1o de enero vs. ORCAO and the government


[translated by irlandesa]

To the National and International Press
To Public Opinion

Brothers and Sisters:

From the seat of our Primero de Enero Autonomous Municipality we are denouncing the incidents which took place today, April 6, 2002.

Today, at 12:00 PM, Señor Marcos Méndez Sánchez, counselor of the INI Regional Fund and resident of Sibacá, was handed over, by a committee from our municipality, to members of ORCAO.  Our compañeros, who had been arbitrarily detained by ORCAO since Sunday, April 2 [sic], were also handed over to us at our Autonomous Municipality facilities.

Once the detainees had been released, the ORCAO members threatened us, and they said that they were giving us less than six days to resolve the following points, “regarding the following points, no more than six days in order to avoid a confrontation”

- Negotiate the agrarian matter.
- Resolve the cutting down of the fencing.
- Accept community conciliation, a word invented by the government, when they are, in fact, doing nothing other than supporting provocation and division.

The people from ORCAO and the government are trying to get us to negotiate the land, they want to fill it with cows, in the same way that Fox is planning to take land away from the communities in order to put in airports, here the government and ORCAO are planning to take away the land in order to put in cows and in order to make roads, that is why they are looking for and inventing problems and crimes, in order to force us to negotiate the lands, because what they want is to return to private property and not to communal property, and even less to collective property.

Once our compañeros were turned over and the Regional Fund official was released, José Pérez (ORCAO leader) was seen in the offices of the Public Security police.  Public Security police were keeping our municipality under surveillance from the neighboring community of Gracias a Dios.  On the night of the 6th, ORCAO people were also keeping our municipal seat under surveillance from there, as well as from two other places.

We have received threats that 2 houses are going to be burned down, also that they will be returning to our municipal seat with firearms.  Another threat is that those compañeros who have participated in the work of our Autonomous Municipality will be harassed when they return to their homes.  They talk about reconciliation, but it can be seen that they have other intentions.  We have information that on April 5 at 9:00 AM, while our compañeros were being detained, Nicolás López, an INI official in the community of Sibacá, called on the telephone.

We are holding the ORCAO people, as well as state and federal governments, responsible for all of these injustices which are being done to us, only because we are an Autonomous Municipality, as well as for the health of one of the compañeras who were wounded, since they have still not ruled out the possibility that she may have suffered a cerebral hemorrhage from the blows which she received.

Sincerely,

Primero de Enero Autonomous Municipality

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