Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Vélez opened negotiations with the country’s right-wing paramilitaries almost as soon as he took office in August 2002. The paramilitaries — currently grouped in a national federation called the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) — have been responsible for the majority of murders and forced displacements of civilians in Colombia’s tragic armed conflict for many years. Over 3 million Colombians have been uprooted from their homes and communities — “displaced” — since 1985, and tens of thousands more have been murdered. The paramilitaries’ signature terror methods include slow torture, dismemberment, and the use of chainsaws. When guerrilla groups participated in the formation of new political parties in the 1980s as part of an attempt to resolve the decades-old war between the government and guerrillas, paramilitaries exterminated over 3,000 members of these new parties.
In a proposal announced in June called the “Justice and Peace” law, Uribe seeks to offer the paramilitaries immunity from any serious punitive consequences for their crimes. Under Uribe’s proposal, they will not have to turn over the land and wealth they have acquired to victims (or even the government); tell the truth about their crimes to victims, survivors, or the society; or serve more than a few years in jail.
Uribe is the George W. Bush administration’s only significant remaining ally in South America, a region whose people and leaders have become increasingly critical of U.S. economic and military policies. Some analysts have likened Colombia’s strategic role for the U.S. to that of Israel in the Middle East: a military and economic beachhead for the U.S.. On June 28 the House of Representatives gave the go-ahead for another $700+ million in foreign aid to Colombia, bringing the total since “Plan Colombia” began in 2000 to nearly $4 billion of U.S. aid, over 80% of it military.
Since 2003, there have been a series of “demobilization” ceremonies held in different parts of Colombia, in which paramilitaries hand in their weapons. The communique below refers to one such ceremony — which it calls not a “de-” but a “re-mobilization” — which took place June 15 in the northwest Colombian province of Córdoba. Córdoba is the birth-place of the present-day paramilitary federation, and the town of Tierralta in Córdoba province is the site of the current paramilitary-government talks.
The human rights organization that wrote this communique is called ” JUSTICIA Y PAZ”: Justice and Peace. It has a long and courageous history of truth-telling, organizing for peace, and accepting the horrible consequences of such dignified choices. (Their web site, in Spanish, is es.geocities.com/justiciaypazcolombia/ )
Here — focusing just on the province of Córdoba, where the ceremony took place — they simply remind us of the scale of what Uribe seeks to erase from memory.
A few key names and terms are explained at the bottom. Phillip Cryan, translator
THEIR NAMES, AT LEAST
The mirage continues.
June 15, midday, was the time chosen for the mirage to be perpetuated, in the sustained ritual of false truths that is the Santa Fe de Ralito remobilizations.
465 armed “civilians” — all part of the paramilitary armed strategy — began the process of becoming institutionalized.
Now the “Heroes of Tolová” Bloc, led by Diego Murillo (alias “Don Berna”), have handed in their guns on the futbol field at Divine Child high school in Rusia Ocho, in the municipality of Valencia, Córdoba province.
This ceremony of lies has become routine. News media speak of it as a great achievement of “peace.” It’s one more expression of the search for legitimization, for institutionalization of the paramilitaries. Valencia’s mayor Negus Correa announced a “civic holiday” for the municipality, “because of its support for peace.” Security is ensured for this spectacle of institutionalization: the area is condoned off with “eight counter-guerrilla units and a reserve unit in Urrá,” according to Col. Néstor Camelo, the official delegate from the Army’s 11th Brigade. A ceremony of remobilization presented as a “gesture for peace.” The Colombian government attempts to bury, in oblivion, the crimes committed in this region.
Today Córdoba province is the setting for paramilitary remobilization, in an attempt to hide the hundreds of crimes committed by the paramilitary strategy there. The media never said clearly what happened there; they denied its gravity, hid it, distorted it. And they likewise hid from view the genesis of this iniquity, the institutional responsibility for it.
