitarian Action and makes three demands:
- Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos and his government must act accordingly to ensure the respect of human rights in the region;
- Respective authorities need to investigate the case and those guilty be penalized according to the infractions of International Humanitarian Law and the violations of the human rights of the communities;
- UN High Commission for Human Rights in Colombia should monitor the situation and recommend a course of action for the Colombian government.
Yesterday a thousand riot police and military personnel arrived in the small town of Norian, just north of Aguachica, and completely surrounded five thousand small farmers who had begun to gather there since May first. The display of force and the restriction of movement has been a part of the government’s strategy to clamp down on the growing Agrarian strike.
300 campesinos retenidos en Remedios con el argumento de poner en riesgo a la población de la ciudad de Medellín @ClaudiaErazo5
— Cahucopana Nordeste (@CAHUCOPANA) May 6, 2014
Earlier today, 300 small farmers from the northeastern Antioquia traveling to Medellin to participate in public gatherings were detained on the pretext that they would be a threat to the residents of Medellin, since the public forces did not have enough personnel.