Micah was a peasant farmer born in Moresheth, a quiet village located in Judah, southwest of Jerusalem; This peasant farmer prophesied against greed and cruelty that abounded in his time.
In Micah’s time people were selfish and opportunistic and therefore justice was mismanaged, always seeking self-benefit over truth.
Micah’s strongest words were against the corruption that permeated all areas of society, a society in which those who had power took advantage of it ignoring the call of God to act with justice. Of course in that historical context poor people were not only the result of an unequal society, but also their poverty resulting from corrupt laws and judicial processes that favored only the owners of power.
In 2016, 72 human rights defenders and 18 leaders of the social and political movement Marcha Patriotica were assassinated, in addition to the large number of leaders and human rights defenders who were threatened.
The existence of paramilitary structures in the country, is a problem that has never ceased to exist and lurks as a shadow over all social leaders and human rights defenders.
Barrancabermeja, has always been a focus of paramilitary structures that make their way through its neighborhoods, turning the life of the inhabitants into hell. Human rights defenders have represented an obstacle to these structures’ political and economic interests.
The Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (CREDHOS) announced the publication of ‘CREDHOS Weighs In’, their annual report, at a press conference on Tuesday, November 15 with the presence of president Iván Madero and other members of CREDHOS leadership.
The report highlights the worrisome security and human rights conditions in the municipality of Barrancabermeja. Using figures collected during the first half of 2016, the socio-economic analysis of the region focuses on the paramilitary structures that are present throughout the seven districts of the city.
Due to the non-expansion of the Ecopetrol oil refinery, the city is experiencing an unemployment rate of more than 23%, causing a severe economic crisis.
The peace agreement signed on August 24 in Colombia, which ends a 52-year-long conflict between the Colombian state and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, marks an end of a violent era in Colombia’s history. Many Colombians are celebrating, and the nation’s president has declared, in a New York Times editorial, that there is now no war in the Western Hemisphere.
New death threats against CREDHOS president Iván Madero Vergel
Although the progress of the peace agreements shows that building peace is possible and the end of the war is closer than ever, the Human Rights situation remains critical throughout the country and especially in the Magdalena Medio region, where it remains difficult for human rights defenders to carry out their work. The denouncements that we continue to make against armed groups and particularly against criminal gangs – which today represent the new expression of paramilitarism in the region – are evidence of the acts of surveillance, harassment, intimidation and death threats that have been occurring against members of the CREDHOS corporation.
Almost every year, from August 2013 up until today, campesino farmers in Colombia have taken to the main highways to demand guarantees from the government necessary to cultivate their land and thus maintain a sustainable livelihood to support their families; the campesinos, indigenous, and Afro-Colombians are not only demanding respect for their territories but also calling for a revision of national policies which currently threaten the development of the rural sector.
These mobilizations are supported by several sectors including students, healthcare professionals, teachers, religious groups and unions, which in turn represents the large array of issues affecting the vast majority of the population.
How one views the prospects for peace in Colombia depends on how one understands the conflict and how one defines peace. There are many different stakeholders, each with competing and often conflicting interests.
The ongoing peace negotiations with the Colombian Government and left-wing FARC guerrilla insurgents in Havana, along with a more recent government commitment to enter into a separate talks with the ELN insurgents in Ecuador, are being celebrated both nationally and internationally as the imminent end to the fifty-year conflict in Colombia.
“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.
Christian Peacemaker Teams Colombia and the Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (CREDHOS) have formalized their relationship...