THEIR NAMES, AT LEAST. Just some of the names. Many names never recorded in the media — although those of their victimizers often were. Their names. THEIR NAMES, AT LEAST. Names that are witnesses to the barbarity they seek to hide today through a so-called “Justice and Peace” law.
NAMES of the men and women murdered, disappeared, tortured. Their names, at least. So that in this scenery of iniquity erected by the “paramilitary demobilization” process, they can at least be mentioned.
To evoke them is to call upon Truth, to call upon justice, upon the permanent work of building a new society. Bringing them into the present, right in the midst of their persecution. Bringing them into memory, while justice is possible.
THEIR NAMES, AT LEAST!
January 13, 1988
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries detained and disappeared the Patriotic Union members ROSA LEMOS, ZORAIDA MONTOYA and LUIS LEMOS.
February 4, 1988
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered ZENÓN CONRADO NEGRETE, a lawyer and defender of political prisoners.
February 26, 1988
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered MARCO TULIO PÉREZ ARREDONDO, a Patriotic Union member.
March 15, 1988
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered ALFONSO CUJAVANTE ACEVEDO, a lawyer and member of the Patriotic Union.
April 3, 1988
In BUENAVISTA, Córdoba, paramilitaries identifying themselves as “The Magnificent Ones” murdered 28 people, one of them a woman who taught in a rural school and the other 27 of them campesinos, most of them young. Six were members of the Popular Front. The act took place during the celebration of a party at the “Best Corner” country house. The victims were: JOSÉ PATERNINA, JOSÉ GUERRA, JOSÉ LUIS SIERRA, SILVIO PRIMITIVO PÉREZ, JUSTO RAMÓN LÓPEZ, TOMAS BERRÍO WILCHES (profesor), EDUERDO JOSÉ MERCADO, PEDRO MÁRQUEZ, JUAN MANUEL SAÉNZ, WILIAM BARRAGÁN, JAIME PATERNINA, JUAN ACEVEDO, SILVIO MELÉNDEZ, OSCAR SIERRA, MARCOS MARTÍNEZ, JONALDO ANTONIO BENÍTEZ, CARMÉN PASTRANA, CARLOS MÁRQUEZ, RAMÓN MISPERUZA, CLETO MARTÍNEZ, FREDDY MARTÍNEZ, ANTONIO SAÉNZ, SILVIO SAÉNZ, DOMINGO SAÉNZ, BENECIO BENÍTEZ, SERGIO TOMÁS RIVERO and two others whose names were not registered.
May 17, 1988
In MONTELÍBANO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered the City Councilor-elect from the Liberal Party, RICARDO SIERRA.
August 30, 1988
In CANALETE, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered 16 campesinos from the village of Tomate. Among the victims were: EMIRO BERTEL R., IDALIO NARVÁEZ, HÉCTOR NARVÁEZ, RAFAEL PEDROZA C., MANUEL PADILLA, MIGUEL A GÓMEZ, RICARDO ARISMENDI, OROSMAN SOTO, CLEMENTE CARMONA, LUIS HERNANDO GALINDO, CÉSAR MARTÍNEZ G., JOHNY DARÍO PÉREZ G., MANUEL MARTÍNEZ, and others whose names were not registered.
October 22, 1988
In SAN ANTERO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered FELIPE GALEANO, a campesino and attorney for the provincial board of the National Campesinos’ Association (ANUC).
November 15, 1988
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered OSWALDO RENGIFO P., a journalist, after he reported the collective executions at the “Best Corner” and El Tomate.
February 13, 1989
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered FRANCISCO DE PAULA DUMAR MESTRE, vicepresident of the union at Avianca, former Patriotic Union candidate for the Provincial Assembly, and lawyer for the union Festracor.
August 3, 1989
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered GUSTAVO GUERRA DORIA, the Patriotic Union coordinator for the province.
August 9, 1989
In AYAPEL, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered FABIO MIRANDA PUPO, civil engineer and Patriotic Union coordinator.
