It is not the same thing, having land and a safe place to live, and being forced to flee to a dirty and dangerous city–a place you did not choose.
How can a campesino continue to be a campesino far from her or his land? How can one still be a farmer amidst the pain and anguish of a city? How can one be a campesino among paramilitaries, guerrillas and the army?
In Micoahumado (a small town located in the southern Bolivar province) we witness a reality very different from the official one. The government portrays the campesinos as guerrilla members.
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.
The Colombian armed forces, with 281,400 military personnel, are the second largest army in all of Latin America, surpassed only by Brazil. Added to that are the 159,000 members of the National Police, a militarised police force that reports to the Ministry of Defence. In Colombia there are 6.2 soldiers per one thousand inhabitants, a ratio almost four times that of Brazil.
The surge in extractive mining and energy activities in Colombia over the last few years has come accompanied by the massive militarisation of the zones where the mining and energy sectors operate. The Colombian government has in recent years created what are known as Energy, Mining and Transport Battalions.