August 9, 1989
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered DANIEL JOSÉ ESPITIA MADERA, national treasurer for the National Campesinos’ Association (ANUC). His father and brother had been murdered June 21.
November 16, 1989
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered FELIX ENRIQUE TOSCANO, an employee of the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) and member of the Popular Front. Two other persons were wounded.
November 26, 1989
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries fired indiscriminately against people gathered for a baptism celebration, killing eleven campesinos and wounding one youth. This took place at “The Old Woman’s Corner,” in the village of Pueblo Bujo. The victims were: BLANCA ROSA ÁNGEL, JUAN MANUEL TERÁN, RAFAEL NN., ÁLVARO PACHECO ÁLVAREZ, JOSÉ ANTONIO HERNÁNDEZ, ÁNGEL EMIRO FLÓREZ, ESTEBAN RAUL MARTÍNEZ L., MELBA MARÍA TORRES, MANUEL HERNÁNDEZ, JORGE MIGUEL NARVÁEZ P. and EDILBERTO HERNÁNDEZ R.
November 28, 1989
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered BORIS ZAPATA MESA, an anthropologist, professor at the University of Córdoba, and City Council candidate for the Patriotic Union.
January 16, 1990
In PUERTO LIBERTADOR, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered LUIS LYONS, an aleternate City Councillor for the Popular Front.
March 31, 1990
In PUEBLO NUEVO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered TEODORO M. MEDRANO, a former Patriotic Union City Council candidate.
April 1, 1990
In PUEBLO NUEVO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered TEODORO M. BETANCUR M., a Patriotic Union member and former City Council candidate.
April 16, 1990
In VALENCIA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered thirteen people, whose bodies were found on the Las Tangas farm, property of Fidel Castaño’s family. Six of the bodies were recognized, and were among those people disappeared at Puerto Bello the previous January 14. They were: WILSÓN FUENTES, JORGE DAVÍD MARTÍNEZ, RAÚL PÉREZ, RICARDO BOHÓRQUEZ, LEONEL ESCOBAR y JUAN LUIS ESCOBAR. Among the others identified were: OVIDIO CARMONA y ANDRÉS M. PEDRAZA J. Another five were not identified. An additional fourteen bodies were found in different parts of that farm and the Jaraguay farm — also property of the Castaño family — over the course of that month.
April 22, 1990
In SAN CARLOS, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered AMAURY MAZO, LINETH INÉS GAMERO O., CUSTODIA PÉREZ, MANUEL PEREIRA MERCADO, ARQUIMEDES GAMERO and another unidentified person, all Patriotic Union members.
July 16, 1990
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered ALVARO GÓMEZ PADILLA, a member of the Córdoba Teachers’ Union, affiliated with the CUT [Unified Workers’ Central].
September 25, 1990
In PUERTO LIBERTADOR, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered GILBERTO GONZÁLEZ, an employee of the Córdoba Electric Company and trade unionist.
October 25, 1990
In TIERRALTA, Córdoba, paramilitaries raided two houses and murdered twelve people in the “School” neighborhood. The victims were: ANA MILENA JULIO FLÓREZ, ANA ISABEL FLÓREZ T., ALBERTO JULIO FLÓREZ, MÓNICA DEL C. FLÓREZ, BEATRIZ HELENA JULIO FLÓREZ, EDUARDO JULIO FLÓREZ, JOSÉ AGUSTÍN OLIVEROS P., RAFAEL DE J. AYAZO M., GUIDO JOSÉ BRAVO H., ANTONIO LÓPEZ PÉREZ, JORGE ELIÉCER ENAMORADO, and another person who was not identified.
February 24, 1991
In AYAPEL, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered ANTONIO FERIS PRADO, a theater director, Sahagún City Councillor, and Patriotic Union member.
September 2, 1991
In SAN ANDRÉS SOTAVENTO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered ÁNGEL MARÍA ROQUEME, a member of the municipality’s council of indigenous leaders.
September 21, 1991
In MONTELÍBANO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered ELIZABETH GONZÁLEZ, DANIEL VICENTE RAMOS and JOSÉ ÁNGEL LONDOÑO.
December 5, 1991
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, seven paramilitaries identifying themselves as “The Head-Hunters” murdered MARÍA MARTÍNEZ MENDOZA, GUILLERMINA MARTÍNEZ PÉREZ and ANGELA MARTÍNEZ ENSUNCHO, widows from the collective execution that took place at “The Best Corner” on April 3, 1988.
January 30, 1992
In SAN ANDRÉS DE SOTAVENTO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murderred MISAEL BASILIO BELTRÁN, an indigenous leader and president of the Esmuna indigenous council.
April 1, 1992
In SAHAGÚN, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered NURIS DE LOS REYES MUSLASCOS, MISAEL ANTONIO PACHECO, JOHN PACHECO, TIBALDO TULIO TRUJILLO and WALBERTO ANTONIO PACHECO GÓMEZ, campesinos, in the village of San Antonio. One of the victims was a twelve-year-old boy.
May 2, 1992
In PUERTO ESCONDIDO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered 70-year-old campesino DOMINGO ARCIA RICAURTE.
May 3, 1992
In AYAPEL, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered YESENIA CONTRERAS HERNÁNDEZ, JOSÉ ANTONIO BETÍN VILLEGAS, JOSÉ FLÓREZ ARRIETA and AYDÉ MARÍA HERNÁNDEZ RUIZ at the Santa Elena farm.
May 30, 1992
In SAN PELAYO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered PAOLA ANDREA BETANCUR BEDOYA and JULIETA BEDOYA BETANCUR. Four other people were wounded. This took place in the village of Carrillo.
August 29, 1992
In PUERTO LIBERTADOR, Córdoba, paramilitaries traveling in a vehicle owned by the Mayor’s office murdered ÁNGEL JARAMILLO, WILIAM DÍAZ and ÓSCAR GONZÁLEZ, near the Juan José police station. In this region of the Upper San Jorge there were denouncements of paramilitaries under the command of William Montalvo, alias “Big Head,” and supported by Marcos Jara (a former commmander of the EPL [Popular Liberation Army guerrillas] and Hope, Peace and Liberty movement leader), Jesús Gomego, Hernán Fortich (City Councillor in Puerto Libertador), Aquiles González, Alejandro Jiménez, Gilberto Grandona Oleas and Ferney Guillermo T.
August 30, 1992
In CERETÉ, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered the campesino leader JULIO MORENO, of the National Campesinos’ Association (ANUC).
September 5, 1992
In PUERTO ESCONDIDO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered the campesino RAFAEL ANTONIO MORELOS HERNÁNDEZ in the village of Los Cheres.
December 16, 1992
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered the businessmen PEDRO EDUARDO MARTÍNEZ MÉNDEZ and DAGOBERTO MANUEL ARRIETA COGOLLO in the neighborhood of Santafé. The municipality stayed under military control.
December 19, 1992
In LOS CÓRDOBAS, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered JOSÉ VIVANCO GULFO LÓPEZ, EDUARDO TORDECILLA and GUILLERMO JULIO CARABALLO.
March 19, 1993
In SAN ANDRÉS DE SOTAVENTO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered GERARDO MORENO FLÓREZ, a sociologist from the University of Antioquia, a teacher at the provincial high school of of Antonio Lenia in Sincelejo, a leader of the Zenú community, and a candidate together with Gabriel Muyuy Jacanamejoy to represent indigenous communities.
October 30, 1993
In MONTELÍBANO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered the campesino FILADELFO MANUEL CORDERO CRUZ, in the village of Uré, when he was at the wake for his son MIGUEL CORDERO BARRERO, who had been murdered the previous day — also in Uré — together with MANUEL MARRIAGA MARRIAGA (a cowboy) and JOSÉ URANGO RAMOS (a miner). These three were taken with force from their houses by a paramilitary commando unit.
February 11, 1994
In PURÍSIMA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered CLEMENTE MENDOZA, a leader of the Zenú indigenous community.
March 3, 1994
In SAN ANDRÉS DE SOTAVENTO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered HERNANDO SOLANO, an indigenous leader.
September 1, 1994
In SAN ANDRÉS DE SOTAVENTO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered AGAPITO LINIO PUCHE GONZÁLEZ and ALBERTO PUCHE VERGARA, indigenous men from the Zenú reservation.
October 19, 1994
In SAN ANDRÉS SOTAVENTO, Córdoba, paramilitares murdered ARNULFO AYAL CARPIO, a Zenú indigenous man, a member of the Petaca community, and a City Councillor for his movement. This brought the total number of indigenous leaders murdered that year to eight.
January 16, 1995
In VALENCIA, Córdoba, paramilitaries identifying themselves as “Córdoba Self-Defense Forces” murdered the campesinos FREDDY HERRERA ARCILA, DONALDO IBÁÑEZ ÁLVAREZ and OMAR ENRIQUE DURANGO IBÁÑEZ, and disappeared ENOR MADERA. The commander of the Army’s Ninth Brigade, Coronel Martín Orlando Carreño Sandoval, stated that the campesinos were murdered by paramilitaries “in retaliation for the burning of the Guayaquil farm … and for being FARC sympathizers.” The farm referred to is the property of a retired Colombian Air Force captain.
January 18, 1995
In LOS CÓRDOBAS, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered the campesinos HELIODORO MORA ROSARIO and MANUEL FLÓREZ ROSARIO.
May 25, 1995
In TIERRALTA, Córdoba, paramilitaries identifying themselves as “ACCU” [Self-Defense Forces of Córdoba and Urabá] murdered TOMY ELIÉCER CONDE ANAYA, a teacher.
September 7, 1995
In SAN ANDRÉS SOTAVENTO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered ANDRÉS SUÁREZ MONTALVO, a Zenú indigenous leader. This took place in the Venecia community. The indigenous people of that community were under pressure to abandon a piece of land claimed by the family of Julio César Guerra Tulena, then the president of the Colombian Senate.
December 2, 1995
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba paramilitaries murdered MIGUEL ALFONSO MORENO AGÁMEZ, an M-19 [demobilized guerrilla group] member, former City Councillor, former Representative, and the manager of the Cereté Supply Center, and his wife JULIETH PÁEZ MONTALVO, a former City Councillor and former Cereté Secretary of Education.
June 1, 1996
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered the president of the Bank of Colombia Union (SINTRABANACOL), ANTONIO MORALES ALEANS, in the Lacharme neighborhood. On October 25, 1995, 24 hours after contract negotiations began at the bank, the Armed Forces had raided his home.
June 10, 1996
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered ALEJANDRA CAMARGO CABRALES, a 2-year-old girl, granddaughter of the former president of the University of Córdoba Workers’ Union, René Cabrales Sosa. He and his two daughters were wounded. This took place in the Pradera neighborhood.
November 18, 1996
In TIERRALTA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered, Rev. PEDRO ALZATE VARELA, a Presbyterian pastor, when he was en route to Apartadó to participate in a training course for pastors.
January 10, 1997
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries identifying themselves as “Self-Defense Forces of Córdoba and Urabá (ACCU)” murdered the teachers JAVIER GALARCIO, CLAUDIO PÉREZ and ÁLVARO TABORDA. Taborda was a historian and department head at the University of Córdoba, and the other two were teachers at a provincial high school in Montería. The victims were taken from their homes by force and accused by the paramilitaries of participating in dynamite attacks carried out near the end of 1996 against the offices of the Córdoba Ranchers’ Fund (Ganacor) and the Foundation for Peace (Fundepaz), which were created by the paramilitaries Fidel and Carlos Castaño.
May 5, 1997
In SAHAGÚN, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered JUANA EVANGELISTA VEGA, a City Councillor for the M-19 Democratic Alliance, at the bus terminal.
May 19, 1997
In SAN PELAYO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered EVANGELINA ORTEGA SIERRA, EDILBERTO ENRIQUE CONTRERAS, OLAD DEL CARMEN CONTRERAS P., ALEJANDRO PADILLA ORTEGA, HELENA PADILLA GUERRA, ALEJANDRO PADILLA GUERRA, ATAIN ABAD PADILLA GUERRA and ANUAR PADILLA DIAZ. Upon leaving, they set fire to the home.
June 10, 1997
In TIERRALTA, Córdoba, paramilitaries identifying themselves as Convivir [“Living together,” a network of government-sponsored private self-defense militias established in the 1990s], led by men nicknamed “The Dancer” and “Boy-o”, tortured and murdered the campesino PERFECTO DELGADO.
June 12, 1997
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered ARNOLD ENRIQUE SÁNCHEZ MAZA, a teacher, who had been disappeared several days earlier. He was tortured, his teeth were torn out, and his stomach was torn open.
June 19, 1997
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered WILLIAM JARABA, a teacher. This brought the total number of teachers killed in first six months of 1997 to twelve.
July 18, 1997
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered FREDYS FUENTES PATERNINA, a teacher and member of the Board of Directores of the Córdoba Teachers’ Association (Ademacor). He was the president of the Córdoba regional office of the Socialist Refoundation Current (CRS) political movement, and a City Council candidate for that movement in Montería.
August 8, 1997
In CIÉNAGA DE ORO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered MARCO CECILIO LUCAS CARPIO, a Zenú indigenous leader and craftsmen’s leader from San Andrés de Sotavento. He had been subjected to intense forms of torture.
May 14, 1998
In MONTELÍBANO, Córdoba, paramilitaries identifying themselves as “Self-Defense Forces of Córdoba and Urabá (ACCU)” murdered JOSÉ PALENCIA, RAFAEL OLEA and JAIRO ACIA, indigenous men from the Zenú community.
August 27, 1998
In TIERRALTA, Córdoba, paramilitaries invaded the Karagabi reservation and murdered the indigenous leader ALONSO DOMICÓ JARUPIA. The Emberá-Katío indigenous community was the object of multiple human rights violations, committed by the paramilitaries in opposition to the indigenous communities’ struggle to stop the Urrá hydroelectric project [a large dam that was eventually built in Córdoba, flooding Emberá Katío land].
January 31, 1999
In TIERRALTA, Córdoba, paramilitaries identifying themselves as “AUC” [United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, the national paramilitary federation that grew out of the ACCU (Self-Defense Forces of Córdoba and Urabá)] disappeared 40 people, among them ten Emberá Katío, at a roadblock on the Sinú River near where it meets the Verde River. It was only possible to register the names of GABRIEL DOMICÓ, ANA LUZ GUASARUCA, EUGENIO DOMICÓ, LIBARDO DOMICÓ, LUBERTIN CABRERA, LUZ MARINA DOMICÓ, MICAELA DOMICÓ, SOLANGEL ARIAS DOMICÓ, ANTONIO DOMICÓ, and WILLIAM DOMICÓ.
June 28, 1999
In VALENCIA, Córdoba, paramilitaries identifying themselves as “AUC” murdered LUIS FRANCISCO GÓMEZ PAYARES, the municipal treasurer. The crime was acknowledged publicly in a communique sent to the Mayor and signed by “Esteban,” the paramilitary leader responsible for the Caribbean coastal region.
February 13, 2000
In TIERRALTA, Córoba, paramilitaries identifying themselves as “AUC” murdered ABEL MARTÍNEZ ARCIA, ANTONIO MARTÍNEZ, WILLIAN OLAYA, RAMIRO MIGUEL PASTRANA HERNÁNDEZ and UBALDO MARTÍNEZ.
April 25, 2000
In CIÉNAGA DE ORO, Córdoba, at 11:30 am, in San Antonio village, paramilitaries murdered three brothers: JULIO AMADOR SIMANCA MARTÍNEZ, PEDRO MANUEL SIMANCA MARTÍNEZ and RICARDO ANTONIO SIMANCA MARTÍNEZ.
May 22, 2000
In CIÉNAGA DE ORO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered MARLYS DE LA OSSA QUIÑÓNEZ, a Social Sciences student at the University of Córdoba and student leader involved in the Colombian Association of University Students (ACEU). She was four months pregnant.
August 4, 2000
In VALENCIA, Córdoba, paramilitaries identifying themselves as “ACCU” murdered ALIAS “EL CHUCHO, ELKIN SÁNCHEZ MENA, ALIAS “LOTHAR” OR “THE TATOO,” ANDRÉS MOSQUERA, and three other people who were not identified.
August 12, 2000
In LORICA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered a married couple, OSCAR DAVID PADILLA and BEATRÍZ PADILLA FUENTES, after taking them by force from a house in the Los Andes neighborhood.
September 16, 2000
In TIERRALTA, Córdoba, in the indigenous village of Widó, paramilitaries identifying themselves as “ACCU” murdered three members of the Emberá Katío High Council and disappeared 22 other indigenous people. Among the victims were: NARIÑO DOMICÓ, RUBIT DOMICÓ, RIGOBERTO DOMICÓ, ORAINE DOMICÓ, ATANIO DOMICÓ, AMADO DOMICÓ, DIANA DOMICÓ, ÁLVARO RUBIANO, ALGARIN DOMICÓ, AGUSTIN PERNÍA, RICARDO BAILARÍN, MIGUEL BAILARÍN DOMICÓ, SAÚL BAILARÍN, MARTÍN CASAMA, MARITSA DOMICÓ, LUIS ALBERTO CABRERA, LIDIA DOMICÓ, JAQUELINO JARUPIA BAILARÍN, IRENEA DOMICÓ CHAVA, HORACIO BAILARÍN, GERMÁN DOMICÓ, ELKIN RUBIANO, EFRAÍN CHAMARRA, DOMICILIO GUASARUCA and MIGUEL DOMICÓ GARCÍA.
September 20, 2000
In TIERRALTA, Córdoba, at the El Guineo farm, in Naín village, paramilitaries murdered eleven people and wounded one other. Among the victims were: SABAS SALGUERO LÓPEZ, TOMÁS SALGUERO MARTÍNEZ, UBERMAR ANTONIO SALGUERO, WILMAR MARTÍNEZ SANDOVAL, LIBARDO LÓPEZ BENÍTEZ, WILMAR SALGUERO MARTÍNEZ, LEÓN RUDAS, ARNOLDO ENRIQUE GONZÁLEZ DELGADO, and another four people whose names were not registered.
May 27, 2001
In SAN ANDRÉS DE SOTAVENTO, Córdoba, paramilitaries identifying themselves as “AUC” murdered FÉLIX FILIBERTO HERNÁNDEZ SIERRA, LIBARDA HERNÁNDEZ and EMILIO ENRIQUE HERNÁNDEZ SIERRA.
June 2, 2001
In TIERRALTA, Córdoba, at 6 pm, paramilitaries identifying themselves as “AUC” disappeared the Emberá Katío indigenous leader KIMY PERNÍA DOMICÓ, as he was en route to the office of the High Council for the Sinú and Verde rivers.
August 25, 2001
In PUERTO LIBERTADOR, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered ELÍAS FRANCISCO N., GUILLERMO MONTES OMARTEL, NORBERTO MANUEL VERTEL SALGADO and AMANDA GIL.
October 25, 2001
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries identifying themselves as “AUC” disappeared DANILO SÁNCHEZ MEJÍA, MANUEL LORENZO ESPINOZA ALTAMIRANDA, JAIRO ESPINOZA HERNÁNDEZ, and one other person who was not identified.
February 25, 2002
In PUERTO LIBERTADOR, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered CIRILO ENRIQUE DOMICÓ, ARMANDO DOMICÓ DOMICÓ, and two people who were not identified.
July 19, 2002
In SAN CARLOS, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered DAGOBERTO DE LA CRUZ PEREIRA GALVAN and MIGUEL MARÍA PÉREZ RAMÍREZ.
May 4, 2003
In SAN ANDRÉS DE SOTAVENTO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered RAMIRO MANUEL SANDOVAL MERCADO, an indigenous leader from the San Andrés de Sotavento reservation and a teacher at Álvaro Ulcué Chocué high school in the village of Tuchín.
May 6, 2003
In TIERRALTA, Córdoba, paramilitaries, with Army troops’ acquiescence, murdered ANA BERENICE GIRALDO VELÁSQUEZ, NATIVIDAD DE JESÚS BLANDÓN, MIGUEL POSADA VERTEL and N. TORRES, members of the Iglesia Latina religious community.
June 1, 2003
In MONTERÍA, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered JULIET PAOLA CASTILLO MÉNDEZ, in the Simón Bolívar neighborhood, and JORGE LUIS PACHECO FLOREZ, in the El Dorado neighborhood. These events took place at night in urban areas.
June 14, 2003
In CIÉNAGA DE ORO, Córdoba, paramilitaries murdered MILTON DE JESÚS GAVIRIA COGOLLO, a campesino.
June 15, 2003
In SAN ANDRÉS SOTAVENTO, Córdoba, paramilitares murdered EMIGDIO TALAIGUA ALEAN, a 22-year old indigenous man.
THE GENESIS OF INIQUITY
Decree 3398 of 1965, which became Law 48 of 1968, authorized military commanders to give Armed Forces weapons to civilians (Art. 33, paragraph 3). It also authorized the government to enlist the civilian population’s support for armed actions (Art. 25). The Supreme Court of Justice declared these articles unconstitutional on May 25, 1989 — after they had been in effect for 24 years. All the Colombian military manuals prepared between 1969 and 1987 include provisions for forming armed civilian groups known as “self-defense forces” — better known in the country as “paramilitaries.” Starting in 1989, when these groups became “illegal,” contacts between the “self-defense forces” and the Army High Command began to be carried out through intermediaries instead of directly, according to testimony Army officer Luis Antonio Meneses Báez gave to the Dijin (Police intelligence agency) (page 24 of his testimony).
Bogotá, D.C., June 15, 2005
INTER-ECCLESIAL COMMISSION FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE
(Comisión Intereclesial de JUSTICIA Y PAZ)
Glossary of key names and terms:
Campesino: Peasant farmer.
Fidel and Carlos Castaño: Brothers instrumental in the creation and expansion of the paramilitaries. Fidel was the most prominent leader of the ACCU in its growth throughout the 1980s, and Carlos was the most prominent leader of the ACCU’s successor, the national AUC federation, in the mid-late 1990s and early this century. Both disappeared under unclear circumstances. Some believe they were killed; others believe they went into hiding abroad.
Diego Murillo (alias “Don Berna”): A paramilitary commander heavily involved in drug trafficking.
Patriotic Union: A political party built in the mid-late 1980s by civil society groups and members of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and other guerrilla groups, as part of a peace process initiated at the beginning of the 1980s. Over 3,000 Patriotic Union members — including two presidential candidates — were murdered by paramilitaries.
Popular Front: A political party created in the mid-late 1980s by civil society groups and members of the EPL (Popular Liberation Army) guerrillas, a smaller group.
Translated and edited by Phillip Cryan can be reached at: email@example.com)